The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Tentoonstelling van Kunstwerken van Levende Meesters, Amsterdam, 1889
Record 6 of 18

System Number: 07183
Date: 9 September 1889
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [Amsterdam]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1171
Document Type: MsLS

[scroll design:] H. WUNDERLICH & CO.
W H & CO.
868 B'WAY N- Y-

Sep. 9th 1889.

J. McN. Whistler Esq.
London[2], England.

Dear Sir,

Your letter[3] of the 29th Aug. from Amsterdam has reached us and we hasten to reply. By referring to Mr. Wunderlich's[4] letter[5] of June 28th in which was enclosed a draft for £78. 6. 10, you will find that he informs you of his intention to send a few of the pastels to Detroit[6], as he thought that sales might be made. A number also were sent to Chicago[7], flattering representations having been made as to the interest the pictures would ex-[p. 2][8]-cite, with excellent prospects of sales &c.. We shall not know the result of the Chicago exhibition until Oct. 19th or so, when it closes. It is but proper to state that the pictures were sent, upon an assurance that they would be isolated and properly hung in a small room, as the gallery - main gallery - is very large and filled with large canvasses.

Mr. Kennedy was correct in his report to you that we had decided to send them (the pictures) back to London when the exhibition here closed, but upon reports from him that you seemed rather dissatisfied that more effort was not made outside of this city, we changed [p. 3] our plan as far as Chicago was concerned. We sent your pictures to Detroit because a Detroit gentleman[9] who admires your work very much and who owns a great many of your etchings, thought that some sales could be made there. No doubt, efforts were made, but without success so far, as we informed you in our last letter[10]. The pictures, except those in Chicago, can be returned to you - at any time. Kindly inform us if we shall send all back except those at Chicago, which can be returned later. The foregoing is in reply to your inquiries, "Where are my pictures? and how did they get there? also, when will they be returned to me?"

As soon as we have the Catalogue of the [p. 4] of the [sic] Haden Collection[11] prepared we shall be glad to send you a list of your etchings which are in it.

As to the portrait of a lady[12] which Mr. Kennedy saw in Holland and wrote you the "amiable letter" referred to, we can only say with all due respect to your judgment, that he still holds the same opinion, though far from his intention to disparage any of your other works. If not disposed of, we hope to see it here, when you will be convinced of the agility of the public in prostrating themselves before a work of genius. Trusting that you will have an agre[e]able visit to Holland, we remain, dear Sir,

Yours respectfully,

H. Wunderlich & Co.


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1.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more]. Although Kennedy's name appears at the end, the references to him in the third person suggest it was written by a clerk.

2.  London
Although addressed to JW in London, he was in Amsterdam at the time.

3.  letter

4.  Mr. Wunderlich's
Hermann Wunderlich (ca 1839 - d.1892), print dealer [more].

5.  letter
See #07177.

6.  pastels to Detroit
Possibly in connection with [Exhibition], Detroit, 1889.

7.  Chicago
Second Annual Exhibition of American paintings and sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago, 1889.

8.  [p. 2]
Identical letterheads to that on p. 1 appear at the top of pp. 2-3.

9.  Detroit gentleman
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

10.  last letter
Probably Kennedy's letter of 23 August (#07182).

11.  Haden Collection
The extensive print collection of Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. It included works by Rembrandt and Whistler. See M.222.

12.  portrait of a lady
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101), Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181), Arrangement in Yellow and Grey: Effie Deans (YMSM 183) were exhibited in Tentoonstelling van Kunstwerken van Levende Meesters, Amsterdam, 1889.