The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: 3rd Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Munich, 1888
Record 48 of 53

System Number: 07566
Date: [12 March 1889][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: William Cleverley Alexander[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: British Museum, London
Call Number: Department of Prints and Drawings, 1958-2-8-25
Document Type: ALS

Dear Mr. Alexander -

You have been as you always are most kind & nice about the pictures - and I trust you know that I greatly appreciate your ready help in establishing, before the peoples of this Earth, among the many serious ones that weary and offend, the rare and precious reputation for flippancy in Art which I believe is [p. 2] mine without contention! -

Miss Cicey's portrait[3] is here now - and so also is the lovely Nocturne [4]- and they have brought me back all sorts of honours from the thoughtless ones Abroad!

They have made me Hon. Member of the Royal Academy of Bavaria - and conferred upon me the Cross of St Michael in holy & sympathetic wrath destroying the demon of dulness! even as I with indignant trifling have done, in the person of Ruskin[5]! [four or five illegible words] - wiping him with the floor - even as a man wipeth a dish - wiping him & turning him upside down! -

All of which you have delighted in and helped to bring about! - How shall I really ever thank you! - Do come and see me - I want your help again - Yet I scarcely venture to ask! - but does it not seem absurd that the great Exposition Internationale should be without the beautiful little White & Grey Lady[6]? -

I send herewith a small [p. 3] peace offering & token of gratitude & friendship -

Always sincerely

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [12 March 1889]
There is a copy of this letter by Charles James Whistler Hanson (1870-1935), engineer, son of JW and Louisa Fanny Hanson [more], dated 12 March 1889 (#12691).

2.  William Cleverley Alexander
William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916), banker and patron [more].

3.  Miss Cicey's portrait
Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129). The portrait of Cicely Henrietta Alexander (1864-1932), later Mrs Spring Rice [more], had been on exhibition at the 3rd Internationale Kunst-Austellung, Munich, 1888.

4.  Nocturne
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea (YMSM 103); it is not clear if it had been in Munich or another exhibition.

5.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

6.  White & Grey Lady
Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129) was not sent to the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889.