The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, 1894
Record 17 of 23

System Number: 08310
Date: [11 August 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: David Croal Thomson[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: ALS

'110. Rue du Bac. Paris.

Aug 11. 1894.'

Dear Mr. Thomson -

I don't think this will do at all! - My letter to you was all well enough - but I don't at all care for my appreciation of my own work to be carried about by others who may misunderstand: or may show it to those who may interpret it offensively - No the note was meant for you who have the habit, and can value properly what I please to communicate - [p. 2] you must say to the gentleman that if one of these days he write to me I shall be pleased to answer any letter and then he can keep the "autograph"! - but this little card he had better return -

I am much pleased with his visit to Antwerp[3] and think his understanding of the pictures most intelligent - The Sarasate[4] ought to be in fine condition - though I daresay it would be all the better for a coat of varnish, which it is in perfect state to receive -

Many thanks for cheque, which is all right - I like your suggestion that I should keep the books! -

As to Messrs. Virtue[5] - They are certainly original! - What do you think? -

In every possible way I have given them every chance! - I let you now have the sum of all the new proofs for choice - and time without end you have had - Even when, through Way[6], I heard of the Studio[7] putting off their publication I let you know at once.

Of course all this was naturally only to please you - But the Virtues are... like their own name! Stupendous!

If they had given me a retaining fee for the year round they couldn't be more magnificent in their tone - & with their "conditions"!

Make them my compliments - and say that I have no doubt they are able to manage their own affairs [p. 3] and arrange with their brother publishers without my assistance -

Certainly I should never dream of guaranteeing anything! If they are anxious to withdraw from the lithograph - it is very simple -

Mr. Gleeson[8] writes to say that they mean to publish theirs in Sept - and surely I have not had anything to complain of from them in the way of excentricity or complication -

As to the portrait of the Count[9] we have had marvelous ill luck! - Mons. Badoureau[10] as has been explained to you sent to Mons. Hellé[11] here - and gave him the order to do a sorte copper plate (!) reproduction! - Judge of my disgust when I saw the highly polished vulgar result - all burnished and blackened & shining! - If we had wanted that sort of thing we could readily have got it ourselves!

[p. 3] But[12] I asked for Badoureau, because I wanted exactly the process employed with the "Carlyle" & the portrait of my mother - I complained of his result in this case because he would not reproduce the photograph in its, to him, puzzling mystery, but must needs draw out for himself a man of his own on the photograph & reproduce that!!. However I have been to see Mons. Hellé - who is to get the negative from the Goupils[13] & to do a reproduction of it as it stands without retouching at all - There's where that is -

The photograph of the two little fair girls[14] from the seaside is charming! -

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [11 August 1894]
The address and date at the top of the letter appear to have been added in another hand.

2.  David Croal Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

3.  Antwerp
Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, 1894.

4.  Sarasate
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate (YMSM 315).

5.  Messrs. Virtue
Herbert Virtue (b. ca 1861), publisher [more].

6.  Way
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more].

7.  Studio
Gants de suède (C.35) had been published in The Studio, vol. 1, no. 3, 16 April 1894, and La Robe rouge (C.107) was published in The Studio, vol. 6, no. 32, 15 November 1895.

8.  Mr. Gleeson
Joseph William Gleeson White (1851-1898), writer on art, first editor of the Studio [more].

9.  portrait of the Count
Count Robert de Montesquiou, No. 2 (C.84) and Count Robert de Montesquiou (C.85).

10.  Mons. Badoureau
Edward Badoureau (b. ca 1850), a printer and boxwood block manufacturer [more].

11.  Mons. Hellé
A Parisian reproductive engraver and publisher.

12.  But
'But ... been to' is written in the left margin of p. 3, at right angles to the main text; 'see Mons ... is -' in the top margin of p. 1; and 'The photograph ... signature' in the left margin of p. 1 at right angles to the main text.

13.  the Goupils
Art dealers and publishers.

14.  girls
Thomson's daughters. This sentence and the signature are written in the margin of p. 1.