The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: 102nd Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1870
Record 1 of 4

System Number: 09190
Date: [3 May 1869][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 09 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS

[oval design:] ARUNDEL CLUB[3]

2 Lindsey Row
near Old Battersea bridge

Dear Lucas -

A very charming friend of mine, Böehm[4] - one of the most distinguished sculptors of London, will call upon you - I know you will be greatly pleased with each other - and I know also that no one can make his short stay in Paris as satisfactory in an artistic sense as you can - He would like to know all or some of the men that are worth knowing Gêrome[5], [p. 2] Millet[6] - Corot[7], -Fantin[8] and others - and you who have the entré everywhere and who are familliar [sic] with "les élus[9]" will I trust find a pleasure in introducing him -

When am I to hope to see you here? - Can you be persuaded to come over and make a visit during the Academy exhibition[10]? You know that there is a great attraction in the new Galleries[11] just thrown open - and I should be so delighted to have you here awhile with me - [p. 3] I am sorry to tell you that I have been unable to complete[12] my work for this years [sic] exhibition - tant pis[13] - for I should much have liked to have been among the set in this new place - enfin next year.

Jo[14] tells me to send her kindest regards to yourself and Madame[15] - and to mention the "hins[16]"! I have never thanked you sufficiently for the great trouble you took about my pictures[17] after the Exposition - besides it has dawned [p. 4] upon me since that in shipping them to England you must have been at an expense of which I am still ignorant - for I perceived clearly that the small sum I had to pay on their arrival must have been totaly [sic] inadequate - You must let me know some day what this is and also I must some day perform my long made promise about the small Thames pictures[18] -

Believe me my dear Lucas with many thanks for all your kindnesses your sincere friend,

J. A. McN. Whistler.

Mr Böehm[19] is I believe staying at the Hotel de Lille et d'Albion.

This document is protected by copyright.


'Whistler - 1869[20]'

Monsieur George Lucas
41 rue de l'Arc de Triomphe
[postmark:] LONDON SW / 7 / MY 3/ 69
[postmark:] ANGL / [illegible]
[3 stamps missing, 1 red stamp]

[verso: Arundel Club seal on envelope flap]


1.  [3 May 1869]
Dated from the postmark and an entry in Lucas's diary for 4 May 1869 recording receipt of a letter from JW 'advising Mr Boehm'; Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 296. It was dated incorrectly 'Late 1866' when published in Mahey, John A., 'The Letters of James McNeill Whistler to George A. Lucas,' Art Bulletin, XLIX, September 1967, pp. 247-57, p. 250, no.V.

2.  George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

A club for amateur and professional men connected with literature and the arts, conveniently situated next door to JW's lawyer, James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

4.  Böehm
Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890), sculptor [more].

5.  Gêrome
Jean Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), artist [more].

6.  Millet
Jean François Millet (1814-1874), artist [more].

7.  Corot
Camille Corot (1796-1875), painter [more].

8.  Fantin
Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more].

9.  les élus
Fr., 'the chosen' (as in the chosen few) or 'the elect.'

10.  Academy exhibition
The 101st Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1869, opened on 3 May. It was a great success financially and attracted over 300,000 visitors.

11.  new galleries
The Royal Academy had recently moved to to new premises at Burlington House, Piccadilly.

12.  unable to complete
JW may have been referring to Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56), which was completed in 1865. However, in 1867, he planned to rework the picture and was still working on it in 1869. It was shown for the first time at the 102nd Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1870.

13.  tant pis
Fr., never mind, too bad.

14.  Jo
Joanna Hiffernan (b. ca 1843), JW's model and mistress [more].

15.  Madame
Eugène José de Macedo-Carvalho (1854-1928), son of Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho [more].

16.  hins
Jocular (an Irish pronunciation of 'hens').

17.  pictures
JW had exhibited Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33), Wapping (YMSM 35), Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38), Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (YMSM 73) at Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867.

18.  small Thames pictures
JW was not painting Thames scenes at this time: he may be referring to works like Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33) which Lucas would have seen in 1867 (see above). A couple of years after this letter, in 1871, JW began to paint a series of 'Nocturnes' including Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea (YMSM 103).

19.  Mr Boehm
'Mr Boehm ... d'Albion' written at right angles to the main text, in the top left corner.

20.  Whistler - 1869
Written in Lucas's hand.