The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 100th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1868
Record 1 of 3

System Number: 09195
Date: [12 December 1867][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 14 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS[3]

2 Lindsey Row -
Old Battersea bridge
Chelsea -

Dear Lucas -

How very kind in you to have done all this for me! I am made almost uncomfortable at the thought of the great trouble I have been to you! and how to thank you properly I certainly do not know - The cases[4] have all arrived, though I have not as yet unpacked any of them, I doubt not that they are all right - You have had many annoyances I can see with the Authorities and Yankees[5] together and have overcome difficulties that I fear would have utterly floored me! - It was very nice in you too, to send me the [p. 2] cutting from the American paper[6] - What a lark they are! with their water colors! and general ignorance - However I am there a discussed man! - Mignot[7] is here and I see some thing of him - You have perhaps heard that the Winans[8] are buying the railroad in Russia! - and George[9] will, I believe[,] be in some part of the affair.

My mother[10] has come over from Baltimore and is now settled in London near Willie[11] for good - Your Chinese bed[12] however still waits your chance visit and the hens are still ready with their fresh eggs two days old for breakfast!

I am hard at work on a [p. 3] large picture[13] which I hope to have quite ready for the Academy[14] - with perhaps one for the Exposition[15] - I judge from your silence on the subject that you consider that Avery[16] deserves no etchings and so have sent him none! -

Do you ever see Fantin[17]? How is he getting on? With much affection from both believe me dear Lucas with also many many thanks

Yours very sincerely

J. A. M. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


'Whistler acknowledging receipt of 4 Boxes'[18]

Monsieur George Lucas.
41. Rue de l'Arc de Triomphe
Paris -
[postmark:] LONDON-S. W / X / DE 12 / 67
[postmark:] [...] / 67


1.  [12 December 1867]
Dated from postmark, and confirmed by Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 256, diary entry dated 13 December, 'Letter from Whistler.'

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

3.  ALS
This letter was published in Mahey, John A., 'The Letters of James McNeill Whistler to George A. Lucas,' Art Bulletin, XLIX, September 1967, pp. 247-57, p. 252.

4.  cases
As Lucas's diary entry for 13 December 1867 records: 'Letter from Whistler acknowledging receipt of his 4 boxes of pictures.' JW had submitted successfully four paintings and several etchings to the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867. The paintings were Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33); Wapping (YMSM 35); Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38) and Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (YMSM 73). Lucas had arranged matters in Paris and JW asked that he arrange return transportation of his works to London (#09194).

5.  Yankees
This is probably a reference to the painters of the Hudson River School whose work had been well received at the Exposition. The total number of artists in the American group was small and JW may have felt that their presence inhibited his own chance of success.

6.  American paper
Unidentified. However the paper could have been the New York Herald or American Register.

7.  Mignot
Louis Rémy Mignot (1831-1870), painter [more].

8.  Winans
Probably Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

9.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

10.  mother
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

11.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

12.  Chinese bed
JW's bed at 2 Lindsay Row (see reference in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. I, p. 138).

13.  large picture
Perhaps The Three Girls (YMSM 88).

14.  Academy
The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, London. The Three Girls (YMSM 88) was never shown there and remained unfinished.

15.  Exposition
Presumably a reference to the Paris Exposition. However, the 1867 Exposition was over although JW may be referring to a future exhibition. It is possible that this is a reference to the Paris Salon, held annually.

16.  Avery
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), print-publisher, collector and philanthropist [more]. Avery was Art Commissioner for the United States Section at the Paris Exposition, 1867. The Pennells suggest that G. A. Lucas put in a good word with Avery on JW's behalf (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. I, p. 140). Lucas may also have urged Avery to collect JW's etchings; soon afterwards Avery began to collect his oils, etchings and drawings, including Portrait of Whistler with Hat (YMSM 23). However Lucas's intervention was not a success as far as the hanging of JW's works at the Exposition was concerned. JW considered them ill-hung and unseen (#09194).

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

18.  'Whistler acknowledging receipt of 4 Boxes'
Written in ink in G. A. Lucas's hand.