The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 21st Autumn Exhibition of Pictures, Corporation of Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1891
Record 11 of 21

System Number: 06596
Date: [15/18 August 1891][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Liverpool]
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W589
Document Type: ALd[3]

[...] One of the largest of the rooms I have devoted to the Academy - and while really achieving wonderful harmony upon the walls, by using the individual pictures however execrable, as elements of a huge mosaic, I have in the most ruthless way exposed the whole bag of tricks! -

To begin with I mark "the line" so low that the work of these absurd imposters, in all its revolting details of ignorance, pretension and incapacity, may be leisurely examined with the utmost ease. In this way the absolute childishness of execution, the hopelessness of exploded technique, the poor doddering drawing, the ghastly colour, the total absence of all sense of "picture", and the grotesque cheapness of the shocking befuddlement that takes its place, stand at last revealed to even the blind - but the British Public may as well be told -

Now then - and this is amazing! - Putting Fildes'[4] "Doctor"[5] in the place of honour, centre of line, I have plastered the place . . . [...]

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1.  [15/18 August 1891]
This letter dates from shortly after others containing similar references; see for example #06595 [13 August 1891], and #06598 [14/17 August 1891].

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

3.  ALd
This is a fragment or draft or fair copy of a section of a longer letter. Published in Thorp, Nigel (Editor), Whistler on Art: Selected Letters and Writings 1849-1903 of James McNeill Whistler, Manchester, 1994, and Washington, 1995, no. 46, p. 125.

4.  Fildes'
Samuel Luke Fildes (1844-1927), genre and portrait painter [more].

5.  Doctor
S. L. Fildes, The Doctor (z222), was shown in Room VII of 21st Autumn Exhibition of Pictures, Corporation of Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1891 (cat. no. 873).