The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889
Record 16 of 62

System Number: 00621
Date: 3 March 1889
Author: Theodore Child[1]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C122
Document Type: ALS

99 Av. de Villiers

3 March 1889

Dear Mr Whistler

I am very glad to read that the engravings[2] of Miss Corder and of the Balcony please you. The engraver of Miss Corder is Florian[3], an enthusiastic admirer of your genius.

I will send the Balcony back at once to your address by S. E. R. Co.

As regards the Exposition[4] you may send any pictures you please which have not already figured in an International Expos. here in Paris and wh. do not bear a date previous to 1878. On this point you need have no hesitation. You rarely date your works.

As regards the section in which you shall exhibit, here are (p. 2) points.

The American Jury in Europe, self-Constituted and now recognized by the Government Commissaire Col. Rush Hawkins[5], consists of 19 Jurors and 8 supplementaries. Your name is not on this list whereas it ought to have been the first. Donc[6] vous auriez raison de bouder ce jury.

On the other hand this jury respects you and if you have not yet heard from it, it is because the invitations cannot yet be sent out. Hawkins will arrive next week and then the question of space will be settled and invitations issued.

Again on the other hand there will be a fearful rush for space in the American section.

Conclusion - I would say, quite entre nous[7] and unofficially of course, if the English section [p. 3] guarantee you plenty of space - say anything upwards of 20 feet of cimaise[8] - exhibit with the English. In the American section it be doubtful whether anybody, even Botticelli[9] himself were he alive, will get more than 20 to 30 feet of cimaise at the very outside and everybody is sending in colossal pictures.

I look upon the matter practically and also sentimentally. You ought to have been on this American jury; you are not; you may therefore resent the neglect by exhibiting in another section.

Above all I foresee nothing but egoism, rushing, each man for himself, the members of the Jury looking after themselves first of all. Your great object is to get as much space as you can; therefore your policy is to prefer the section where you receive the best treatment. Sargent[10] is on the Jury.

Please consider the above as strictly private and confidential, but none the less very much on the spot. The European Jury of the American section is a mean gang on the whole.

Yours faithfully

Theodore Child

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1.  Theodore Child
Theodore Child (1846-1892), journalist and art critic [more].

2.  engravings
Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder (YMSM 203) and Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56); reproduced in Child, Theodore, 'American Artists at the Paris Exhibition,' Harpers New Monthly Magazine, vol. 79, no. 472, September 1889, pp. 489-521.

3.  Florian
Fréderic Florian (b. 1858), alias 'Rognon', wood engraver [more]. Child had sent proofs on 24 February (#00620).

4.  Exposition
The Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889.

5.  Col. Rush Hawkins
Gen. Rush Christopher Hawkins (1831-1920), U. S. commissioner for Fine Art at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889 [more].

6.  Donc ... jury
Fr., So you would be right in not having anything to do with this jury.

7.  entre nous
Fr., Between ourselves.

8.  cimaise
Fr., dado (i.e. a picture hung on the line, a length of wall at eye-level).

9.  Botticelli
Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi Botticelli (ca 1445 - d.1510), Florentine painter [more].

10.  Sargent
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), artist [more].