The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 8th Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Munich, 1901
Record 2 of 5

System Number: 01524
Date: 21 July 1901
Author: Charles Lang Freer[1]
Place: Dresden
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F456
Document Type: ALS[2]

[colour illustration of Weber's Hotel]

[on left of illustration:] TELEPHON, / BÄDER, / EQUIPAGEN, / GARTEN-TERASSE.
[on right of illustration:] PERSONEN-AUFZUG, / RAUCH - UND LESEZIMMER.


DEN July 21st 18901

Dear Mr. Whistler:-

Your good letter[3] reached me a few days ago at Munich and I was delighted to hear from you -

I would have answered at once but I could not determine my plans until the arrival of friends with whom I was to visit and until I received word from America concerning my sisters[4] [p. 2][5] health; she having recently suffered from a stroke of paralysis - I am most happy to say that she seems sure of recovery but I feel it my duty to hurry home - Therefore, I cannot accept your kind suggestion to put off my return to America "changing from steamer to steamer" as I would, under other conditions, enjoy doing.

I must be in Berlin tomorrow and next day, and it may be neccessary for me to go to Hamburg immediately thereafter, so I am unlikely to [p. 3] reach Paris before the 27th inst.

On the 31st inst. my steamer the "Kaiserin Maria Theresia" sails from Cherbourg, and I feel that because of my sisters health, I really must abandon all thought of prolonging my stay on this side of the Atlantic -

You are so good to say that I might go with you, over the work in your two studios, and nothing I am sure, would give me more delight - but I cannot, I regret, reach London this year - Shall you be in Paris between the 27th and 30th inst.? I fear not, especially because [p. 4] of the extreme heat of which I have heard so much,

And then as you wrote the "breathless words of greeting and parting" rushed through so short a space of time are always unsatisfying - Still, it's better than nothing, and if you should be in Paris at the time mentioned I would be happy to see you -

I have most charming memories of my visits to your studios and the the works you have so kindly allowed me to carry away are my chief treasures - I can never sufficiently thank you -

I was most happily surprised in walking through the exhibition at Munich, before the receipt of your letter, to find enthroned upon a special pedestal, in a perfect light, the Little Lady Sophie[6], who by her rare charm, was the saving grace of a conventional exhibition - Your lithographs too, saved another room - but the affair as a whole is deadly! Acres of meaningless canvas - and crowds of brainless observers! That wonderful drawing[7] of the lady writing upon the wall[8], and the other works in progress, seen in your London studio last year still linger most delightfully in my mind - And the "Little Blue Girl"[9] how is she? and when may I take her to reign in her future home?

With best wishes, Always sincerely,

Charles L. Freer

P. S.[10] My Paris address is / care Windsor Hotel, / Rue de Rivoli.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Charles Lang Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Merrill, Linda, With Kindest Regards. The Correspondence of Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler, 1890-1903, Washington and London, 1995, no. 50, pp. 146-148.

3.  letter
JW's letter of [10 July 1901], #03193. Freer's reply crossed with a second letter from JW, [23 July 1901], #11575.

4.  my sisters
Emma Frances ("Frank") Freer (1845-1915), Freer's eldest sibling. On the previous day Freer had heard that she was getting better (Freer to Hecker, 21 July 1901, FGA Hecker).

5.  [p. 2]
Running across the top of pp. 2-3 is a colour illustration of the view from Weber's Hotel, headed 'BLICK VON WEBER'S HÔTEL AUS.' Various major landmarks are labelled below the illustration.

6.  the Little Lady Sophie
Rose and Gold: The Little Lady Sophie of Soho (YMSM 504) was on show at the 8th Internationale Kunst-Austellung, Munich, 1901. It was bought by Freer in 1902. Freer told Hecker that the show was 'beautiful in no sense, and saved by complete rottenness by Whistler, Sargent, Melchers, and a few others,' (15 July 1901, FGA Hecker).

7.  the lady writing upon the wall
Writing on the Wall (M.1396), which was bought by Freer in 1902.

8.  Little Blue Girl
Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Little Blue Girl (YMSM 421), commissioned by Freer.

9.  drawing...Charles L. Freer
Written in the left margin of p. 4.

10.  P. S.
The postscript appears in the left margin of p. 1.