The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889
Record 2 of 62

System Number: 09271
Date: [4/10 June 1888?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: Théodore Child[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: George A. Lucas Collection Archives, Letters - James McNeill Whistler to Theodore Child no. 8
Document Type: ALS

I have seen Osgood[3] my dear Mr Child and he understands all about the matter and will send you over directly, probably by the middle of next week, the little picture[4], possibly two to choose from -

Did you manage anything with the Graves[5]? -

Now - the British Artists[6]! [p. 2] Don't you think you might suggest that the news of the total collapse of Suffolk Street, now that Whistler has left them, has crossed the Channel, and is enjoyed on the Boulevards as a score against the "Bourgeois" - and though it has been difficult to find an equivalent in French for "Diocesan Council"[7], and "Orator of Noviomagus" it is accepted generally that Whistler* * the painter of whom they think so much etc.[8] has been succeeded by something between a member of the Salvation Army and 'un dentiste'! - Also could you not especially say that, with Parisian exageration [sic], it was reported among the painters that Leighton, Millais, Tadema[9] and in short the important of the Academy have taken this occasion to make a demonstration in the galleries of the enemy, against their confrère (?) and friendship for the dentiste - and that this was is looked upon as in shocking bad taste, and explained by the old jealousy - Enfin you know - Dont let it bore you - but just a word or two to let them know that they [p. 3] are ridiculous! -

A bientôt

[butterfly signature]

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1.  [4/10 June 1888?]
Dated from reference to Whistler leaving the Royal Society of British Artists (see below).

2.  Théodore Child
Theodore Child (1846-1892), journalist and art critic [more]. Child was a contributor to Harper's New Monthly Magazine from ca. 1885-92.

3.  Osgood
James Ripley Osgood (1836-1892), agent for Harper and Bros, publishers [more].

4.  picture
Probably a reference to pictures for an article that Child was planning to publish in Harper's on American artists at the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889. Although the exhibition did not take place until the following year, Child wished to obtain some advance photographs of JW's works (see J. R. Osgood to JW, #02041). For the article, see Child, Theodore, 'American Artists at the Paris Exhibition,' Harpers New Monthly Magazine, vol. 79, no. 472, September 1889, pp. 489-521.

5.  Graves
Algernon Graves (1845-1922), of H. Graves and Co., print dealers [more], and Henry Graves (1806-1892), print dealer and founder of H. Graves and Co. [more].

6.  British Artists
JW had been President of the Royal Society of British Artists since June 1886. However, his autocratic style and instigation of radical changes to the Society's exhibition policy meant that the last months of his Presidency were stormy. On 4 May, a motion was circulated proposing that JW should be asked to resign his membership (#05321). He resigned as President on 4 June 1888 (the AGM) although he remained in the position until November. His resignation was followed by that of Menpes, Sickert, Alfred Stevens and others (see Dorment, Richard, and Margaret F. MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995, pp. 49-55).

7.  Diocesan Council
This relates to Wyke Bayliss (1835-1906), painter and architect [more], who succeeded JW as President of the RBA. See Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 205-17.

8.  * the painter of whom they think so much etc.
Added in lower left corner.

9.  Leighton, Millais, Tadema
Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), painter and sculptor [more]; John Everett Millais (1829-1896), artist [more]; Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), painter [more], all Royal Academicians.