The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893
Record 21 of 113

System Number: 03321
Date: [30 September 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Thomas Robert Way[2]
Place: London
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 93
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac. Paris

My dear Tom -

I send you our permanent address in Paris - and thank you for your very nice letter[4] - In a little while I hope to run over to London when I shall arrange to come and see your father[5] & yourself first - for last week I rushed over to attend to some business matters with Mr Webb[6] - and the Goupils[7] and was in such a rush and had given myself so short a time that I found it impossible to get down to you -

[p. 2] Meanwhile if either of you come to Paris you must mind and come to see us - My studio[8] you will be delighted with - I have myself never seen one to compare with it! -

In time I expect to set up a lithographic press - and will show you all about laying down the new paper -

The proofs[9] are delightful - and your own of my Mother's portrait[10] are much finer and greatly improved - I thank you very much for sending them to me -

The French paper[11] seems to me [p. 3] really very good - I think I may be able to get some old government hand made of which I will send you specimen to experiment with -

I have been busy with some new etchings[12] of Paris - about which more anon!

With kindest regards and my love to your Father
Always sincerely yours

J. McN Whistler.

I should think that the Slade [p. 4] Professorship will fall to the worthy "Arry[13]" now that I have left him in peace!

How did your Father like my letter to the Royal Commission of the Chicago[14] Exhibition. (National Observer)

This document is protected by copyright.


Thomas Way Junr.
21. Wellington Street
[postmark:] PARIS-10 / R. DE VIEUX COLOMBIER / 5E 30 / SEPT / 92
[postmark on verso:] LONDON W. C. / C. X. / B A / OC 1 / 92

[written on verso:] 'acknowledgment of proofs of liths of Mother's Portrait'


1.  [30 September 1892]
Dated from postmark.

2.  Thomas Robert Way
Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913), printer, lithographer and painter [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Spink, Nesta R., The Lithographs of James McNeill Whistler, gen. eds Harriet K. Stratis and Martha Tedeschi, Chicago, 1998, vol. 2, p. 57, no. 37.

4.  letter
T. R. Way to JW, 26 September 1892, #06096.

5.  father
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more].

6.  Mr Webb
William Webb (b. ca 1851), of G. and W. Webb, lawyer [more], JW's attorney at G. & W. Webb, 11 Austin Friars, Old Broad Street, E. C.

7.  Goupils
Goupil Gallery, London art dealers.

8.  studio
JW refers to his studio at 186, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs.

9.  proofs
The proofs JW refers to were Old Battersea Bridge (C.18) and Drury Lane Rags (C.25).

10.  Mother's portrait
Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101). Regarding Way's lithograph after JW's portrait of his mother, see Way to B. Whistler, 17 January 1892, #06092. Terrace, Luxembourg Gardens, No.2 (K.426).

11.  French paper
French paper refers to the printing paper mentioned by Way in #06096. 'Old government hand made' may refer to a paper once used and perhaps manufactured for the French government, but no longer required or suitable for the purpose for which it had originally been intended.

12.  etchings
JW made a series of etched views of Paris beginning in the summer of 1892, subjects to which he would return in his Paris lithographs of 1893-94.

13.  Arry
Henry ('Arry') Quilter (1851-1907), advocate and art critic [more]. In 1886 Quilter applied, unsuccessfully, for the Slade Chair of Art at Cambridge University. When JW, who always referred to Quilter as 'Arry', heard about the application, he wrote a witty letter to the World (24 March 1886, #11402). This was only one of many attacks he made on Quilter and other critics, including Philip Gilbert Hamerton, Thomas Taylor, and Frederick Wedmore. His published correspondence was brought together in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.

14.  Chicago
JW exhibited six paintings atWorld's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893, and was awarded a gold medal. The letter he refers to here was a refusal to accept the Royal Commission's invitation to exhibit Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137), which had been previously skied, or hung above the line of vision, at The Victorian Exhibition illustrating fifty years of Her Majesty's Reign, 1837-1887, New Gallery, London, 1891-1892. JW wrote to J. W. Beck, who was the secretary of the Fine Arts Committee for Chicago and who had also been the secretary of the New Gallery, London, to the effect that JW was 'once hung twice shy'. When this was published in the National Observer, a printing error changed it to 'once hung twice sky'. JW exhibited independently of the British section but did not show the Carlyle portrait. See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, pp. 130-32; Beck to JW, 13 July 1892, #09247; JW to Beck, 13 August 1892, #02705.