The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

return to search results

Documents associated with: 3rd Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, Munich, 1888
Record 21 of 53

System Number: 05005
Date: [25 April 1888][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: John Charles Potter[2]
Place: [Earnsdale, Darwen, Lancashire]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P645
Document Type: ALd


Dear Potter -

It cannot be that you really mean to withold [sic] a pictures of mine from the recognition that the occasion of exhibition offers it them, for the mere accidental reason that you happen to possess it them. -

Surely my dear this view is absolutely [p. 2] unworthy your own wit and wisdom and your sense of progress in other matters -

You have always been most charming to me in all this sort of question, but surely that again is the privilege of the man who, like yourself, acquires a work of Art - and knows that he has the care of what really belongs to the World and Posterity! -

Dont you see my dear Potter when a picture is purchased by the Louvre or the National Gallery, all can come and see it on the walls, but when a painting is bought by a private gentleman, it is, so to speak, withdrawn from circulation and, for public fame, is missing from the monument story of his reputation -

Your place in history role herein -, as "the patron"[4] should be ought, certainly, to be that of the man who having charge of one owning some of the works of the Painter Master, takes every occasion of spreading his his fame, by showing [p. 3] his pictures them, - and is pleased & proud to do so! - thereby proving also his own superior instinct and faith achieving also for himself the esteem & affection of history.

Do my dear friend let me send the lovely "Little White Girl."[5] to the Salon - (I ought to have it tomorrow if it be yet in time to go at all) - and next year when the Great International Exhibition[6] takes place, do me not the cruelty, and yourself the injustice of thinking of witholding proposing to holding back the beautiful dainty pictures that should take their placepart in establishing my [contd. on p. 1] before my confrères, in the [glorious?] proud splendid chapter of my beautiful work -

After all my dear Potter you have these beautiful [works] always with you - (like the poor!)[7] - and seldom indeed do I trouble you for their loan loan! -


This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [25 April 1888]
Dated by references to the Salon, and the form of words, which is similar to that in a letter to H. S. Theobald, 25 April 1888 (#09668).

2.  John Charles Potter
John Charles Potter (1854-1920), wallpaper manufacturer and collector [more].


4.  as "the patron"
These words are written over three other words which are now illegible.

5.  Little White Girl.
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52) was owned by Potter. Potter seems to have changed his mind and agreed to lend the picture. However, this came too late (see JW to J. C. Potter, #05094). The catalogue to the Paris Salon of 1888 records that none of his oils were exhibited there, only some unidentified etchings.

6.  Great International Exhibition
4th Internationale Kunst-Austellung, Munich, 1889.

7.  always with you - (like the poor!)
Biblical., Matt. 26:11 - 'For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always' (see also Mark 14:7; John 12:8).