The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867
Record 21 of 31

System Number: 09193
Date: [5 November 1867][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 12 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS[3]

2. Lindsey Row -
Old Battersea bridge
Chelsea   London

Dear Lucas -

It requires much audacity in me to write to you now to beg you again to help me in these Exhibition[4] matters after your previous kindness[5] and the trouble you have taken for me - I have had letters[6] saying that the affair is all over and the pictures[7] to be packed must be if not personally looked after, at least cared for by some one deputed to do so - Would you do so for me? It will be a kindness in you if you will -

[p. 2] I should I think like much to come over and stay in Paris[8] - I wonder if you were accidentally to know of a decent studio - nothing but a [illegible] bare studio with a little room to sleep in? Perhaps for about 800 fs or 1000 - such might be met with - large you know if possible - but not at all necessary to be swell - as I intend to be very quiet and scarcely "receive" any one so I should want the money to go for size only, and warmth in its construction - No matter either about the quartier as far as neighborhood goes - excepting [p. 3] that I should prefer to be near you -

I have a great deal of very hard work[9] to do - and must be more quiet than I can be here - Also care but little to meet the old café set just now, as I have no time for talk -

Mr Beckwith[10] says something about paying for the transport and packing - can't it be managed without? - as all the sending over there was at my expense - surely there must be some arrangement on the American part that shall make them return their pictures to the Artists as the English department does free of cost! It is preposterous if they do not! I have heard from [p. 4] Mr Avery[11] and will answer his letter[12] which is a very amiable one - Please say to him meanwhile that I will give the Etchings[13] for him to the gentleman[14] whose address he has sent me - and tell him also that I shall be very thankful for any assistance he can show in this matter of returning my unfortunate pictures to me here in London -

With kindest regards to yourself and Madame[15], believe me dear Lucas
Sincerely Yours

J A McN Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.



Monsieur George Lucas
41. Rue de l'arc de Triomphe
Paris -
[stamp x 4:] POSTAGE / ONE PENNY
[postmark:] LONDON. S. W / 5 / NO 5 / 67
[postmark on verso, illegible]

[on verso:] '2'


1.  [5 November 1867]
Dated from postmark. G. A. Lucas was in Le Havre and did not receive the letter until 8 November (see Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 253, diary entry, 8 November 1867).

2.  George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

3.  ALS
This letter was published in Mahey, John A., 'The Letters of James McNeill Whistler to George A. Lucas,' Art Bulletin, XLIX, September 1967, pp. 247-57, Letter VIII.

4.  exhibition
Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867, including Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (YMSM 73). It opened on 1 April. Lucas complied with JW's request and by 13 December, he had received four boxes of pictures in London (see JW to G. A. Lucas, 12 December 1867, #09195).

5.  previous kindness
Lucas had assisted JW with arrangements for the delivery of the works to the exhibition the previous March. In addition, he probably used his influence with the Art Commissioner for the American section, Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), print-publisher, collector and philanthropist [more], to ensure JW's works were well-hung (see JW to G. A. Lucas, [23 March 1867], #09191. He seems to have been unsuccessful, however. JW was furious to find that the works had been ill-displayed (see JW to G. A. Lucas, 6 April 1867, #09192) although Joseph Pennell alleged that all the Americans were treated badly and their work hung 'in corridors and dark corners' (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 141).

6.  letters
Letters untraced

7.  pictures
JW had sent four paintings to the Exposition and several etchings (probably from the Thames Set - see note below). The paintings were Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33); Wapping (YMSM 35); Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38) and Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (YMSM 73).

8.  Paris
JW did not take a studio in Paris, distracted, perhaps, by events such as his quarrel with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], over Haden's treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], and his expulsion from the Burlington Fine Arts Club on 13 December 1867 (see JW to William Boxall, 24 December 1867, #00498). However in January 1868, he borrowed the studio of his friend Frederick Jameson (1839-1916), architect and musician [more] at 62 Great Russell Street for several months where he worked on Symphony in White, No. 3 (YMSM 61).

9.  hard work
During the summer of 1867, JW wrote to Fantin-Latour, rejecting the realist art of Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), painter [more], and wishing that he had studied under Ingres (JW to Henri Fantin-Latour, [May/July 1867], #08045: 'Ah! que n'ai-je été un éleve de Ingres!'). In an attempt to seek new artistic direction, he made numerous studies of classically draped figures during the late 1860s, including the Six Projects (YMSM 82-7; see also M.341 et seq.).

10.  Mr Beckwith
Nelson Marvin Beckwith (d. 1889?), U. S. consul general, Paris, and Commissioner for the 1867 Paris Exhibition [more].

11.  Mr Avery
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), print-publisher, collector and philanthropist [more]. Avery was Art Commissioner for the United States Section at the Exposition. He also went on to become one of JW's regular patrons during the 1870s. He bought rare proofs of his etchings, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and owned oils including Portrait of Whistler with Hat (YMSM 23).

12.  letter
Letter untraced.

13.  Etchings
Probably works such as Early Morning, Battersea (K.75) and Old Hungerford Bridge (K.76) from the Thames Set.

14.  gentleman

15.  Madame
Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho (1833-1909), née Marchand, probable mistress of George A. Lucas [more].

16.  'Whistler'
Written on envelope in Lucas's hand.