The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 3rd Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia,Venice 1899
Record 29 of 32

System Number: 00735
Date: 1 June 1899
Author: John James Cowan[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C 236
Document Type: ALS

1 June 1899



Dear Whistler,

I was very pleased to get your letter this morning sent me from home. No, it isn't Valparaiso, but Chelsea reach in pink & grey[2], lately the property of Lord Battersea, but now added to my collection - price £700 Stg.

[p. 2] It is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, & I have told Thomson he'll have to give me a very long price to get it back again!

I begin to understand why you keep the Harmony in grey & green[3] if it is anything like the other things in merit beauty!

[p. 3] The Venice people[4] are at me again asking me to send them my pictures now. The Scottish Academy has closed. Shall I send them the "Thames"[5] now? I must of course confess to them that the Piano[6] is no longer my property. Will you write me as to this to 50 Cameron Street, London E. C. or send me a wire (I wish to oblige you in this if you desire it.) [p. 4] addressed "Mentor, London" & if signed Whistler my firm will send it to me on Saturday.

A letter[7] wd reach me Monday.

I met J. M. Swan[8] the other day (animal painter). He said something nice of you, & added "He's a disgrace to the Royal Academy"!

Yr's [sic] in haste

J. J. Cowan

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1.  John James Cowan
John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more].

2.  Chelsea reach in pink & grey
Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay (YMSM 76). In an earlier letter (#00734) JW had confused this with Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea (YMSM 105). Cyril Flower (1843-1907), barrister, Liberal MP, 1st Baron Battersea [more], had sold the painting to Cowan through the London dealers Messrs Agnew on 29 May 1899.

3.  Harmony in grey & green
Arrangement in Grey and Green: Portrait of J. J. Cowan (YMSM 402).

4.  Venice people
The 3rd Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia,Venice, 1899, ran from 22 April to 31 October.

5.  Thames
The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36) was exhibited at the 73rd Exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1899.

6.  Piano
Cowan had just reluctantly sold At the Piano (YMSM 24) to Sir Edmund Davis (d. 1939), patron and collector. The agent for the sale was David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more] (see J. J. Cowan to R. Birnie-Philip, #00733).

7.  letter
See JW's reply, #00737.

8.  J. M. Swan
John Macallan Swan (1847-1908), animal painter and sculptor [more].