The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 12th [Exhibition], Ouvrages de Peintures, Sculpture, Dessin, Gravure, Architecture et Objets d'Art, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1902
Record 6 of 20

System Number: 00104
Date: [April / May 1902][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Clifford Addams[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler A103
Document Type: ALS[3]

74. Cheyne Walk -

Two lines in excessive haste that I may tell you by this post, that, in my opinion, the kind of person who sends ribald & coarse abuse openly through the post, belongs to the street - & should only be dealt with through [p. 2] the law -

The insulting post card[4] is, I believe, a well known method of malignant vexation much practised by the canaille, and bounder of all countries -

For there the punishment of the courts is a simple & sure matter - And in this case the offense is of the most abominable and flagrant nature - in as much as the slanderous paper is addressed to a [p. 3] Club! in order that it may attract as much attention, and achieve as much scandal as possible - and do you as much injury as possible, even before it reach you! -

In England most certainly your man would be immediately, & most severely dealt with - and in Paris I have no doubt it would be the same, if you can have the card properly put into its equivalent vileness in French -

My immediate advice is that the man in question is there beyond the consideration of a gentleman's attention, save by means of the police - but that such attention is certainly necessary here! - Now I enclose my card to my friend Mr Vielé-Griffin[5] the distinguished poet, and fighting man of high authority who in his exceeding [p. 4] kindliness and courtesy will I am sure give you further counsel - and indeed for all our sakes, "see you through"! - Also he is "American" with us! -

As I can not by this post write to him as I certainly should, you must carry for me my apologies & my best greetings, and tell him from me that he is to go and see my little Phryne[6]! - If Mr Vielé-Griffin agrees with me, in this matter, you he will doubtless with you, see that the scurrilous stuff he put into its French equivallent [sic] and you can then get M. Olivier[7] to fire away! unless some one better may be known to Vielé-Griffin -

Seems to me simple - and nothing but the offensive post card itself need be is needed - Forgive abrupt & hurried[8] ways, with kindest regards to you both -

J McNeill Whistler

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1.  [April / May 1902]
Dated from the address; JW moved to 74 Cheyne Walk in late March 1902. Also dated from the reference to an exhibition (see below).

2.  Clifford Addams
Clifford Isaac Addams (1876-1942), etcher [more].

3.  ALS
Written on narrow-bordered mourning paper.

4.  insulting postcard
See JW's later letter to Addams, #00105.

5.  Mr Vielé-Griffin
Francis Vielé-Griffin (1863/1864-1937), poet [more].

6.  my little Phryne
Purple and Gold: Phryne the Superb! - Builder of Temples (YMSM 490) wason show at the 12th Exhibition, Ouvrages de Peintures, Sculpture, Dessin, Gravure, Architecture et Objets d'Art, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1902 (cat. no. 1194), which opened on 21 April (see also JW to F. Vielé-Griffin, #07961).

7.  M. Olivier
Etienne Olivier, clerk to Antoine Ratier [more].

8.  hurried
Continued on p. 1.