The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Illustrated London News (London)
Record 6 of 6

System Number: 03386
Date: [18 September 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Thomas Robert Way[2]
Place: London
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 138
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.

Now Tom -,

This is all very well showing these things to Mr Rothenstein[4] - who, by the way, has written me a very nice little letter about them, but what did you show him? not those I had condemned I hope - I mean for instance "The Porch", or "The Reaper[5]" -

What we destroy no one must see. A word or two may be said about them - perhaps - in the famous Catalogue[6] - of that when we lunch together [p. 2] at Simpson's[7] -

Well the proofs came all right this morning - and very lovely they are - Really La belle Jardinière[8] is delightful - and the Forge[9] has a fine and dignified appearance - what a pity that the top window came out so weak - I have half a mind to scrape that out altogether - however we will see - Now I count very much on the new one I sent yesterday - Let us get it on to the stone at once, even though the printer has gone away. - The Rue de Furstenburg[10] is lovely! - But the "Duet[11]" wont do - I know all about the Rembrandt effect[12] - but the heads are unworthy. I did not then know my material, and couldn't see what I was doing. I shall do another of the same subject - meanwhile dont show -

Did[13] you see the ridiculous paragraph in last weeks Illustrated London News[14] - Now that you are an authority you shall write and say that these works are in no way like Mr Thingamy's "drawing book" of the early Victorian period - It also is not true that there is going to be a "show" at Goupils[15] - About this also by and bye - I have other ideas!!

With many messages Always

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


Thomas Way. Junr.
21. Wellington Street
[postmark:] PARIS / 20 / 195 BD ST GERMAIN / 6E ' [18?] / [SEPT] / 94
[postmark on verso:] LONDON W. C. / KM / S. M. P. / SP 19 / 94


1.  18 September 1894
Dated by postmark, and in pencil in another hand on p. 1, '18 Sep 94'.

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. 121, no. 120.

4.  Rothenstein
T. R. Way and William Rothenstein had published an article on JW's lithographs; see Rothenstein, W., and Thomas R. Way, 'Some Remarks on Artistic Lithography,' The Studio, vol. 3, no. 13, April 1894, pp.16-20. JW had advised Rothenstein to go to Thomas Way to make lithographs for the folio of portraits published as Oxford Characters, London, 1896.

5.  The Porch", or "The Reaper
The Garden Porch (C.88) and The Man with a Sickle (C.89).

6.  Catalogue
Way proposed to write a catalogue of JW's lithographs, and although JW at first approved the idea, the result contributed to their quarrel (Way, Thomas R., Mr. Whistler's Lithographs: the Catalogue, London, 1896).

7.  Simpson's
Simpson's in the Strand, a favourite restaurant.

8.  La belle Jardinière
La Belle Jardinière (C.101).

9.  Forge
JW's reference to the Forge suggests The Forge, Passage du Dragon (C.102), but his description identifies it as The Smith, Passage du Dragon (C.103). The printer may have been H. P. Bray; see the letter from T. Way to JW, 27 March 1894, #06114.

10.  Rue de Furstenburg
Rue Furstenburg (C.97).

11.  Duet
The Duet (C.104); unlike JW, T. R. Way particularly liked this print (see Way, Thomas Robert, Memories of James McNeill Whistler, the Artist, London and New York, 1912, p. 109).

12.  Rembrandt effect
Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn (1606-1669), painter and etcher [more]: renowned for his rich effects of light and shade.

13.  Did
The rest of the text has been added on p. 1.

14.  Illustrated London News
The critic questioned whether the art of lithography was worthy of JW's skill, which was so fully expressed through his etchings, and continued: 'Not that the lithographs are much less terse or expressive. But the public, and even connoisseurs, taste has to be educated greatly before it can divest itself of association between lithographs and Vere Foster's drawing-books of a generation ago.' It reported that JW's lithographs were to be shown at the Goupil Gallery ('Art Notes', Illustrated London News, 15 September 1894, p. 352). E. G. Brown had proposed showing a group of JW's lithographs at the Fine Art Society, but JW declined (see E. G. Brown to JW, 30 August 1894, #01281). JW told Huish that he did not want any publicity yet and wanted to sell his etchings and lithographs quietly for the moment (JW to Huish, #02945). Before the end of the month, however, JW negotiated new conditions for an exhibition, probably with Huish at the F. A. S., where a retrospective of Mr Whistler's Lithographs opened in December 1895 (see JW to T. R. Way, [25 September 1894], #03387).

15.  Goupils
See letter from D. C. Thomson to JW, 11 September 1894, #05813, and JW's reply, [14 September 1894], #08299.