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The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Document associated with: Ottin, Léon Auguste
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 01074
Date: 5 August 1859
Author: Henri Fantin-Latour[1]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F5
Document Type: ALS


Paris

5 Aout 59.

Mon cher Whistler

voici ce quil y a de nouveau ici. c'est que ou tu est on est mieux. [qu'avec?] Paris il y a tout les embetement. en Vue de Dieppe j'ai eu le mal de mer trois quart d'heure ce n'est pas drole. Mr Bergeron[2] a été très aimable, cela m'a paru bien drole ma petite chambre rue Férou no. 15. je m j'était déja habituer a Londres tu me diras que l'on s'habitue vite a une aussi belle vie. eh pourtant toi . . . . . . [6 dots] enfin tu en reviendras de ton erreur j'en suis sure, en Arrivant j'ai été chez Legros[3]. je n'ai pu le trouver et il est parti sans que je puisse le voir. tout nous quitte il faudrait ne s'occuper de rien dans ce monde que de Peinture, j'ai été chez Andler[4] vu Courbet[5] a qui j'ai dit que tu allais t'occuper de sa lettre et que tu l'instruirai de ce qui arrivera, Andler m'a paru triste on ne m'y verra pas. Courbet était dans le jeu de Billard jusqu'au cou, il boit toujours! oh que je voudrais aller au diable mais ne pas voir le talent partout [p. 2] dans un coin miserable et l'incapacite rayonnante. Oh l'opposition tu comprends quand l'on voit tout ça que l'on ne peut que regimber contre tout, non! je ne veux rien entendre, tout est mal, je veux m'en sortir de ce monde, ou bien je serais aussi gredin qu'on peut l'être, car enfin je veux manger. je veux trouver tout bien, ne me sentir moi, ayant une opinion qu'interieurement, vous voulez des valets, je le serai, vous n'y comprenez rien, et vous ne voulez pas que celui qui sait ait un jujement. je le ferai - mon travail sera seulement l'expression de ce que je sent, mais pour le faire passer. je dis que voulez vous, voila ce que je peux faire je suis un peu toqué. je suis incapable de faire comme l'on doit faire. car autrement on vous appelle impudent, ne doutant de rien, oh que je rage (en dedans) Voila le rageur qui parait comme ils disent voyons reprenons les choses interessantes. Ottin[6] a vu tes Eaux fortes oh il trouvent cela très bien oh cela plait bien ici. J'ai tout porter a Ernest[7] que j'ai vu je lui [p. 3] ai raconté pas mal de choses, mais j'aurais du prendre note. je ne peux me souvenir de toutes les blagues et de toutes les choses [au?] lesquelles nous avons ri. Ernest est bien enchanté de la tamise mais il va t'ecrire. Bonvin[8] m'a demandé de tes nouvelles, j'ai été chez Valton[9] vu Sinet[10] j'ai donné a Valton ton Eau forte de [Greenwich?] Greenwich[11] celle que tu as faites avec moi, puis celle de la tamise[12] a Sinet, oh ils sont très content on me charge de te dire bien des choses, vu Echerny[13] qui travaille au Louvre je lui dit tout ce qu'il y avait a dire de toi, il y a chez Ernest une Eau forte pour lui et une pour Drouet[14]. j'ai donne de la peinture a Ernest. vu Astruc[15] que j'ai remercier pour toi je lui ai dit que tu lui écrirais et que tu lui avais un abonnement[16], il demeure rue Jacob 17 eh bien vas tu à la campagne faire de la peinture ici ils demandent tous quest ce qu'il a peint. - . moi depuis que j'y suis ici je ne peux me decider a faire quelques choses j'attend d'être bien entrain pour commencer au Louvre le portrait[17], ah quest ce qui va arriver mais j'attends quelque choses va tourner comme tu dit, si je m arretais pour de t'ecrire pour achever ma lettre quand cela serai arrivé, mais cela tarderai trop, je ne pense pas, je ne sais encore ou j'en suis, Adam devait être comme moi quand on l'a fait sortir du paradis terrestre, je comprends son état, et [p. 4] encore maintenant j'ai encore des restes de cette vie Londres, la maison, toi, il me semble que j'ai cela pas loin que j'ai été faire quelques milles en omnibus quel omnibus!! c'est drole bien drole ne trouve tu pas l'existence ainsi on va, on vient puis - fini. Que c'est bête eh bien j'y tiens encore a la vie et cela a cause de cette diable de peinture, je crois que dois faire quelque chose ça m'enbèterai de partir a mon àge, que veux tu j'ai des illusions. Je crois que c'est tout ce que j'avais a te dire, reste la bas, travaille; on pense a toi toujours ici, surtout rue férou 15, il y en a un là qui est rageur et qui croit a son Art et à l'amitié de ceux qui ont ces idées, est ce drole que je ne peux sympathiser qu'avec ceux qui font des choses comme Je les sent

adieu a bientôt

H Fantin la Tour

rue Férou 15.


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Paris

5th August 59

My dear Whistler

this is what is new here. that where you are is best. that in Paris there is nothing but problems. in sight of Dieppe I was seasick for three-quarters of an hour it was not amusing. Mr Bergeron was very kind, my little room at no. 15 Ferou Street seemed strange I was so used to London you will say that one quickly becomes accustomed to such a fine life. as for you though ...... you will get over your mistake I am sure, when I arrived I went to Legros' house, I could not find him and he left without my being able to see him. Everyone is leaving us nothing in the world should be done but Painting, I went to Andler's saw Courbet and told him that you were going to deal with his letter and will tell him what happens, Andler seemed unhappy they will not see me there again. Courbet was into the game of Billiards up to his neck, he is still drinking! oh I would rather go to the devil than see talent [p. 2] in miserable corners everywhere and ineptitude flourishing. As for the opposition you understand when you see all that you can only rebel against it, no! I don't want to hear anything, everything is bad, I want to do away with myself or I'll be as hypocritical as possible, because after all I want to eat. I want to find everything good, not to feel I cannot express my opinions, if they want lackeys, I will be one, they don't understand anything about it, and they don't want anyone who knows anything to have an opinion. I will do it - my work will be solely the expression of what I feel, but to make it felt I say what can you expect, that is what I can do I am a little mad. I am incapable of doing what one is obliged to do. because otherwise they say you are an upstart, without any second thoughts, oh how I rage (inwardly) That is the rage which comes up when they say let's see let's talk about something interesting. [Ottin?] saw your etchings oh he thought them very good oh they are much admired here. I took everything to Ernest whom I saw I told him quite a few things, but I should have taken note. I cannot remember all the jokes and everything we laughed about. Ernest is delighted with the Thames but he is going to write to you. Bonvin asked me for news of you, I was at Valton's saw Sinet I gave Valton your etching of Greenwich the one which you did with me, then the one of the Thames to Sinet, oh they are very pleased and have asked me to send you their best wishes, saw Echerny who is working at the Louvre I told him everything there is to tell about you, at Ernest's there is an etching for him and one for Drouet. I gave Ernest some paint. saw Astruc whom I thanked for you I told him you would write to him and that you had a subscription for him, he is living at 17 rue Jacob well are you going into the countryside to paint, everyone here is asking what has he painted. - As for me, since I've been here I have not been able to decide what to do I am waiting until I really have the energy to begin the portrait at the Louvre, oh what is going to happen but I am waiting something will turn up as you say, if I stop writing to you to finish my letter when would it arrive, but that would take too long, I am not thinking, I still don't know where I am, Adam must have been like me when he was sent out of the earthly paradise, I understand how he felt, and [p. 4] even now I still have parts of that London life, the house, you, I feel it is not long since I went miles in an omnibus, what an omnibus! it is strange really strange don't you find that existence is like that you come, you go then - finish. How stupid it is well I'm holding on to life and all that because of this diabolical painting, I feel I must do something I would be angry to die at my age, what can you expect I have my illusions. I think that is all I had to tell you, stay there, work; we're still thinking of you here, above all at 15 rue ferou, there is one here who is passionate and who believes in his Art and in the friendship of those who share these ideas, it is strange but I can only like people who do things the way I feel they should be done

goodbye I hope to hear from you soon

H Fantin la Tour

15 Rue Ferou


Notes:

1.  Henri Fantin-Latour
Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more].

2.  Bergeron
Louis Bergeron (1811-1890), journalist [more].

3.  Legros
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more].

4.  Andler
The Brasserie Andler in the rue de l'Ecole de Médecine.

5.  Courbet
Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), painter [more].

6.  Ottin
Léon Auguste Ottin (fl. 1855-1882), portrait and genre painter, who had met Fantin when they were both students at Lecoq's painting classes in Paris in 1851.

7.  Ernest
Doubtless Ernest Delannoy (d. 1860/1870), art student, JW's travel companion in 1858 [more].

8.  Bonvin
François Bonvin (1817-1887), painter and etcher [more].

9.  Valton
Edmond Eugène Valton (1836-1910), genre and landscape painter [more].

10.  Sinet
Louis René Sinet, genre and portrait painter [more]; Fantin, Legros and Sinet had formed the 'Société des vrais bons' in autumn 1858, but this was replaced by the 'Société des Trois' (Fantin, Legros and Whistler) in spring 1859.

11.  Greenwich
See Greenwich Park (K.35).

12.  tamise
It is not clear which of several etchings of the Thames is meant here.

13.  Echerny
The name also appears in this form in #01073.

14.  Drouet
Charles L. Drouet (1836-1908), sculptor and collector [more].

15.  Astruc
Zacharie Astruc (1835-1907), artist, journalist and poet [more].

16.  abonnement
In 1859 Astruc published 'Les Quatorze stations du Salon' in Le Quart d'heure, from May to July on the 5th and 20th of each month.

17.  portrait
Possibly the copy of Raphael's Portrait de jeune homme, Musée du Louvre, or Portrait of Castiglione; Fantin-Latour, Mme, Fantin-Latour, Catalogue de l'oeuvre complète, 1849-1904, Paris, 1911, cat. nos. 381 and 382.