Documents associated with: Adams-Acton, John
Record 2 of 2
System Number: 13374
Date: 14 February 1894
Recipient: Alexander Reid
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 235
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
110. Rue du Bac - Paris
Feb. 14. 1849 -
Dear Mr. Reid,
What is all this about your not reaping and so not offending? - Why the more you reap the better, not only for yourself, but for me! -
It is your business to reap - and the greater your profit, the better for those with whom you deal -
If you - or Goupil - or Kennedy buy a picture of mine for £5 - and sell it for £5000, up goes my price in the market - and most legitimate is your transaction and all to the good - But when these sneaking amateur tradesmen, under the cloak of Art Patronage, acquire [p. 2] a work for eighteen pence and sell it for thousands, it is quite a different matter! - The whole thing, to begin with, is whispered in the back parlour - and the less recognition
either of artist or trace of crime the better! - The people outside know nothing of it - and the middleman is in an agony for fear I should find it out!! - Whereas with you the whole matter is open & above board - and establishes the painters worth as well as your own wit in perceiving it -
Therefore go on - and prosper! - and make me the fortune I ought to have had long ago -
That you should sell anything you buy of me for double or treble the money you give me is my prayer - and if you can afford to "lay things down" and wait a bit you must eventually [p. 3] sell them for four or five times the sum they cost you -
Mind you my things cannot lose in value - that I know - There is no trick of fashion about them any more than there is any trick of the studio in their making -
They have never been popular wares, but, when asked for, they are no glut upon the market - So now you had better make a try for the "Fire Wheel" - See now, I make no pretence - there is no St Johns Wood sham about me - and while the Potters and Leathardts & that lot are thriving on my pictures, I pose for no swell account at the bank and admit that times are ridiculously poor - and so am I! - Wherefore if in your innermost you, cherish a longing for the noble "Fire Wheel" and think you can keep it until the moment for superb "reaping" - why make a bid - don't be fainthearted - I am badly off - for the moment - I shall get over it of course - still -
[p. 4] The "Nocturne Blue & Silver" I have also - But those are the last two of this lot - and this time business must be done with me - at last! -
I am glad about the Philadelphia affair - and I trust it may come off, for I want none of the pictures back in England!! -
Why are you so little hopeful?
They tell me that over there they are are rather emballé just now about their Country man -
Write any news.
Envelope:Charing Cross Hotel
Alexander Reid Esqr
[stamp:] POSTE 25 / REPUBLIQUE FRANCAIS
[postmark:] PARIS 20 /  BD ST GERMAIN / 1E 16 / FEVR / 94
[postmark:] GLASGOW / 159 / 27 / FE 17 / 94
5. these sneaking amateur tradesmen
A number of patrons had sold works by JW after the success of Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892, including John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more], who had sold Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52) and Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115) in 1893 for £1400 to Arthur ('Peter') Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), painter and collector [more]. Potter had originally purchased Symphony in White, No. 2 for less than £150 and JW's indignation is expressed in a letter to E. G. Kennedy, 4 February 1894, #09715.
6. find it out
8. St Johns Wood sham
Fashionable artists living in the London suburb St Johns Wood included Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), painter [more] and John Adams-Acton (1834-1910), née John Adams, sculptor [more].
11. the Philadelphia affair
63rd Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1893-1894. Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242) was bought for the Wilstach Collection in 1894, the first work by JW bought for an American public collection.
Fr., worked up.