UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Koehler, Robert
Record 13 of 16

System Number: 05347
Date: [14/22 September 1888?][1]
Author: JW
Place: Tours
Recipient: James Rennell Rodd[2]
Place: [Berlin]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R242
Document Type: ALS


Your letter my dear Rennie has followed me, as you saw by my telegram this afternoon, to this most lovely old town in the "Garden of France"! -

I am delighted with you! and am sure that your own diplomacy of the finest kind has fanned the flame of indignation that is now burning in the noble bosoms of Paulus & the distinguished Lenbach[3] - and that will ultimately reduce the whole Jury of the Central Committee to ashes! - Bravo Rennie - [p. 2] I will be discreet - and will do all that you suggest -

But now tell me what shall be my first step? - To begin with you have doubtless read my letter to the Committee[4]? - In any case I enclose it -

I sent it to the Secretary in English and in French - a charming translation - (..."allegresse temperée et bien seante"[5]...!) and I am sure you will delight in it -

What next - you will notice that I neither declined the medal, nor accepted it - merely acknowledged the fact of its having been awarded - so that I can easily return it, as you propose, if it be sent to me - but as yet I have not received it. -

Shall I wait? - or shall I write again - refusing the medal? - This would perhaps not be so pretty - or so well in keeping with the completeness of my first letter - Ought I not to wait (as far as the medal itself is concerned) for them to make the next move? - However I dont want to lose any time - so dont you think you might let the Herr Paulus know that I will never accept the medal - that I am deeply wounded - that I had put my full faith in the artistic appreciation of Münich as far away beyond that of France or England because of his representations to me - and that therefore this proffer of the second class [p. 3] medal was all the more mortifying to me - And then might not Lenbach be told that I am much touched by his expression of sympathy and regard - and both these Gentlemen might perhaps be assured that I should be of course be thoroughly sensible of the great honor and distinction conveyed in the Maximilian Order - and would receive it with great pride and

In short my dear Rennie in all this you would use your own judgement with your knowledge of the people and the situation, and put in your own language whatever sentiment of appreciation you might think it wise that I should offer - - Now about coming on to Münich - If you think it ought to [be] done - I must manage it somehow or other - This you will write to me directly you have thought it out - and I need scarcely tell [p. 4] you how very nice and kind I think it of you to offer to meet me there and see me through it all - How charming it would be! - I really must manage it -

Your pretty little letter came to us on our travels, and we both thank you, and I had meant to write to you in answer long before now - but we have have [sic] been journeying and wandering ever since -

I wonder if you know this most delightful part of the world - Not an Englishman in the whole place! The town itself filled with wonderful bits of Renaissance, and the environs studded with the most exquisite Chateaux, and we idle about from one to the other [p. 5] sketching or lazily looking on as the mood takes us - and always in the sun of an endless summer! -

I am off now with this or I shall miss tonight's post -

Always affectionately Yours

[butterfly signature]

14. Rue de la Scellerie -
à Tours.


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Notes:

1.  [14/22 September 1888?]
Dated from address. JW was in France on a working honeymoon, after his marriage to Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more] on 11 August. He appears to have stayed with Leymarie from mid September. See JW to M. B. Ford, #01443 and to H. Whistler, #06713. Also dated from JW to R. Köehler, #07978 and #07979.

2.  James Rennell Rodd
James Rennell Rodd (1858-1941), 1st Baron Rennell, poet and diplomat [more]. See also, #05348, a further letter written to Rodd whilst JW was travelling in France with Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

3.  Paulus & the distinguished Lenbach
Adolf Paulus (b. 1851), business manager of the Kϋnstlergenossenschaft and instigator of the Munich Secession in 1893 [more]; and Franz-Seraph von Lenbach (1836-1904), historical and portrait painter [more].

4.  letter to the Committee
See JW to R. Köehler, #07979 and #09318 (the version in French). Köehler was President of the American Artists' Club in Munich. This related to the 3rd Internationale Kunst-Austellung, Munich, 1888 to which JW sent a large number of works.

5.  'allegresse temperée et bien seante'
This is an extract from #09318. JW translates it as 'my sentiments of tempered and respectable joy.'