UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Ionides, Alexander Constantine
Record 2 of 22

System Number: 07952
Date: [12/19 November 1862][1]
Author: JW
Place: Guéthary
Recipient: Henri Fantin-Latour[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/33/4
Document Type: ALS[3]


Maison de la Croix.
Chez Mons. Louis Daguerre
Guethary
Basses Pyrenées. -

Mon Cher Fantin -

Je n'en puis plus. tu sais combien j'ai de la patience et comment je ne quitte jamais ce que j'ai commencé - mais cette fois la lutte a été d'une si longue durée sans que j'ai pu faire un seul pas que je crois vraiment faire une betise en continuant plus long temps! - J'ai eu une chance attroce! - La pluie! la pluie! et la pluie, ou bien le soleil stupide sans nuages, et une mer d'une platitude à vous faire cracher dedans - Je me sens presque demoralisé par ces journees perdues - et ces semaines qui filent! - et maintenant je me vois forcé d'abandonner ce tableau[4] jusqu'à l'an prochain - je laisserai la toile içi et je reviendrai la finir - Ah mon cher decidement tu as raison[5] - la peinture d'apres nature! on doit la faire chez soi! Il n'y a que la petite toile de vingt[6] que je rapporte et de ça je ne suis pas trop content - L'hiver ici me serait impossible et je perds mon temps inutilement - je crois mieux faire en retournant a Londres finir la grande Tamise[7] et la Fille blanche[8] [p. 2] pour le salon à Paris que de rester ici esperer contre toute esperance - Ecris moi deux mots pour me consoler car tu sais combien un pareil désappointement me fait souffrir -

J'ai presque envie de remettre la visite à Velasquez[9] aussi au printemps prochain, car il me faudrait revenir ici dans tous les cas, et alors pourrais-tu peutêtre arranger a venir avec moi -

En attendant j'ai plusieurs commandes a Londres[10] que je pourrais probablement finir avant le mois de Mai - et me remplir ainsi les poches -

Ecris moi par le courier de retour

Tout a toi

Jim Whistler.


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

My dear Fantin -

I've had enough. you know how patient I am and how I never give up when I have started something - but this time the struggle has gone on for so long without my being able to make a single step forward that it would be foolish to carry on any longer! - I have had terrible luck! - Rain! rain! and rain, or stupid sunshine without any clouds, and sea so flat you want to spit in it - I feel almost demoralised by these wasted days - and weeks that go by! - and now I am going to be forced to give the picture up until next year - I'll leave the canvas here and I'll come back to finish it - Ah, mon cher, you are absolutely right - painting from nature! needs to be done at home! I shall only be bringing back the little size twenty canvas and I am not all that pleased with it - I should find the winter here impossible and I'm wasting my time completely - I would do better to go back to London to finish the large Thames picture and the White Girl for the Salon in Paris than to stay here hoping against hope - Send me a couple of lines to cheer me up, as you know how much I suffer from such a let-down -

I almost want to put the visit to Velasquez off until next spring as well, since I should have to come back here in any case, and then perhaps you would be able to arrange to come with me -

In the meantime I have several commissions in London which I should probably be able to finish before May - and so fill my pockets

Write back by return post

Yours

Jim Whistler


Notes:

1.  [12/19 November 1862]
This letter appears to be a reply to Fantin's letter dated 10 November 1862, #01076.

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

3.  ALS
'2' is written at the top of p. 1 in another hand.

4.  tableau
Seascape with Figures (YMSM 40); see also #07951, #08028.

5.  tu as raison
See Fantin's comments on his ideal of a quiet secluded studio in which to work, in his letter of 10 November, p. 3, #01076.

6.  toile de vingt
A standard canvas size, 50 x 73 cm.; see Subject Unknown (YMSM 42).

7.  Tamise
Wapping (YMSM 35).

8.  Fille blanche
Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38).

9.  Velasquez
i.e. to Madrid, as mentioned in letters in October, #07951, #01075, #08028, etc.

10.  commandes
Possibly Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33), commissioned in 1859 by Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890), shipping merchant and collector [more].