UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Search for People > Document Display

return to search results

Documents associated with: Hiffernan, Joanna
Record 11 of 50

System Number: 08029
Date: [24/31 October 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 1/33/7
Document Type: ALS[3]


Lundi Vendredi

Maison de la Croix. Guethary

J'ai été parfaitement bien jugé devant ton tribunal, mon cher Fantin, et je me reconnais coupable, surtout de la premiere faute - "le nommé Whistler aime trop la reussite" - mea culpa! - pour un moment j'ai été entrainé hors ma vie intime ma peinture, je m'ocupais des petites choses qui forment les grands evenements dans la vie "des Autres" et j'allais m'abrutir avec des tourmens absurdes - ta lettre[4] est parfaite - ca m'a été comme un bain froid morale! - immediatement apres l'avoir lu je me suis senti tout a fait reveillé et désaveuglé - ce que tu me dis, et juste ce que j'avais besoin d'entendre. ca m[']a fait tout le bien possible et je t'en remercie - Nous[5] partons d'ici aussitot que j'aurais recu une lettre changée[6] que j'attends de Londres - et j'apporte avec mes toiles - nous les regarderons ensemble et nous chercherons à voir si j'ai fait quelques progres malgre tout - Maintenant mon cher Fantin je te prends au mot - je remis ma visite en Espagne[7] à l'année prochaine et tu viendras avec moi! - ça sera le supreme de bonheur! c'est un pélerinage sacré pour nous, et rien ne doit nous empecher de le faire - penses donc avec quelle joie nous examinerons tout ces chefs d'oeuvres ensemble - ca vaudra mille fois mieux que d'y aller seul! Ainsi donnons nous la main et jurons! - Je [p. 2] viens de recevoir une lettre du beaufrère[8] - Il me parle de son sejour a Paris et me dit aussi que Braqmond[9] a été a Londres! Il parait qu'il y a été frappé par des Gainsborough - et les Reynolds. Turner aussi lui a été administré. - Seymour me racconte sa visite chez Meryon[10] avec toi - et il semble trouver bien les eaux fortes d'un nomme Jacqmart[11] - et d'un autre dont je ne puis pas lire le nom, mais je crois que c'est Rousseau[12]? - Je languis ici atrocement, il fait un temps de tous les diables! Je regrette la petite toile de 20[13]. C'est une tranchée de chemin de fer - mais il semble impossible de pouvoir la finir, car chaque fois qu'il pleut on est obligé d'attendre trois jours pour que la terre seche avant de pouvoir y travailler! - Quelle chance hein! Ah la campagne! en blé assez pour quelque temps au moins - Ne peux tu pas dire a Martinet[14] que je dois venir a Paris prochainement et que je veux être societaire de son exposition. Je veux y mettre pour l'ouverture, ou aussitot que possible, le Pont de Westminster[15], dont t'a parlé le beaufrère -

Adieu mon cher Fantin j'aimerais bien recevoir encore une lettre de toi avant de partir. -

Whistler -


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Monday Friday

Maison de la Croix. Guethary

I have been perfectly judged in your court, my dear Fantin, and I admit my guilt, above all for the first error - "the said Whistler loves success too much" - mea culpa! - for a moment I was drawn away from my personal life my painting, I was doing the little things which are great events in the lives of "Others" and I was numbing myself with absurd torments - your letter is perfect - it was like a moral cold bath! immediately after having read it I felt fully awake and could see clearly again - what you said is just what I needed to hear. it was the best thing possible for me and I thank you for it - We are leaving here as soon as I have received a bill of exchange which I am expecting from London - and I am bringing my canvasses with me - we shall look at them together and try to see whether I have made any progress in spite of everything - Now my dear Fantin I am taking you at your word - I am delaying my visit to Spain until next year and you will come with me! - it will be a supreme pleasure! it is a holy pilgrimage for us, and nothing must prevent us from making it - just think with what joy we will examine all those masterpieces together - it will be a thousand times better than going there alone! So let us shake hands and swear! I [p. 2] have just received a letter from my brother-in-law - he tells me of his visit to Paris and also tells me that Braqmond has been in London! It appears he was struck by the Gainsboroughs - and the Reynolds. He also had Turner prescribed for him. - Seymour tells me about his visit to Meryon's with you - and he seems to have appreciated etchings by someone called Jacqmart - and another man whose name I could not read, but I think it is Rousseau? - I am languishing atrociously here, the weather is devilish! I am sad about the little 20 canvas. It is a railway cutting - but it seems impossible to finish, because every time it rains I have to wait three days for the ground to dry before I can work on it! What luck, eh! Ah the countryside! the harvest will be there for some time still - Can you not tell Martinet that I must come to Paris soon and that I want to join his exhibition. I want to show at the opening, or as soon as possible, the Westminster Bridge, which my brother-in-law has told you about -

Goodbye my dear Fantin I would very much like to have another letter from you before we leave -

Whistler


Notes:

1.  [24/31 October 1862]
The sequence of letters between JW and Fantin (#07951, #01075, #08028, #08030) is not altogether clear at this point, but this letter appears to follow #08030.

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

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

4.  lettre
The letter from Fantin does not appear to have survived.

5.  Nous
JW and Joanna Hiffernan (b. ca 1843), JW's model and mistress [more].

6.  lettre changée
Presumably a 'lettre de change', a bill of exchange.

7.  Espagne
On 27 October 1862 JW told G. A. Lucas that he was thinking of going on to Madrid; however, the trip never materialised, either in 1862 or later years.

8.  beaufrère
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]; the letter from Haden has not been traced.

9.  Braqmond
Joseph Auguste ('Félix') Bracquemond (1833-1914), painter and etcher [more].

10.  Meryon
Charles Méryon (1821-1868), etcher [more]. It is unlikely that JW ever met Méryon, who was already ill by this time; he knew of his work through Haden, who first visited him in 1860 after his release from Charenton, the mental institution, to buy some works on behalf of the South Kensington Museum.

11.  Jacqmart
Jules-Ferdinand Jacquemart (1837-1880), water-colourist and etcher [more].

12.  Rousseau
There were a number of artists by this name: the most likely is Pierre-Etienne Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867), painter and etcher [more].

13.  toile de 20
Canvas sized 50 x 73 cm.; see Subject Unknown (YMSM 42). A suggestion that the painting referred to here is A White Note (YMSM 44), which includes a railway scene, was prompted by the reading 'toile de Jo', but this reading is incorrect; the canvas of A White Note (YMSM 44) measures 37 x 32 cm., smaller than the 'toile de 20.'

14.  Martinet
Louis Martinet (1814-1895), history painter, Directeur des Beaux-Arts [more]; JW had already exhibited the Thames etchings at Martinet's gallery in Paris.

15.  Pont de Westminster
The Last of Old Westminster (YMSM 39); shown in [Exposition], Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1862.