The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Boldini, Giovanni
Record 2 of 2

System Number: 09804
Date: [5 June 1900][1]
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[2]
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: Giovanni Boldini[3]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: New York Public Library
Call Number: E. G. Kennedy II/139
Credit Line: Edward Guthrie Kennedy Papers / Manuscripts and Archives Division / The New York Public Library / Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Document Type: MsLd[4]

'June 5 1900'

cher Monsieur Boldini

En réponse à votre prière, je vous me rends la plaque et les épreuves que vous m'aviez vendu pour £40- , soit mille francs - .

Comme vous me les aviez livrées, la vente était [acceptable?] vente était completée et je vous fais remarquer donc cher Monsieur Boldini, que je vous rends volontairement ce qui était ma propriété, et en ma possession -

Le plus joie [plaisir?] à faire cette [acte de le?] [illegible] Mais je ne saurais jamais m'opposer [p. 2] au désir de l'artiste distingué de réprendre [three illegible words] son oeuvre - et de plus en ce cas çi, je ne fais que remplir ma promesse, puisque vous acceptez les conditions sous lesquelles je consentis à [illegible] remettre entre vos mains la planche et les épreuvres: c'est a dire, comme vous m'écrivez, vous les garderez pour vous même, et ne les cederez [pourait?] à nul autre.

Veuillez m'accuser reception de la plaque et des épreuves,
et [agréer?] l'expression, cher Monsieur, de mes sentiments distingués

This document is protected by copyright.


Dear Mr Boldini,

The answer to your prayer, I am returning the plate to you me and the proofs that you had sold to me for £40 - , that is one thousand Francs - .

As you had delivered them to me, the sale was [acceptable?] sale was finalised and so I must point out to you dear Mr Boldini, that I am voluntarily returning to you what was my property, and in my possession -

The greatest joy [pleasure?] in doing [this act of?] [illegible] But I could never oppose the distinguished artist's desire to take back [three illegible words] his work - and moreover in this particular case, I am only fulfilling my promise, since you accept the conditions under which I consent to [illegible] handing you back the plate and the proofs: namely, as you write to me, that you will keep them for yourself, and will not give them [could?] to anybody else.

Please inform me of your receipt of the plate and the proofs, and [accept?] the expression, dear Sir, of my distinguished sentiments


1.  [5 June 1900]
The date is written in another hand at the top of p. 1.

2.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

3.  Giovanni Boldini
Giovanni Boldini (1845-1931), portrait painter and etcher [more].

4.  MsLd
The paper has a deep mourning border. The letter was drafted by JW on behalf of E. G. Kennedy, whose note, attached to the letter, explains the circumstances as follows: 'This is a draft of a letter drawn up by Whistler for me to write to Boldini. I bought "Whistler dozing", (a dry-point made in Boldini's studio in 1898 after breakfast, when W. usually dozed) from Boldini in Paris in May. B. assured me that Whistler would offer no objections to the portrait being used, in fact that W. would be flattered instead. Upon arriving in London I told W. the whole story. Boldini in the meantime writes me a letter in which he says that he has heard that W. would not like the dry-point to go on the market etc., and asking me to return the plate and the proofs. This cool proposal I refused to accede to, unless Boldini promised that under no circumstances would he sell it to anyone else. He wrote a letter in reply which I gave to W. How the matter will end in the future I do not know. In any event the plate and proofs were mine, and Whistler should have taken them and given me a sketch for them instead of returning them to B. if he disliked the portrait so much. But he is stingy in parting with any of his work, except for hard cash, so I have never known him to give anything away - absolutely not a scrap. He is now rich in a way. I have just paid him 1500 /- /- for etchings and a full length painting "l'andalousienne". / E. G. Kennedy, / London, / June 10 / 1900.' The drypoint mentioned is G. Boldini, Portrait of Whistler asleep (z247), and JW's painting, Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian (YMSM 378).