UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: portrait, of JW
Record 1 of 18

System Number: 01084
Date: 21 February 1867
Author: Henri Fantin-Latour[1]
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F15
Document Type: ALS


21 Fevrier 1867.
au soir

Mon cher Whistler

j'ai reçu ta lettre[2] ce matin c'est grave ce que tu me demande [sic] - donner un avis ce n'est guère mon fort. je ne sait que te dire sur ce que tu me demande mon avis autrefois etait que tu devrais exposer d'ancienne chose c'est bon de faire voir les choses par lesquelles on a commencer cela explique bien ce que l'on fait aujourd'hui n'as tu pas toujours le temps de montrer ta symphonie[3] - puis tu [p. 2] aurais deux tableaux de figures ne vaudrait il pas mieux avec ton piano[4] montrer ou une marine ou quelques choses d'une autre genre, tes navires dans la glace[5] ont eu beaucoup de succès chez Martinet[6]! - mais enfin c'est difficille de te donner un conseil c'est très important pour toi, que ces deux expositions. - .

tu as encore ta marine de Valparaiso[7] qui ferais bien avec ton piano. Vois tu c'est ton meilleur juje. maintenant que je te parle de mon exposition. J'ai commencer un portrait de Manet[8] qui c'est offert de me poser - il a l'obligeance de me preter son Atelier pour le faire. c'est une toile de [p. 3] 50 plus d'un mêtre de haut il est ainsi -

[sketch[9]]
chapeau sur la
tête -
une main gantée
l'autre nue
la canne entre
les mains.
-

Je crois que l'on peut faire une bonne etude tu pourrais si tu venais le 1er mars - me donner quelques jours, me poser pour faire un portrait de toi[10] sur une toile de 25 la tête et un bout de main. j'ai la toile et le cadre tout pret. chez moi je peux faire une toile de 25 nous serions tres bien et en quelques jours j'aurais encore le temps[.] reponds moi de suite si tu peux rester assez pour cela, une tête tu sais je fais cela bien vite [p. 4] même quelquefois ce sont mes meilleurs choses celles que je fait vite. dis moi cela de suite parce que je ne ferais rien d'autres sur ma toile de 25.

pour montrer ton tableau a Burger[11], tu sais que je ne le connais pas et qu'il n'a jamais été gentil avec moi. - . quand tu vois dilberoglue[12] dis lui que si il ne reçoit pas sa copie de suite c'est que il faut que j'attende que cela soit assez sec pour le rouler sur le cylindre (vu sa grandeur) pour l'éloge de sa copie[13], je me fie a toi dis lui aussi que pour la Venus[14] qu'il veut que je lui fasse cela me ferait bien plaisir si il me donnait de l'argent d'avance, tu sais sans le sou ma mère[15] malade, la maladie coute cher - Et l'affaire Spartali[16] j'en ai parler a Lucas Ionidés[17], il me dit que il en parleras, si tu en as l'occasion parles en aussi -

Adieu ecrit moi

h. Fantin.


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

21 February 1867
evening

My dear Whistler

I received your letter this morning what you ask is serious - giving advice is not my strong point. I do not know what to say to you about what you are asking my opinion previously was that you should exhibit old things it is good to show the things you began with it explains what you are doing now have you not still time to show your symphony - then you [p. 2] would have two pictures with figures would it not be better to show either a seascape or something different with your piano, your ships in the ice were very successful at Martinet's! - but it is difficult to advise you they are very important for you, these two exhibition pieces. - .

you still have your seascape of Valparaiso which would go well with your piano. you see you are your own best judge. Now let me tell you about my own exhibition piece. I began a portrait of Manet who offered to pose for me - he has been kind enough to lend me his Studio for it. It is a canvas of [p. 3] 50 over a metre high like this -

[sketch] hat on head - one hand gloved the other bare his stick between his hands. -

I believe I can do a good study you could if you were coming on March 1st - to give me a few days, to pose for me to do a portrait of you on a canvas of 25 your head and part of a hand. I have the canvas and frame all ready. At home I can do a canvas of 25 we would both be very comfortable and in a few days I would still have time[.] reply straight away to say if you can stay long enough for that, I can do a head really quickly you know [p. 4] sometimes even the ones I do quickly are my best things. Tell me at once because I will not do anything else on my 25 canvas.

as for showing your picture to Burger, you know I do not know him and that he has never been kind to me.-. when you see Dilberoglue tell him that if he does not receive his copy at once it is because I have to wait until it is dry enough to roll round the cylinder (in view of its size) for praise of his copy, I am counting on you also for the Venus which he wants me to do for him I would like it very much if he gave me the money in advance, you know without a sou my mother ill, illness is expensive - And the Spartali business I talked about it to Lucas Ionides, he told me he would mention it, if you have the chance talk to him also -

Good bye write to me

h. Fantin


Notes:

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

2.  ta lettre
JW's letter has not been located, although two letters dating from later in 1867 have survived (#08045, #08047).

3.  symphonie
Possibly Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38), which was shown at the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867, or Symphony in White, No. 3 (YMSM 61), which had been in Paris earlier but was eventually sent to the 99th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1867.

4.  piano
At the Piano (YMSM 24), dating from 1858/1859, was later shown at the 85th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1867.

5.  navires dans la glace
The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36), dating from 24 December 1860, was also shown at the 85th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1867.

6.  Martinet
Louis Martinet (1814-1895), history painter, Directeur des Beaux-Arts [more]. It is not certain if The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36) was shown in an exhibition at Martinet's gallery in the Boulevard des Italiens. The summer and winter exhibitions of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts were held at this Gallery until 1866. In 1867, a new organisation was formed, which JW was not eligible to join (see Fantin-Latour to JW, 12 February 1867, #01083).

7.  marine de Valparaiso
Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (YMSM 73), which was later shown at the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867.

8.  Manet
Edouard Manet (1832-1883), painter [more]. H. Fantin-Latour, Portrait de Manet (FL.296) (z121) (Art Institute of Chicago).

9.  sketch
The sketch of Fantin Latour's portrait of Manet is on the left of the page, with the description written on the right.

10.  portrait de toi
An earlier portrait of JW appears in H. Fantin-Latour, Hommage à Eugène Delacroix (FL.227) (z100), Musée d'Orsay, Paris, in 1864. No portrait by Fantin from 1867 is known.

11.  Burger
Etienne Joseph Théophile Thoré (1807-1869), alias Thoré-Burger, writer and art critic [more].

12.  dilberoglue
Staurus or Stavros Dilberoglue (1811-1878), merchant, of Cavafy and Co. [more].

13.  copie
He had commissioned a copy after Paolo Veronese, The Wedding at Cana, 1563 (z7), 1865 (H. Fantin-Latour, Copy after The Wedding at Cana, by Paolo Veronese, 1865 (FL.263) (z110)).

14.  Venus
H. Fantin-Latour, Tannhauser: Venusberg (FL.233) (z109) (1864, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, F.233) was exhibited at the 82nd exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1864, cat. no. 678, as 'Scène de Tannhauser', and bought by A. Ionides. Dilberoglue was also interested in buying a version of the subject (see Druick, Douglas and Michel Hoog, Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1982, cat. no. 50).

15.  ma mère
Hélène Fantin-Latour (d. 1867), née de Naidenhoff, adopted daughter of Countess Zoloff [more].

16.  Spartali
Michael Spartali (1819-1914), Greek consul in London [more]; JW was befriended by him and his wife, Euphrosyne Spartali (ca 1835 - d.1913), née Varsanie [more]. In 1866 Fantin-Latour received his first major commission from within the Greek community in London, when Spartali commissioned four still-lifes. Having fallen out with JW and Fantin, Alphonse Legros persuaded Spartali that the still-lifes were all alike. When the four works arrived, Spartali accepted and paid for only two of them. One of these is H. Fantin-Latour, Fleurs de printemps, pommes et poires (FL.288) (z120) (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; F.288 as 'Nature morte'). Fantin offered to replace the two rejected still-lifes but this offer was not accepted, nor was he paid until Dilberoglue bought the two rejected works (see letters from E. Edwards to Fantin-Latour, March and May 1867, and Fantin-Latour to Edwards, 25 June 1867, cited in Druick, op. cit., cat. no. 36).

17.  Lucas Ionides
Lucas ('Luke') Alexander Ionides (1837-1924), stockbroker and businessman [more].