The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: colour, yellow
Record 10 of 16

System Number: 07849
Date: [8 August 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Joseph Pennell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 272/9/8
Document Type: ALS

110 Rue du Bac - Paris


Very nice of Mrs Pennell[3] and yourself my dear Joseph to send us your congratulations -

Now do write us a line and tell us any further news - What do you hear of all this at the Hogarth[4] or elsewhere? -

The Baronet[5] having to pay my costs as well as his own is pretty good isn't it? -

Of course you saw the [p. 2] account of Master Tadema's[6] harangue before the youthful teachers at South Kensington -

I have only just now had the report - Doubtless you have written something - If so send it to me - and meanwhile look out for the Pall Mall[7] - either tomorrow or the next day - and be mum until you read! -

Did you ever hear of such gratuitous impertinence - not to say insolence - both malevolent and foolish -

"Cheers and laughter" - Go it! I [p. 3] suppose he thought I was safe game now that there is the Channel between us -

Tell us how you like my letter -

What in Heavens name did the Baronet do in the Yellow Book[8]? What toadies they all are to be sure! -

When are you coming? -

With kindest messages
from us both[9], Always

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [8 August 1895]
Dated from the almanac and the reference to Alma Tadema (see below).

2.  Joseph Pennell
Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more].

3.  Mrs Pennell
Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936), née Robins, JW's biographer [more].

4.  Hogarth
The Hogarth Club, a gentleman's club for artists: it was absorbed by the Arts Club in 1896.

5.  The Baronet
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more]. JW's dispute with Eden over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408) started on 14 February 1894, when, with the picture seemingly nearing completion, Eden sent JW a 'Valentine', a cheque for 100 guineas. JW thought this inadequate, and claimed that the work was incomplete and he was dissatisfied with it. He refused to hand over the portrait, on the grounds that it was the artist's right to withhold a picture in such circumstances. When Eden instituted legal proceedings in November 1894 in order to retrieve the portrait, JW returned all monies that had been paid to him. The Eden v. Whistler trial opened at the Civil Tribunal on 6 March 1895. The verdict on 13 March went against JW, who appealed to the Cour de Cassation who gave the verdict in JW's favour in August 1895. Eden then appealed and the case dragged on for years. It was decided in JW's favour on 2 December 1897, and finally settled in 1900, again, in JW's favour. For JW's account of the affair see Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

6.  Master Tadema's
Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), painter [more]. In a lecture to the students at the National Art Training Schools, South Kensington, 25 July 1895, Alma-Tadema had contended that an artist must know what he paints; he must know botany for trees, geology for marble - the originals in nature. In a sly aside, he suggested that JW's paintings must have been affected when he painted his dining-room yellow, for Tadema's own paintings had been affected when his studio walls were painted first red, then green ('Mr. Alma Tadema on Art Training', The Times, 26 July 1895, p. 8, col. f).

7.  Pall Mall
JW's letter to H. J. C. Cust, 7 August [1895], #10852, was published as : Whistler, James McNeill, 'L'Influence du Jaune dans les Arts,' The Pall Mall Gazette, no. 9477, vol. 61, 9 August 1895, p. 2; see also Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B.89.

8.  Yellow Book
The Yellow Book was a shortlived literary and artistic quarterly. The first issue had appeared in April 1894. Eden's painting The Screen, was reproduced in The Yellow Book, vol. 6, July 1895, p. 185.

9.  both
JW and Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].