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The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: colour, yellow
Record 1 of 16

System Number: 08030
Date: [21/28 October 1862] [1]
Author: JW
Place: St Jean de Luz[2]
Recipient: Henri Fantin-Latour[3]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/33/8
Document Type: ALS[4]


Hotel de Madrid
St. Jean de Luz
chez Mme Veuve Salambéhère
Departement Basses Pyrenées

Voila mon cher Fantin l'adresse enfin trouvée - Maintenant sois assez gentil pour aller immediatement chez Hardy[5] faire partir de suite les deux toiles[6] en question, aussi achetes pour moi, ou fait lui acheter 3 petites planches de cuivre, dont une grande comme cette première page, et les deux autres moitié grands - fais les clouer au couvercle de la boite pour que ça ne danse pas a travers les toiles; aussi une boule de vernis, pour vernir les planches, - et un petit ét[au?] main tu demandras ca a Delatre[7], ou a Alphonse[8]. Dis a Hardy aussi qu'il me faut deux tubes du beau vermillion!! 2. Jaune Citron, et puis n'y a-t-il pas de jaune Garance? il doit avoir Garance jaune, ou jaune de Maro - Deux tubes de chaque s'il y en a - Alors tout ca dans la caisse, bien emballes [p. 2] et adressé bien lisiblement en grandes lettres comme audessus - et envoyé par grande Vitesse -

Ah mon cher Fantin un pay splendide seulement pour le moment il pleut pas mal. - La mer est a peindre par tout - Mais plus difficile a vivre qu'en Bretagne - Hier nous avons été en Espagne! oui mon [cher] en Espagne! - Au plus ravissant petit bijou de ville ou village qu'on puisse s'imaginer Fontarabie[9], en est son nom - Mais - il y a dans ce pays trop de mais - mais impossible d'y rester deux jours sans parler Espagnol, ou basque! - C'était la chose la plus inoui de voir le changement entier de moeurs, de figures, de maisons, de tout en traversant seulement une petite rivière la Bidassoa, une affaire de vingt minutes! A Behobie on est encore en France, et à Fontarabie on est tout à fait en Espagne! les maisons couvertes de balcons! et les balcons verts commes dans les mauvais tableaux remplis de jolies filles brunes, absorbants du chocolat toute la journée - Des Espagnols de l'Opera Comique dans la rue, et bien d'autres qui ont l'air nature en berré [p. 3] et blouse rouge - et des enfants ca en grouille, sauvages et ressemblant à des petits turcs! personne ne comprenant un seul mot de francais, et tous s'en foutant pas mal! - Eh bien dans tout ce ci crois tu! nous avons trouvé le peintre Collin[10]! ami d'Emile Vernier[11] - Tu le connais, et tu as un de ces oeuvres. dis moi dans ta reponse ce que tu en penses. Il y a eu de lui, il parait aux Boulevards une intérieure basque[12] avec trois vielles femme [sic] en train de coudre - Il a été charmant avec nous, et m'a donné toutes sortes de renseignements decourageants! Il m'a dit que pour arriver a se faire tolerer dans le pays Espagnol, ou plutot Basque, il lui a fallu plusieurs ans de perseverance - que vouloir faire poser un naturel serait de ma part une absurdité - - etc .. - Lui meme, seulement depuis son marriage avec une femme Basque, fort jolie ma fois, a-t-il pu marcher un peu - Enfin je verrai - je tacherai de faire poser la mère - et du reste Collin peutêtre veut-il un peu garder le terrain pour lequel il s'est [p. 4] tant donné de peine, pour lui seul - En attendant il est tout de meme assez evident que si je parviens a faire une eauforte de Fontarabie, ca serait bien le tout a esperer. -

Adieu mon vieux

Envoie tout tout de suite et ecris moi une lettre immediatement, et dis moi la dedans tout ce que tu sais de Collin - Et-il un de nous autres?

ton ami devoue

Jimmie Whistler -

Encore une fois l'adresse -
Hotel de Madrid
St. Jean de Luz
Chez Mme Vve Salambéhère
Departement des Basses Pyrenées


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Here, my dear Fantin, is the address found at last - Now will you be nice enough to go straight to Hardy's and have him send right away the two canvasses in question; also buy for me, or have him buy 3 small sheets of copper, one as big as this first page, and the two others half as big - Have him nail them to the cover of the box so that they don't dance through the canvasses, also a ball of varnish for varnishing plates, - and a little hand vice, but you will ask for that from Delâtre or from Alphonse. Tell Hardy that I also need two tubes of beautiful vermilion!! 2 Lemon Yellow, and also, is there not some Madder-Root Yellow? He ought to have Madder-Root Yellow, or Màro Yellow. Two tubes of each if he has it - So, all that in the case, well wrapped [p. 2] and addressed legibly in big letters as shown above - and sent by speedy delivery.

Ah my dear Fantin, a splendid country, except that right now it's raining heavily! You can paint the sea anywhere. But it's more difficult to live here than in Brittany. Yesterday we went to Spain! - Yes, my [friend] in Spain! The most ravishing little jewel of a town or village that you can imagine - named Fontarabie. But - there are too many "buts" in this country - but impossible to stay there for two days without speaking Spanish, or Basque! - It was the most incredible thing to see the entire change of customs, faces, houses, everything, just by crossing a little river, the Bidassoa, a matter of only twenty minutes! At Behobie, you are still in France, and at Fontarabie, you are completely in Spain! Houses covered with balconies! green balconies, like those in bad paintings, filled with pretty dark-haired women, drinking chocolate all day long - Spaniards from the Opera Comique in the streets and many others who look real in berets and red shirts - and the children! It's teeming with them, savage and looking like little turks! No one understands a single word of French, and no one gives a damn! - Well, in the midst of all this, guess what? We found the painter Collin! Emile Vernier's friend - You know him, and you have one of his works. Tell me in your reply what you think of it. There was one of his works, it seems, on the Boulevards, a Basque interior with three old women, sewing - He was very nice to us and gave me all kinds of discouraging information! He told me that before he was able to get the people in this Spanish, or rather Basque, country to accept him, it took several years of perseverance - and that it would be absurd of me to try to get a native to pose for me - etc. Even for him, he didn't get anywhere with them until he married a Basque woman, very pretty, my goodness - Well, I shall see - I will try and get the mother to pose for me, and besides, Collin will probably want to keep the territory which he has taken such trouble over to himself - Meanwhile, its evident all the same that if I manage to produce one etching of Fontarabie, that is all that can be hoped for. -

Farewell, my old friend -

Send me everything right away and write me a letter immediately, and in it tell me what you know about Collin - Is he one of us?

Your devoted friend

Jimmy Whistler

Here's the address again
Hotel de Madrid
St. Jean de Luz
at Mme Vve Salambéhère's
Département des Basses Pyrenées


Notes:

1.  [21/28 October 1862]
This is one of a series of letters between JW and Fantin-Latour in October and November 1862, but one or more from Fantin may be missing from the exchange (see #07951, #01075, #08028, #08029). JW wrote to George Lucas on 18 October to order frames for two canvasses (#09187), and if the reference here is to the same canvasses, this letter could, however, date from before then.

2.  St Jean de Luz
St Jean de Luz is some two miles south of Guéthary, where JW and Joanna Hiffernan were staying for much of October and November.

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

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

5.  Hardy
P. Hardy (later Hardy-Alan), colour merchant in Paris from 1860-1903 [more].

6.  toiles
JW seems to have ordered these canvasses in a letter that is now missing.

7.  Delatre
Auguste Delâtre (1822-1907), printer [more].

8.  Alphonse
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more].

9.  Fontarabie
Fuenterrabia.

10.  Collin
Gustave-Henri Colin (1828-1910), landscape painter [more].

11.  Vernier
Émile-Louis Vernier (1829-1887), né Lons-le-Saulnier, painter and print-maker [more].

12.  intérieure basque
Gustave Colin went to Paris in 1850 to study law but became a painter in 1853. He made his debut at the Salon of 1857. His painting Partie de paume sous les murs de Fontarabie was rejected by the Salon and exhibited at the Salon des Refusés in 1863. He became very popular with the public and critics and exhibited regularly at the Salon from 1867 to 1888, showing mainly landscapes painted in the Pyrénées.