The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Album, see portfolio
Record 20 of 26

System Number: 08278
Date: [12 February 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: David Croal Thomson[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac -

There is a hopeless fatality about it - but you will always get hold of the wrong end of the stick!

Who, my dear Mr Thomson, wished for a moment that you should go further in "support of M. Reveillon" at the sale[4]!! -

It is the picture itself you should have supported, and even now you must admit that your "House" is more damnable than the Church of Ephesus[5]! - Fancy going to a public sale at all[6] - with less than 200 in your pocket, and letting a country dealer carry off the last Whistler in the market under your very nose at what you say yourself is an amazing bargain, & this just after the £1400. business of Potter[7]! - Well I really have no [p. 2] use for the Boussod Valadon people anyhow - After all they know their own business - of course - & their business is "quite other" -

I wish I could have gone into the thing myself - and I really did think that you would have told me exactly what your intentions were - & that I should have had time to manage something - As to the Reveillons, I am glad that they got nothing[8] and lost their better chance -

I hear from Mr Way[9] that the new drawing[10] is most delicate & beautiful! I shall send you 3 proofs - and if you let me judge for you I will see whether it is not the right thing for your Art Journal -

I wish you would send me any cheque you have for me - This is in your private ear! - but my account at the moment is getting apallingly low! and everybody is curiously behindhand with what they ought to be paying me. About the "Album"[11], I only meant that if you had another batch for me to sign I could do it now in the evenings, if the Boussods would let you send me the cheque[12] at once -

Very sincerely

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


D. C. Thomson Esqr
Dartmouth Tower
Highgate -
[postmark:] PARIS-20 / 185.BD ST GERMAIN / IE 12 / FEVR / 94
[postmark on verso:] LONDO[N. S.W.] / AA / FE 13 / 94


1.  12 February 1894
Dated from the postmark.

2.  David Croal Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

3.  ALS
'62B' is written in an unknown hand in red ink at top left, and '87' in pencil at bottom right of p. 1, and the same on the envelope.

4.  sale
JW is referring to Thomson's letter of 10 February 1894, #05802, where he describes the auction of Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room (YMSM 34) at Christie's, London on 10 February 1894 (lot 69). This was sold by Julia de Kay Revillon (1855-1930), née Whistler, JW's niece [more], and bought by 'Collin' or 'Collard' for £199.10.0, although Thomson states that it was bought by William Paterson, Glasgow art dealer.

5.  Church of Ephesus
JW is comparing Thomson's business at the Goupil Gallery to the Ephesians' worship of false idols in Acts 19.35.

6.  at all
Double underlined.

7.  Potter
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more], had sold Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52) and Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights (YMSM 115) in 1893 for £1400 to Arthur ('Peter') Haythorne Studd (1863-1919), painter and collector [more]. Potter had originally purchased Symphony in White, No. 2 for less than £150 and JW's indignation is expressed in a letter to E. G. Kennedy, 4 February 1894, #09715.

8.  they got nothing
Thomson wrote that Madame Reveillon's 'lowest price was always 500 guineas & she would not hear of any reduction', yet she received only £200 for Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room (YMSM 34), by putting it up for sale against advice, 10 February 1894, #05802.

9.  Mr Way
Thomas Way (1837-1915), lithographic printer [more], see JW's letter to T. R. Way, [9 February 1894], #03365.

10.  the new drawing
Nursemaids: 'Les Bonnes du Luxembourg' (C.81), published in The Art Journal, vol. 46, no. 120, December 1894; see #03365.

11.  the Album
A selection of photographs of oil paintings, mostly those exhibited at Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892.

12.  send me the cheque
The remainder of the text is written up the left margin of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.