The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Art and Art Critics
Record 23 of 35

System Number: 09181
Date: [15 January 1879][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD
Document Type: ALS[3]

Dear Lucas -

The first letter[4] turned up all right - and the machinery of the whole affair seems now to be working smoothly enough - thanks to the trouble I give and you so kindly take -

The pamphlet[5] is in its fifth edition! .

The critics are simply mad! -

Tom Taylor[6] - The great gun of the Times - whom I describe you will remember as "Tough old Tom, the busy City Buss" ...... [dots x 6], and again refer to as "He of the Times .... I have drawn into a correspondence[7]!! and really left dead [p. 2] on the field! - Get this weeks "World" - they sell it in Paris - or I will send it to you - You will see the correspondence in full -

I have thrashed the whole lot my dear Lucas and the victory is most complete -

Hurrah! for our side -

more soon
With kindest regards
Always Yours

[butterfly signature]

I hope the rheumatism is off & away -

This document is protected by copyright.


Mons. George Lucas
41 Rue de l'Arc de Triomphe
Barriére de l'Etoile
[postmark:] LONDON SW / 2 / DE 30 / 78


1.  [15 January 1879]
Dated from date that correspondence between JW and Tom Taylor was published in the World (see below).

2.  George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

3.  ALS
Letter inserted in a copy of Thompson, Sir Henry, A Catalogue of Blue and White Nankin Porcelain Forming the Collection of Sir Henry Thompson. Illustrated ... from Drawings by James Whistler ... and Sir Henry Thompson, London, 1878.

4.  first letter
This was probably the letter mentioned by Lucas in his diary, 12 January 1879, 'Rec'd letter from Whistler enclosing one to return' and 14 January 1879, 'Mailed letter rec'd today (Whistler affair) Mailed to Whistler with envelope.' (See Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 468, This episode relates to Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more]). In January 1879, JW was in serious financial trouble in the aftermath of his libel suit against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. Although JW won the case on 26 November 1878, he was awarded only derisory damages of a farthing; he had to pay his own costs. As a result, he spent the early months of 1879 desperately staving off his creditors until he was declared bankrupt on 9 May 1879 (see petition for bankruptcy proceedings, #08895). Maud Franklin, on the other hand, was pregnant and her daughter was born on 13 February 1879. In the circumstances, JW behaved badly, leaving her in a London hotel and pretending that he was in Paris. Lucas agreed to send his letters to her from Paris, completing the deception.

5.  pamphlet
Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878.

6.  Tom Taylor
Thomas ('Tom') Taylor (1817-1880), civil servant, dramatist, art critic, and editor of Punch from 1874-1880 [more].

7.  correspondence
See correspondence between JW and Taylor, 6-10 January 1879, published in Whistler, James McNeill, [Correspondence Between Tom Taylor, Art Critic of the Times and Whistler], The World: A Journal for Men and Women, 15 January 1879. See also Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 35-39 and letters, #05660, #05661, #05662, #05663, #05664.