The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: poetry
Record 15 of 59

System Number: 04092
Date: [20 January / February 1889][1]
Author: Claude Monet[2]
Place: Giverny
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M362
Document Type: ALS

Giverny[3] par Vernon

Mon cher Whistler

J'etais justement à Paris lorsque votre seconde lettre[4] est arrivée à Giverny, je la trouve seulement en rentrant, cela vous expliquera pourquoi j'ai un peu tardé à vous repondre.

Je me suis en effet fort amusé à la lecture du (desastre d'oldham[5]) et bien que me figurant ce que cela a pu être, j'aurais aimé à être le [p. 2] témoin de la chose. Bien certainement cela s'est su à Paris, dans le monde des artistes, mais les journaux n'en ont pas parlé; cela sans doute à cause du sieur Boulanger[6] qui occupe toutes les conversations et tous les journaux. Je n'ai donc rien à vous dire de particulier ayant trait à ce qui vous interesse.

Je suis pour voir Degas[7] sans le rencontrer, mais Mallarmé[8] que j'ai vu plusieurs fois s'est bien amusé en lisant les articles [p. 3] en question; il en avait du reste entendu parler deja.

Mirbeau[9] lui est toujours absent de Paris il est dans le midi jusqu'en Mai à cette époque vous viendrez sans doute aussi à Paris et nous pourrons de nouveau nous réunir quelque fois. J'allais oublier de vous dire que Mallarmé à qui j'ai fait votre comission sera très heureux que vous lui écriviez. il a eu cet hiver un certain succès avec une traduction des poèmes [p. 4] d'edgar Poe[10].

Excusez-moi mon cher ami de ne pas vous donner de nouvelles concernant votre dernier scalp ne vous en prenez qu'au Brave général et non à moi, mais si j'apprends quelque chose je vous l'écrirai de suite, de votre coté pensez aussi à m'ecrire.

mes respectueux hommages à Madame Whistler[11]
à vous d'amitié

Claude Monet

Voici l'adresse de Mirbeau
Casa Carola
Alpes Maritimes.

This document is protected by copyright.


My dear Whistler

I had just arrived in Paris when your second letter arrived in Giverny, I have found it only on my return, that will explain why I am a little late in replying.

I was in fact very amused when I read about the (Oldham disaster) and although realising what might have happened, I would have like to have [p. 2] witnessed the event. Certainly it is known in Paris, in the artistic world, but the newspapers have not mentioned it; doubtless because of the honourable Boulanger who is the subject of all conversations and all newspapers. I have therefore nothing in particular to tell you which might interest you.

I am in favour of seeing Degas without having met him, but Mallarmé whom I have seen several times was very amused on reading the articles [p. 3] in question; he had in any case already heard about it.

Mirbeau is still absent from Paris he is in the south until May at that time you will of course also be coming to Paris and we can meet again sometimes. I almost forgot to tell you that Mallarmé to whom I have delivered your message will be very happy for you to write to him, he has had a certain success this winter with a translation of [p. 4] Edgar Poe's poems.

Forgive me my dear friend for not having given you news concerning your latest scalp blame the Gallant general and not me, but if I hear anything I shall write to you at once, for your part think about writing to me.

My respectful regards to Mrs Whistler
Best wishes to you

Claude Monet

Here is Mirbeau's address
Casa Carola
Alpes Maritimes.


1.  [20 January / February 1889]
Dated from references to William Stott of Oldham (see note below).

2.  Claude Monet
Claude Monet (1840-1926), artist [more].

3.  seconde lettre
Not located.

4.  Giverny
Monet's country retreat.

5.  desastre d'oldham
A reference to William Stott of Oldham (1857-1900), genre and landscape painter [more]. On 3 January 1889, JW quarrelled with Stott at the Hogarth Club over Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more], whom he had left for Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. JW sent a letter of apology to the Club and a copy of it to the Indépendance Belge where it appeared on 10 January (#02142, dated 4 January 1889). The incident was picked up by the British and American papers and the text of the letter widely circulated. Unfortunately, in the process of translation the meaning of the original was slightly altered, to JW's annoyance. By the time JW's original text was published in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News on 16 February, Stott's reply and other correspondence had been published (Stott wrote his own account of the incident to the New York Herald which appeared on 19 January).

6.  Boulanger
In June 1888, General Georges Boulanger, French Minister of War and army reformer, called for the revision of the constitution and resignation of the government. His calls were rejected and he resigned. When Boulanger was returned as deputy for Paris in January 1889, crowds urged him to march on the Presidential Palace but he declined. On 1 April, he fled to Belgium. However his brief reign of popularity made him a significant threat to the Third Republic.

7.  Degas
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834-1917), artist [more].

8.  Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more]. JW had sent Mallarmé a press-cutting concerning the Stott quarrel on 7 January (#03784).

9.  Mirbeau
Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917), novelist, art critic and amateur painter [more].

10.  poèmes d'edgar Poe
In early January 1889, Mallarmé sent JW a copy of Poèmes d'Edgar Poe, Paris, 1888.

11.  Madame Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. The Whistlers married on 11 August 1888.