UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: finance, bankruptcy (JW)
Record 8 of 262

System Number: 10628
Date: [c. 7 July 1873][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Samuel Putnam Avery[2]
Place: [Paris?]
Repository: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Call Number: Library and Archives, NYMA 87-AO. MS6-MS10
Document Type: ALS


2 Lindsey Houses -
Chelsea -

My dear Mr Avery -

By this time it is doubtless quite clear to you that writing is "not my forte" or I would have answered your very pleasant letter long ago - especially as it involves matters of such interest to me as the Japanese book[3] which I am to be presented with - But do you know I want it at once! - When a gift is made to me I like it to be in my possession immediately! - and my horror [p. 2] when, after the Mondays post brought it not, I found at the United Hotel that you had gone without leaving my book!

You can fancy my long face when the porter assured me there really was no parcel with Mr. Averys kindest regards for me! - Now when am I to have it? -      The house has gone on perfecting itself as you will see on your return - and out of it I shall soon have on the easel two or three cabinet pictures[4] - One is already on the stocks and promises to be very brilliant - It is bought [p. 3] by Louis Huth[5] - and perhaps you might have a go in for the others yourself - But then you dont pay my prices - Why you should not though I cant understand - for they tell me that they are asking for my works in America - and they cannot be expected there at a lower rate than in London.

I have a proof of "the Man"[6] for you and shall get one of the large Annie Haden[7] - But since you left there has been a sale of several proofs of mine at Sothebys[8] Auction rooms - and these were the prices =

 

"The Fidler [9][sic]" - 2. 17. 0
"The Pool[10]" ..... 1. 16. 0
"Thames Police[11]" .... 1. 17. 0
Wapping Wharf[12] ..... 2. 2. 0
Chelsea Church[13] .... 1. 13. 0
Old Westminster bridge[14] .. Houses of Parliament 2. 2. 0.

 

[p. 4]

 

"The Little Pool[15]" ... 1. 15. 0 -
"The forge[16]", dry point . - 3. 10. 0 -

 

All were bought by Colnaghi[17], for selling again of course - except the Forge, which was bought by Ralph Thomas[18] - So you see even at an auction the prices these proofs fetch and you cannot expect me to let you have them at lower rates - Besides of course you can ask them as well in America as in London - Now I got £10. 10. 0 for the large Annie Haden - and as it is a very rare and fine dry point - I dont doubt you could get 12 of [sic] 15 - gs for it because of course your opportunities for doing so are greater than mine - If you will take two or three of them you shall have them at 7. guineas apiece -

I have three proofs of the Man - besides the one in the frame that I cannot yet find - They are the only ones the plate will give of fine quality in that state [p. 5] you shall have them all for 10. guineas -

Böehm[19] the sculptor was to make an arrangement about sending proofs of the bust[20] he has done of me, to America - I told him he could man[age] it with you - Terra cotta copies to be sold at so much and the percentage for com[mission] of course deducted -

How is George Lucas[21]? - he [n]ever writes me a line. -

The etchings at Hardys[22] - would greatly like to have back and must pay my forgotten bill there - But I cannot sell them yet - One or two of them [p. 6] are not mine - but borrowed.

Let me have a line from you on your return -

If you would not find it abusing your kindness and the affair too much trouble - it would be most agreeable to me if you were to pay the bill at Hardys and bring the etchings back with you frames and all -

For this purpose I enclose a line[23] to Mons. Hardy - and am

Very Faithfully Yours

J A McN Whistler

[butterfly signature]


This document is protected by copyright.


Notes:

1.  [c. 7 July 1873]
Dated by reference to a letter written by JW to Hardy-Alan dated 7 July 1873 (#10042).

2.  Samuel Putnam Avery
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), print-publisher, collector and philanthropist [more].

3.  Japanese book
JW's bankruptcy sale at Sotheby's, London, 12 February 1880 (lot 74) included 'Eighteen Japanese Picture Books ...' One such book, of wood-cut emblems, remained in JW's collection and came to the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow.

4.  two or three cabinet pictures
Possibly Violet Girl (YMSM 102), Variations in Violet and Green (YMSM 104) and Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea (YMSM 105) (see below).

5.  Louis Huth
Louis Huth (1821-1905), collector [more]. In 1873 Huth was interested in buying a painting, possibly Venus Rising from the Sea (YMSM 93), and bought Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea (YMSM 105), and also received a portrait he had commissioned, Arrangement in Black, No. 2: Portrait of Mrs Louis Huth (YMSM 125); see JW's letter to Huth, 31 January 1873, and reply, 1 February 1873, #02242, #02243)

6.  the Man
Possibly Mr.Mann (K.63).

7.  large Annie Haden
Annie Haden (K.62).

8.  Sothebys
Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, auctioneers.

9.  The Fidler
Becquet (K.52) was published as 'The Fiddler' in A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, 1871 (the 'Thames Set') (K.38-44, 46, 52, 66, 68, 71, 74-76, 95) (excat 4).

10.  The Pool
The Pool (K.43).

11.  Thames Police
Thames Police (K.44).

12.  Wapping Wharf
Probably Little Wapping (K.73).

13.  Chelsea Church
Chelsea Bridge and Church (K.95).

14.  Old Westminster bridge
Old Westminster Bridge (K.39).

15.  The Little Pool
The Little Pool (K.74).

16.  The forge
The Forge (K.68).

17.  Colnaghi
P. and D. Colnaghi and Co., print dealers and publishers.

18.  Ralph Thomas
Ralph Thomas, Jr (b. 1840/1841), author of the first catalogue of JW's etchings, partner of J. A. Rose, JW's solicitor [more].

19.  Böehm
Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890), sculptor [more].

20.  bust
The original bust, executed in plaster in 1872, was acquired by Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), Marchioness of Lorne, sculptress [more]. JW's bankruptcy sale at Sotheby's, 12 February 1880 (lot 85) included 'A terra cotta Bust of J. A. McN. Whistler, Esq., by Boehm, 1872', bought for 6 gns. by Thomas Way. This bust, 67.9 cm high, is now in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington. A smaller terra-cotta bust dated 1875 is in the Toledo Museum of Art. See Gallatin, Albert Eugene, The Portraits and Caricatures of James McNeill Whistler: An Iconography, London, New York and Toronto, 1913, cat. no. 142; Denker, Eric, In Pursuit of the Butterfly, Seattle, 1995, pp. 67, repr. p. 168, n. 4.

21.  George Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more], who visited JW in London on 22 June, and again in July, writing in his diary on 22 July 1873, 'to Whistler bought etchings' (Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, vol. 2, p. 187).

22.  etchings at Hardys
P. Hardy (later Hardy-Alan), colour merchant in Paris from 1860-1903 [more]. Some plates were left as surety for a bill from Hardy-Alan dated 28 August 1862 (#02026). It is not clear what plates these were. The proofs and plates Twelve Etchings from Nature, 1858 (the 'French Set', K.9-11, 13-17, 19, 21, 22, 24). (excat 3), were probably among those Francis Seymour Haden asked Delâtre to return in 1864 (see F. S. Haden to A. Delâtre, 29 June [1864], #13140). However, a number of important early French plates could have remained in Paris, such as Bibi Valentin (K.50), Bibi Lalouette (K.51), Becquet (K.52), Astruc, a literary man (K.53), Fumette, Standing (K.56), Fumette's Bent Head (K.57), Venus (K.59), Isle de la Cité, Paris (K.60), Axenfeld (K.64), and Riault, the Engraver (K.65).

23.  line
JW to Hardy-Alan, 7 July 1873 (#10042).