UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 13 of 30

System Number: 00985
Date: 29 [July] 1889[1]
Author: Théodore Duret[2]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [London?]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler D191
Document Type: ALS[3]


Paris 4 rue Vignon

29/[7?]/89.

Mon cher Whistler

Vous avez, pour la peinture, une médaille de première classe[4]. Les récompenses ne sont pas encore publiées, mais je le tiens de source sûre.

Il paraît qu'il y a, en outre, des médailles d'honneur et on me dit que Sargent[5] en obtient une, dans la section américaine. En a-t-on données à des peintres anglais, je l'ignore.

Si vous aviez [p. 2] exposé avec les américains[6], et reçu votre médaille comme peintre américain au lieu de la recevoir - comme peintre anglais, je crois qu'on eut pu facilement vous faire décorer. Sur une demande ou recommendation du commissaire américain[7], la chos [sic] eut du être facile, car en ce moment, à Paris, les américains sont on ne peut mieux vus et on fait tant pour leur être agréable.

[p. 3] Etant classé comme anglais la chose est plus difficile. Je n'ai plus mon ami Castagnary[8] aux beaux arts, qui avait pour vous une estime toute particulière, et qui vous eut appuyé de toutes ses forces.

Il nous reste - Antonin Proust[9], quoi qu'il ait excité beaucoup de haines et de jalousies dans ces [p. 4] derniers temps. Je lui écris tout spécialement pour lui dire de faire son possible en votre faveur.

Auprès des autres, ma recommendation ou intervention serait néfaste.

Enfin je vous fais personnellement mes compliments, et je félicite la médaille qui a la chance de vous être donnée,

Amitiés.

Théodore Duret


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

My dear Whistler

You have a first-class medal for your painting. The awards have not yet been published, but I have it from a reliable source.

It seems that there are, in addition, medals of honour and I have been told that Sargent has obtained one, in the American section. If they have given any to English painters, I do not know.

If you had exhibited with the Americans, and received your medal as an American painter instead of receiving it - as an English painter, I think they would easily have decorated you. On a request or a recommendation from the American commissioner it would have been a simple matter, since at the moment, in Paris, the Americans are very well regarded and people can not do too much for them.

Being classed as an Englishman the matter is more difficult. I no longer have my friend Castagnary at the fine arts, who had a particular admiration for you and would have supported you with all his might.

There remains for us - Antonin Proust, although he has recently aroused much hatred and jealousy. I am writing to him most particularly to tell him to do his best in your favour.

Amongst the others, my recommendation or intervention would be harmful.

Lastly, I send you my personal compliments, and I congratulate the medal which has had the fortune to be awarded to you.

Kind regards

Théodore Duret


Notes:

1.  29 [July] 1889
Duret's '7' (for July) is not altogether clear, but the month of July is confirmed by the reference to the medal (see below).

2.  Théodore Duret
Théodore Duret (1838-1927), art critic and collector [more].

3.  ALS
This letter was published in MacDonald, Margaret F., and Joy Newton, 'Correspondence Duret-Whistler,' Gazette des Beaux-Arts, November 1987, pp. 150-64, at p. 154.

4.  médaille de première classe
At the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889.

5.  Sargent
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), artist [more].

6.  américains
JW had withdrawn his work from the American section and sent it to the British.

7.  commissaire americain
Gen. Rush Christopher Hawkins (1831-1920), U. S. commissioner for Fine Art at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889 [more].

8.  Castagnary
Jules Antoine Castagnary (1830-1888), art critic [more].

9.  Antonin Proust
Antonin Proust (1832-1905), journalist, collector and politician [more].