The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, 1894
Record 10 of 23

System Number: 07233
Date: 20 May 1894
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1221
Document Type: ALS


[scroll:] H. WUNDERLICH & CO.
H W & CO.
868 B'WAY N- Y-

May 20th 1894

Dear Mr. Whistler,

After a slow passage, I arrived in London all right. The atmosphere was horribly gloomy and smoky, so that after the bright French atmosphere, my spirits sank into my boots. I have been busy since I have been here, but have seen Thompson[3], who says he will be in Paris soon, probably this week. I have seen Brown[4] who wondered if you were printing his proofs. I told him that I mentioned the matter to you & that you would print them before you went away. I hope I have not made an error in this statement. If so, I will correct it.

I thought just at this moment that if you wanted to print when I was in Paris, I might give you a day or two's help. I have seen you paint & should like to see you print. You must not think that my motive is mere curiosity. What do you think?

I hope to be in Paris the second week [p. 2] in June, but will let you know. One more standing & the portrait (O'K's)[5] will be ready for admiration. Brown read your letter in the Pall Mall[6], but I had to tell him the circumstances before he understood it. One or two outside of art circles said, Whistler had written a letter after steeping his pen in Vinegar, but they did not know what it was all about. Those whom you wish to reach however, may try & find out. The weather here is something awful - wind N. E. and blowing a gale. This after muggy weather, has "giben be a cold id the 'ead". In short, clear, but piercing East wind & cold houses! What good is a fire in the grate unless in a small room, in really cold weather? Lucky for you that you are in Paris.

I have not had a chance to see the R. A. show, nor the Grafton Gallery[7], but will do so upon the first opportunity.

I enclose the corn dodger[8] recipe for Mrs. Whistler[9]. I happened upon it in a paper. Nothing new here. Every one grumbling about slow business. Always the same old story apparently on both sides of the water. But I hope that in America [p. 3][10] we shall have a revival in the Autumn.

Also, let me call your attention once more to the fact that you have a lot of pictures in Hamburg, Antwerp, Munich[11] & goodness knows where else. Now, why not get up that exhibition for America, where things can be sold? Also why not send the portrait in pink silk of Miss Phillips[12] there, as it is brighter in colours than most of the others and would prove attractive I'm sure. Or there is one in black[13]. If we can show 20 pictures, it will do. I can see to the framing of them except the very large ones which could go in the frame without glass as it might break.

One case would carry them all probably. This is worth your while, as I pay [p. 4] carriage, insurance &c. in transit - and I'm sure business can be done. I could borrow pictures, but that would interferes with sales, as you can see.

I wish you would do this, as it really will convey far more benefit to you than to me, to whom the benefit is only indirect. I frankly confess that not only do I think that sales will result, but I personally like your pictures as I you know, besides it is an attraction, an exhibition of this kind, and I like to be connected with it, it is flattering to me. You will look at me askance and say: "Oh, come now, that's not business". It isn't indeed, far from it, but there it is!

Besides, I'm a bit combative myself, & if there are Philistines left, I like to hammer them, but, poor fellows! I fear that they are all dead or have taken to the woods.

Kindly remember me to the ladies[14] who did so much to make my visit to Paris so agreable[15], & with best regards, believe me, dear Mr. Whistler

Yours most truly,

E. G. Kennedy.

I forgot to pay[16] for two etchings but will do so when I return to Paris.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

G. Dieterlen, employee at H. Wunderlich and Co., New York.

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

4.  Brown
Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more].

5.  the portrait (O'K's)
Portrait of E. G. Kennedy (2) (YMSM 404).

6.  your letter in the Pall Mall
JW's letter entitled 'Mr. Whistler on Friendship', which began his public quarrel with George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more], was published in the Pall Mall Gazette on 13 May 1894 (#04395).

7.  R. A. show, nor the Grafton Gallery
The Royal Academy and Fair Women, Grafton Galleries, London, 1894.

8.  corn dodger
A kind of dumpling.

9.  Mrs. Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

10.  [p. 3]
The printed address header is repeated at top of p. 3 as on p. 1.

11.  Hamburg, Antwerp, Munich
JW had pictures in the Grossen Kunst-Austellung des Kunst-Vereins, Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 1894 and the Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, 1894 but not, as far as is known, in Munich.

12.  portrait in pink silk of Miss Phillips
Rose et or: La Tulipe (YMSM 418).

13.  one in black
Harmony in Black: Portrait of Miss Ethel Philip (YMSM 419).

14.  the ladies
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], and Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

15.  agreable
Either a mis-spelling, or else Kennedy is using the French word for 'pleasant', 'agréable'.

16.  I forgot to pay [...] Paris.
This is written at the top left corner of p. 1.