The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Document associated with: 116th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1901
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 07331
Date: 23 June 1901
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: Paris and Aix-les-Bains
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1319
Document Type: ALS

[Engraving of hotel]

TÉLÉPHONE NOS { 127.55 { 127.57


LE 23 Juin 1901

To the "Cher maitre" at London, though why he remains in perfidious Albion, Heaven Knows, when Paris exists.


You really must come over! There is a fine lot of old masters at Sedelmeyer's[2] gallery, and I have asked them to show you a portrait by Rubens[3], if it should be removed from the gallery when you come, as come you must.

While not wishing to meddle in your affairs, you really should have been here long ago.

However, the Rubens is one of [p. 2] the most remarkable paintings that I have ever seen, and goes to the limit to justify Rubens's reputation as a painter[4].

It is superb, & I am sure that you will say so.

Tintoret[5], Titian[6], [Luini[7]?] - charming head - & many first Class examples of the French School, make a notable exhibition. But the Rubens portrait!

Come over - at any rate by the time I get back.

Besides it's warm here - but I suppose it's the same now in stodgy London.

I've been through the old Salon and I'm sure if you go there that you will agree with me in (p. 3) saying that Burlington House[8] in it's worst moments could not show thing's so puerile - in fact, vile.

There is one full-length portrait of a man - very fine, No: 585 by Dechenaud[9] and a half dozen or so of landscapes, to redeem the dreariness of this, the best being by Harpignies[10].

I am going to the other salon tomorrow, and will write a little babble about that.



There may be more respectable pictures in the New Salon, but the freaks predominate. Abbey[11] brushed clothes with me, tearing along looking for the place where his Boston picture was hung. Mrs. Abbey[12] [p. 4] after him, looking hot, worried and anxious. I did not stop them to inquire if they saw me.

Bernheimer[13] (or whatever his name is) has no Whistler's "à ce moment[14]".

I told a friend of mine who is au courant with things, to keep a look-out & let me know if anything turned up.

The doctor here told me that I had rheumatic-gout, so I am booked for twenty baths and some sulphur water to drink (not much inside). I am also booked for twenty odd days of my own society, [p. 5][15] a prospect which makes me somewhat melancholy. I am not used to it.

Most charming place, beautiful scenery, a lake, no end of running water (except in the houses), and a rather jolly hotel de Ville, and museum[16]! One of those places where the benificent French Government sends some of the atrocities [p. 6] they buy from time to time. There are really some extraordinarily bad pictures in it.

I hope, at the end of my punishment here to go to Honfleur - to the Ferme de S. Simeon for a week. The doctor says; "you are too thin-skinned, don't worry about anything" & so on, & so on. I told him that I certainly wouldn't if I could help it. So there you are! This is my only letter as I am to learn to be idle - a hard task for me

[p. 7] I trust that you are having good weather & a good time, and that the inmate of my room is less noisy than Yours Ever,

O'K -

May I ask you to remember me to Miss Phillip[17] & Mrs. Whibley[18]?

[p. 8] I enclose two critiques by old West-Pointers[19].

This document is protected by copyright.


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

2.  Sedelmeyer's
This was one in a series of important exhibitions run by Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris art dealer (Sedelmeyer, C., Catalogue de 100 peintures, Paris, 1901).

3.  Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), painter [more].

4.  painter
Double underlined.

5.  Tintoret
Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) (1519-1594), Venetian painter [more].

6.  Titian
Tiziano ('Titian') Vecello or Vecellio (1485-1576), painter and engraver [more].

7.  Luini
A. Lumi, 16th century artist.

8.  Burlington House
The Royal Academy.

9.  Dechenaud
Adolphe Déchenaud (1868-1929), painter, won a first class medal at the 116th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1901.

10.  Harpignies
Henri-Joseph Harpignies (1819-1916), painter [more].

11.  Abbey
Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911), painter and illustrator [more]. Abbey painted 15 panels featuring 150 life-sized figures illustrating the Arthurian legend of the Quest for the Holy Grail. These now decorate the Abbey Room on the second floor of the McKim building in Boston Public Library.

12.  Mrs. Abbey
Mary Gertrude Abbey (d. 1931), née Meade [more].

13.  Bernheimer
Alexandre Bernheim (1839-1915), Paris art dealer [more].

14.  à ce moment
Fr., at this moment.

15.  [p. 5]

16.  museum
Pictures bought at the Salon by the French government were hung in the Musée du Luxembourg for a while. After their best buy date, they were often sent to provincial museums like the Musée at Aix-les-Bains.

17.  Miss Phillip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

18.  Mrs. Whibley
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

19.  critiques by old West-Pointers
Morris, Fritz, 'Famous West Pointers as Draughtsmen,' Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly,1900, pp. 521-36. Morris was probably a journalist, rather than a West Point graduate.