The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886
Record 21 of 54

System Number: 08640
Date: [1/20 April 1886][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Walter Dowdeswell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
Document Type: ALS

Walter -

It is nonsense them telling you that in the papers there would be no room in the papers [sic] for our show[3] if the Academy or Grosvenor[4] are going on - Why the Arrangement in Brown Paper & Gold is all over the place[5] already - even in the English & American papers in Paris! - I have just had one sent to me - And the papers here will be mad about it - Instead of their being [p. 2] asked to write their articles for us, we really ought charge the Critics something for letting them have the chance! - In any case you may be sure it will be the Artistic event of the season, if we dont break our necks and spoil things by undue haste - no coming upon the Public without the usual complete perfection of finish[6] which is the great characteristic of the Whistler shows -

You know that I am the last one to suggest delays, preferring far away swiftness in action - but I wish this of all shows to be an absolute triumph of perfection !

However come down to me this afternoon at 5- to 5.30. without fail -

and you will understand many things and we will work it all out once for all and settle so that matters may be put into the calm condition that is necessary to

[butterfly signature]

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1.  [1/20 April 1886]
Dated from references to JW's forthcoming exhibition (see note below).

2.  Walter Dowdeswell
Walter Dowdeswell (1858-1929), art dealer [more].

3.  our show
JW was referring to 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', Second Series, Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1886 which opened on 29 April.

4.  Academy or Grosvenor
That is, the forthcoming exhibitions of the Royal Academy and the Grosvenor Gallery, both of which opened at the beginning of May. JW seems to have been right in his assertion; it is worth noting that a review of the Royal Academy in the Sunday Times on 2 May was followed by a fulsome review of JW's exhibition.

5.  all over the place
For example, rumours of an exhibition surfaced in the Paris edition of the Morning News on 14 March.

6.  perfection of finish
The brown and gold decorative scheme and the exhibition catalogue were both designed by JW. His approach would have been well-known to his audience from previous exhibitions such as Mr Whistler's Etchings, The Fine Art Society, London, 1883.