The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877
Record 115 of 119

System Number: 09221
Date: [11/31 January 1879][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 25 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS

The White House
Chelsea Embankment.

Dear Lucas -

I did not 'kick him'[3] because he is an old man - but an old viper all the same - and he has had it hot! The pamphlet[4] was only out on Thursday last week and is in its Third Edition !!! - I must send some of the papers - [p. 2] They are all furious!

You must make every body you meet send for the pamphlet - Chatto & Windus[5],
Piccadilly -

The letter enclosed[6] to me came all right yesterday and many thanks - Now I enclose one to be posted as it is to its address. I have not heard whether the first one ever reached its destination.

Ever yours,

J McN. Whistler

I am so sorry about the rheumatism - you know I can sympathize -
Mes compliments à Madame[7]
Young Avery[8] turned up here yesterday.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [11/31 January 1879]
Dated from reference to JW's pamphlet Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878 and his reference to Maud Franklin (see notes below) in JW to G. A. Lucas, #09198.

2.  George Aloysius Lucas
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more].

3.  I did not 'kick him'
This relates to JW's recently won libel suit against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. The suit was in response to Ruskin's criticism of JW's works, especially Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170) in his periodical Fors Clavigera. On July 2 1877, he accused JW of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' in a review of 1st Summer Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1877. See Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213. The trial took place at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878.

4.  pamphlet
On 24 December, JW published a bitter pamphlet, satirising London art critics and setting out his case in the trial of Whistler v. Ruskin. See Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878.

5.  Chatto & Windus
Publishers of Whistler, James McNeill, Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics, London, 1878.

6.   letter enclosed
A reference to a rather sordid episode between JW and Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more]. The trial of Whistler v. Ruskin left him in serious financial trouble. Although JW won the case, he was awarded only derisory damages of a farthing: he had to pay his own costs. As a result, he spent the early months of 1879 desperately staving off his creditors until a petition was filed for his bankruptcy on 9 May (see #08895). Maud Franklin, on the other hand, was pregnant. Maud McNeill Whistler Franklin (b. 1879), daughter of JW and Maud Franklin [more] was born on 13 February 1879. In the circumstances, JW behaved disgracefully, leaving her in a London hotel and pretending to her (with the collusion of Lucas) that he was in Paris. See also JW to G. A. Lucas, #09196; #09197; #09198.

7.  Madame
Octavie Josephine de Macedo-Carvalho (1833-1909), née Marchand, probable mistress of George A. Lucas [more].

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