The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 4th [Exhibition], Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1894
Record 16 of 35

System Number: 08265
Date: [27-28 April 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: David Croal Thomson[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 18/1523-5
Document Type: ALS[3]


110 Rue du Bac. Paris

Dear Mr Thomson -

How are things? -

I saw old Valadon[4] this morning - in answer to a note they wrote me asking to reproduce my full length portrait[5] of the Comte de Montesquiou.

I don't think I like your head of the "House"!! & in any case I am not going to let them have a vulgar reproduction from this swell picture in the midst of what I told him is the "venerable" text of Monsieur Yriate[6]! - It was for the "Figaro Salon"[7] they wanted it! - Indeed I have [p. 2] other plans - and probably you will hear of them -

Ever since the pictures have been sent in to the Champs de Mars[8] the weather has been simply devilish - blowing & raining all the while - or I might have taken a slight rest by a little light work out of doors -

Could you do anything with a pretty little panel of something like a bit of Paris? - a corner of street? - or little Luxembourg? - or something, say at £105? -

Could you place a couple of water colours of the same kind at about 80 guineas a piece - or £150 - the two? -

By the way you have that little oil painting[9] of the green field, with a sloop in the docks? - It still has on the frame the title in French: "La Shaloupe"[10] [sic] - You are not doing anything with it - and it had better come over to me again -

What has become of Grau[11]? Don't you remember Grau the framemaker? You have his address. Someone said, I think, that he had given up though.

I was thinking that if I sometime were to send two or three little panels and had not sufficient frames at the moment you could have them framed over there? -

After all though, perhaps "things" are not yet in a condition in London - I am judging from the fact that notwithstanding all the success of the sea pieces[12] at the Grafton, the price seemed to be too much - and I had only proposals that were altogether too low - ridiculous! -

Write me a line.
[p. 3] Very sincerely

J McN Whistler


Just received your letter[13] - I shall be very pleased to have a good reproduction of the portrait of the Comte in the Art Journal - But it ought to be done exactly like the one of Carlyle[14] in the P. M. Budget - Do look it up with your namesake George Thomson[15].

Who do you propose to write the text? We don't want any Wedmores or[16] Spielmans or Claude Philips - Why not write to Mr Whibley? He is staying in Paris just now, & his address is

Hotel de France et Lorraine.
Rue de Beaune.

Get him to do it -

The reproduction[17] ought to be on a full page - with plenty of white margin - This would look much better than too big a picture with less margin -[18]

[Sketch of the portrait of Montesquiou[19]] Of course this publication in the Art Journal, in no way touches the copyright.

This document is protected by copyright.


D. C. Thomson
The Goupil Galleries.
5. Regent Street.
[postmark:] PARIS 80 / R[UE] DU BAC / 5E 29 / AVRIL / 94
[postmark on verso:] LONDON. S.W. / VB / AP 30 / 94


1.  [27-28 April 1894]
Although the postmark reads '29 April 1894', JW's mention of 'Saturday' as evidently being the second day of writing this letter dates the letter to 27-28 April.

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

3.  ALS
'23C' was written in red ink at top left, and '93' in pencil at bottom right of p. 1.

4.  Valadon
L. René Valadon (1848-1921), Paris art dealer and publisher, of Boussod, Valadon et Cie [more].

5.  portrait
Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (YMSM 398), which was eventually reproduced in Anon., 'Art and Mr. Whistler,' The Art Journal, vol. 46, no. 120, December 1894, pp. 358-361.

6.  Monsieur Yriate
Charles Yriarte (1832-1898), journalist and writer on art [more].

7.  Figaro Salon
Special illustrated edition of Le Figaro.

8.  Champs de Mars
4th Exhibition, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1894.

9.  little oil painting
Green and Gold: The Sloop (YMSM 368).

10.  "La Shaloupe"
Fr., 'la chaloupe', ship's boat.

11.  Grau
Frederick H. Grau (d. 1894/1895), picture framer [more].

12.  sea pieces
At Fair Women, Grafton Galleries, London, 1894.

13.  your letter
Thomson wrote to JW on 27 April 1894 (#05806).

14.  Carlyle
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137) was engraved and published in The Pall Mall Budget on 9 April 1891.

15.  George Thomson
George Thomson, journalist [more], at The Pall Mall Gazette.

16.  Wedmores or [...] Mr Whibley
Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921), art critic [more], Marion Henry Alexander Spielmann (1858-1948), journalist and writer on art [more], Claude Phillips (1846-1924), barrister, journalist and art critic [more], and Charles Whibley (1859-1930), writer and journalist [more].

17.  The reproduction [...] copyright
'The reproduction ... copyright' was written at right angles to the rest of the text in the left margin.

18.  less margin -
To the right of this paragraph is a sketch of a page with the painting in the centre with a large margin around it.

19.  Montesquiou
Sketch of 'Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac' (M.1405).