The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 3rd Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia,Venice 1899
Record 17 of 32

System Number: 07570
Date: [19/26 February 1899][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: William Cleverley Alexander[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: British Museum, London
Call Number: Department of Prints and Drawings, 1958-2-8-30
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac -

On this sweet Sabbath I had meant, my dear Alexander, to have given you rather an interesting answer - in the way of detail - of which of course I have endless! - But what is the use? - One of these days I will bring out my Statistics - for History must be "clearly written" - and [p. 2] meanwhile I do say "these things" - and you but repeat them - and we are agreed! -

If Englishmen sell, say you, they also buy! - Absolutely! - and it is these British buyers who sold my pictures immediately a sense of monied value came upon them! And now, as again you say, by them I am "accepted" -

Exactly! - such is the native appreciation of "good business" - as long ago detected by Napoleon! - (I never can enjoy this too often!) -

Yes - hall marked, as who should say, and covered with honours and distinctions, from beyond his Country, the Englishman accepts me as of possible commercial quotation! - and forthwith sells me out of the land as we know -

Also, as you say, this acceptation is in "deplorable taste" - and due to the beautiful absence of all sense of the ridiculous which is the birthright of the Anglo Saxon - -

Voila! Though what you can mean by the flattery of "immitation" I do not know! You surely would not have me [p. 3] believe that there are others at all like my own gentle self about the town! -

Always sincerely

[butterfly signature]

I do indeed hope that you will still order them to send on the "Miss Alexander"[4] direct from Dublin to Venice - The authorities will of course make it their duty & pleasure to give all insurance and [shall?] guarantee every care -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [19/26 February 1899]
Dated by the almanac (19 and 26 February were Sundays in 1899) and by the references to exhibitions (see below). See correspondence between JW and Alexander, between January and February 1899; #07566, #07568, #07569, #07582, and with William Burrell regarding the same exhibition (#08978) .

2.  William Cleverley Alexander
William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916), banker and patron [more].

3.  ALS
Written on stationery with a mourning border.

4.  Miss Alexander
Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129) was then on exhibition at the A Loan Collection of Modern Paintings, Leinster Hall, Dublin, 1899 (cat. no. 79). Alexander agreed to lend the picture to 3rd Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia,Venice, 1899, which opened on 22 April 1899; it may have arrived late, and did not appear in the catalogue.