The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, 1894
Record 21 of 23

System Number: 01018
Date: 20 November 1894
Author: Arthur Jerome Eddy[1]
Place: Chicago
Recipient: JW
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler E6a
Document Type: TL



Nov, 20, 1894.

Mr. James McNeill Whistler.
110 Rue du Bac,
Paris, France.

My Dear Mr. Whistler:-

The business portion of this letter I dictate, and have written on the type-writer, for the reason that my hand-writing has caused my friends a good deal of confusion in times past. It is the first law of correspondence, that all obscure passages in a friendly letter are construed in favor of the writer; in business letters, contra.

First of all, I have just received your delightful letter[3], announcing the finishing and shipment of the picture[4]. To that letter, I more particularly refer in what accompanies this, written in my own hand[5].

I have seen the officials of the Art Institute, including Mr. Hutchinson[6], the President, and they will be more than glad to have a special exhibition of your work, at such time as you see fit. They will pay all expenses, including boxing, transportation, and insurance, and exhibit it in a becoming manner.

I told them that I would write you at once, and ask you to indicate, if such a thing is possible, about what time we might expect the pictures. I know very well how like a red (p. 2) flag the word "time" is, but in this case, I do not mean a particular day, or a particular hour, but simply some general idea, and also to know if we may really, positively expect it this winter. If so, I wish you would send me, as early as may be convenient, a list of the owners of your pictures in this country, so that I may correspond with them and borrow their pictures for the exhibition. Would it not also be a good plan to have Reid's[7] pictures? Some of them are still in this country, are they not?

The Antwerp[8] pictures you thought you could send, and I have told the Art Institute people that if you sent the pictures, you would probably send some new work now under way.

I sincerely hope you can send the nudes[9], and especially the magnificent portraits of Miss Phillip[10] [sic]. If Miss Phillip has any objection to sending them to America, believing that this country is decidedly [aesthetically[11]?] immature, simply call her attention to the theatrical practice of trying a new play upon a dog, the dog being some provincial town supposed to be without taste or discrimination in theatrical matters.

You may be sure that if the exhibition goes forward, it would will[12] be made the artistic event, not only of this year, but of many years. We shall see that it is heralded far and wide, and that it is not simply an exhibition of pictures, but rather a testimonial to yourself, - an expression of appreciation of your (p. 3) commanding position as an American artist.

In this connection I would ask if you have any objections to the exhibition of my portrait. From your letter, I infer that it is entirely finished to your satisfaction. If so, then you may desire, or consent to have it exhibited, either at the exhibition of your pictures, or at the Art Institute. They have already asked me if they could not have it. I simply told them that you preferred to wait until your pictures were varnished, and that would be at least a year. In this matter of the exhibition of the portrait, I am wholly in your hands, and you are to do whatever you consider best for yourself, and the picture.

No doubt the two pictures will be along within the next week. They ought to be in New York by this time. Mr. Lynch[13] is delighted to hear that his is on the way. Within the last two or three days, we have had some misgivings lest your critical eye should find some flaw in the pictures, and you should conclude to keep them by you.

So much for the business portion of my letter.

Yours very truly,

I have[14] just heard, the pictures are in New York.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Arthur Jerome Eddy
Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920), writer and collector [more]. This letter accompanied a hand-written letter, #01017.

Edwin Walker, attorney, partner in Walker and Eddy Law Offices, New York.

3.  letter
Not located.

4.  my own hand

5.  picture
Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Brown: Portrait of Arthur J. Eddy (YMSM 425).

6.  Mr. Hutchinson
Charles Lawrence Hutchinson (1854-1924), print collector [more]. No exhibition was held at the Art Institute of Chicago at this time.

7.  Reid's
Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more], owned Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181) and Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242).

8.  Antwerp
Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, 1894; exhibits included Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate (YMSM 315).

9.  nudes
These included Nude Girl with a Bowl (YMSM 400), and possibly Harmony in Green and Amber: A Draped Study (YMSM 488), Rose et vert: Une étude (YMSM 489), Study of the Nude (YMSM 493) and La Sylphide (YMSM 494); although these were thought to date from later.

10.  Miss Phillip
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more]; the portraits included Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian (YMSM 378), Red and Black: The Fan (YMSM 388), Rose et or: La Tulipe (YMSM 418) and Harmony in Black: Portrait of Miss Ethel Philip (YMSM 419).

11.  aesthetically
Correction by hand.

12.  will
Correction by hand.

13.  Mr. Lynch
John A. Lynch (1853-1938), Chicago banker [more], who bought Violet and Silver: A Deep Sea (YMSM 411) from JW; according to Eddy, JW was loathe to part with it (Eddy, Arthur Jerome, Recollections and Impressions of James A. McNeill Whistler, Philadelphia and London, 1903, pp. 274-75).

14.  I have...New York.
Added by hand.