UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Cadart, Alfred
Record 9 of 10

System Number: 01085
Date: [July/September 1868][1]
Author: Henri Fantin-Latour[2]
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F16
Document Type: ALS


Mon cher Whistler

tu est [sic] bien aimable de m'avoir écrit[3]. je ne comprends pas ton silence tu sais pourtant combien je m'interesse toujours a ce que tu fait. tu sais aussi que nous ne sommes pas très nombreux a nous entendre que nous avons été toujours bien ensemble. J'ai vu et je vois tout les jours combien nous sommes peu aimé[.] entre nous il y a des choses que nous ne pouvons pas dire a d'autres - depuis ton dernier départ nous n'avons eu qu'une lettre et à Londres et ici je ne [sic] n'ai entendu rien dire de toi, tu ne t'imagines pas combien je suis peu en rapport avec des gens. Ici plus personne ne m'a écrit de Londres[,] rien[,] même Edwards[4] qui je ne sait pourquoi est resté plusieurs mois sans rien me dire - grace a toi a ta derniere lettre je commence a revoir un peu ce qui se passe a Londres[.] Je te remercie de ta commande mais je ne pourrais faire cela qu'à Paris je ne pense pas aller a Londres dans ces temps ci[.] je remercie bien de toutes tes offres mais cela ne se peut - je ne veux plus perdre un jour, une heure cette année je n'ai pas espoir je l'ai perdu et tu sais combien cela n'est pas dans mes idées. j'ai dans ce moment plusieurs esquisses a faire au Louvre commande[s] et qui vont m'en procurer bien d'autres [p. 2] je veux sitot ce temps ci passés employer a faire pour le salon deux tableaux[5] important[.] je ne songe a rien d'autres ne plus bouger, travailler et pas autres chose[.] tu est changé dis tu et moi aussi je m'accentue de plus en plus le Fantin d'autrefois tu sais me voila aujourd'hui mais sans decouragement, ni ennuis. Je suis de mon opinion rien maintenant ne peut plus me déranger - Alors je fais ces deux natures mortes[6] ici, de la grandeur de celle des Ionidis[7] - des fleurs au milieu et des fruits autour - cela me ravit jamais je n'ai fait des natures mortes avec plus de plaisir, les deux tu dis 500 fr.-. c'est entendu - je suis très content et t'en remercie[.] je suis en ce moment les dimanches et les Lundi, a faire des pèches[8] et cela m'enchante tu verras ce que je vais faire tu en seras content je crois. tu vois ma vie d'ici ces natures mortes, des esquisses au Louvre le concert champètre de Giorgion[9], l'Antiope du Correge [10] des Veronèse[11]. Tout cela que je recommence en toujours m'appliquant j'en suis a ma cinquieme du Giorgion. puis quand j'ai du temps des esquisses folles, des rêves, des apparitions des féeries[12] etc. puis j'ai un Atelier a moi, je suis enfin chez moi, quel bonheur je vais a mon atelier [p. 3] au milieu de tout ce que j'ai, de ce que j'ai fait et je suis bien seul très heureux le bonheur du propriétaire. tu vois d'ici que même chez toi - ou a la campagne chez Edwards je ne peux changer mon bonheur je suis dans ma lune de miel. j'ai ce que j'ai tant rêvé pense a 32 ans, avoir enfin un Atelier - J'ai manque le Salon parce que l'on a pas voulu me donner le portrait que je faisait Un grand portrait de demoiselle[13] en robe de bal mousseline garni de velours cerise quelque chose que j'ai beaucoup travaillé qui devait être interessant, a montrer[.] la Mère 8 jours avant l'envoi n'a plus voulu me le donner. Elle a craint les cancans de son monde et il est terrible ce monde. La j'y ai un peu vecu je l'ai vu de près et j'ai compris les craintes de la famille. pense que l'oncle de la Demoiselle est le president du Jockaye Club de paris, le Marquis de Biron[14] tu vois cela d'ici que j'aurai a te raconter de tout le temps que j'ai passé dans les salons du faubourg St Germain, et à la campagne dans les chateaux. mais tout cela passé je me suis dit cela n'est pas mon affaire en éffet cela n'est pas compatible avec l'Art comme nous le comprenons, j'ai un autre idéal. -

J'aimerais bien t'entendre rire chez toi et causer mais vois tu il faut travailler je ne pense [p. 4] a autre chose maintenant ne songeons donc plus à autre chose - moi, tu sais le voyage me dérange trop, ne viendras tu pas avec Edwards que cela deciderait aussi de venir quelques jours ici - Les propos Legros[15] vois tu cela m'est bien indiferent j'ai bien assez de tout cela quand il est venu ici, je l'ai rencontré nous avons causé il paraissait vouloir être desagreable mais j'etais si indiferent que cela n'a rien été. Il est tout entier a ces succes et n'a rien dit d'autre que de lui. En voila un de moins -. Tu as su le succès parmi les peintres du portrait de Zola de Manet[16], il a fait la sa meilleure chose, salon du reste insignifiant. Je vois Ernest[17] bien rarement je lui dirai bien des choses de ta part. tu fais trop attention a Burty[18] je le crois au contraire bien disposé a ton égard, il vous sait je crois au contraire Etre aimable. tu as vu dans son salon Anglais dans la Gazette[19] il a dit que Millais[20] t'avait imité - quand je vois Cadart[21] je lui parle de tes Eaux fortes - que devient Dilberoglue[22] et O'Connor[23] et Ridley[24] - Courbet[25] a fait bien mauvais cette année[.] pourquoi n'a tu pas exposé ici écrit moi encore tu as tant de choses a me dire. ma nouvelle adresse est numero onze, Rue des Sts Pères 11.

Fantin.


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

My dear Whistler

It is very kind of you to write to me. I do not understand your silence you know all the same how interested I always am in what you are doing. you also know that there are not many of us who understand each other we have always got on well together. I have seen and I see every day how little people like us[.] Between ourselves there are things we cannot say to others - since you last left we have only had one letter and I have heard nothing of you in London or here, you cannot imagine how little I find myself in sympathy with other people. Here nobody has written from London[,] nothing[,] even Edwards who I do not know why has written nothing for several months - thanks to you and your last letter I am beginning to see a little of what is happening in London[.] Thank you for your order but I could only do that in Paris I am not thinking of going to London at the moment[.] thank you very much for all your offers but it is not possible - I do not want to lose another day, one hour this year I have no hope I have lost it and you know how unlike me that is. at the moment I have several studies to do at the Louvre order[s] which are going to bring me many others [p. 2] as soon as this time has passed I want to do two large pictures for the Salon[.] I think of nothing else. Not to move again, to work and nothing else[.] You say you have changed and so have I I am becoming more and more the Fantin of the old days you know here I am today but neither discouraged nor bored. I have my own views now nothing can distract me - Well I am doing these two still lifes here, the same size as Ionides' - flowers in the middle fruit around them - they delight me I have never done still lifes with more pleasure, the two you say 500fr .-. that is agreed - I am very happy and thank you[.] On Sundays and Mondays at the moment I do peaches and am enchanted by it you will see what I am going to do you will be pleased I think, you see that my life here these still lifes, some sketches at the Louvre the open-air concert of Giorgione, the Antiope by Corregio[,] some Veronese. I am beginning all that again working hard all the time I am on my fifth of the Giorgione. Then when I have time some mad sketches, dreams, apparitions fairies etc. then I have my own Studio, at last my own place, what happiness I go to my studio [p. 3] in the middle of all I possess, what I have done and I am very happy alone the happiness of the proprietor. You see from this that even with you - or in the country with Edwards I cannot change my happiness I am on my honeymoon. At 32 I have everything I have dreamed thought about so much, to have a Studio at last - I missed the Salon because they did not want to give me the portrait I was doing A large portrait of a young lady in a muslin ball gown trimmed with cherry[-coloured] velvet something which I had worked on a great deal which would have been interesting, to show[.] A week before submission [date] the Mother would not give it to me. She was afraid of her local gossips they are terrible. I stayed there a little I could watch closely and understood the family's fears[.] just imagine the young Lady's uncle is president of the Jockaye [sic] Club of Paris, the Marquis de Biron[.] you see from this everything I will have to tell you about the time I spent in the salons of St Germain, and in the chateaux in the country. But when all that had gone I told myself that it is not my business in fact it is not compatible with Art as we understand it, I have a different ideal. -

I would very much like to hear you laugh at your home and talk but you see I must work I cannot think [p. 4] of anything else now so do not let us think of anything [else] - you know that travelling disturbs me too much, could you not come with Edwards if he could also decide to come for a few days here - Legros' comments you see mean nothing to me I really had enough of all that when he came here I met him we talked he seemed to want to be disagreeable but I was so indifferent that it had no effect. He is wrapped up in his success and only talked about himself. So there is one fewer - . You knew about the success amongst the portrait painters of Manet's Zola, it is his best thing, his salon [picture] is quite insignificant. I see Ernest very rarely I will give him your regards. You worry too much about Burty I believe on the contrary that he thinks well of you, he knows I believe the opposite that you are very amiable. You saw in his English salon in the Gazette he said that Millais had copied you - when I see Cadart I talk to him about your etchings - what has become of Dilberoglue and O'Connor and Ridley - Courbet has done very badly this year[.] why have you not exhibited here[?] write to me again you have so much to tell me. my new address is number eleven, Rue des Sts Peres 11.

Fantin.


Notes:

1.  [July/September 1868]
The year must be 1868 since Fantin-Latour gives his age as 32. References to paintings suggest that this letter dates from after the Salon of 1868, in which neither JW nor Fantin-Latour exhibited. A letter from JW written at intervals from 30 September to 22 November 1868 (#11983) may have been written in response to this letter.

2.  Henri Fantin-Latour
Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more].

3.  ecrit
Letter not located.

4.  Edwards
Edwin Edwards (1823-1879), lawyer, painter and etcher [more].

5.  deux tableaux
Fantin-Latour began studies for a major work, H. Fantin-Latour, Un Atelier aux Batignolles (FL.409) (z138) in 1869, which was awarded a third class medal at the 88th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1870. Acquired by Elizabeth Ruth Edwards (ca 1833 - d.1907), née Enscombe, wife of Edwin Edwards [more], it was sold to the State in 1892, and is now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

6.  nature mortes
Possibly including H. Fantin-Latour, Nature Morte (FL. 182) (z72), which measured 49.5 x 47cm.

7.  Ionidis
Constantine Alexander Ionides (1833-1900), collector and businessman [more], had bought two paintings of Fleurs (1864, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; H. Fantin-Latour, Fleurs (FL.244) (z104) and H. Fantin-Latour, Fleurs (FL.245) (z105)), measuring 49 x 44cm and 49 x 43.8cm respectively.

8.  peches
Peaches were depicted in two paintings listed as H. Fantin-Latour, Fruits (FL.312-13) (z135).

9.  concert champetre de Giorgione
Copy after Giorgione, Concert Champêtre (z127) in the Musée du Louvre (FL.378).

10.  Antiope du Correge
Copy after Correggio, Antiope (z126) in the Musée du Louvre (FL.376).

11.  Veronèse
He had made several copies after Veronese's Paolo Veronese, The Wedding at Cana, 1563 (z7), including one dated 1867 now in the Museum of Belfast (H. Fantin-Latour, Copy after The Wedding at Cana, by Paolo Veronese (FL. 294) (z128)).

12.  féeries
JW's musical titles and themes in 'The Six Projects' (YMSM 82-87) (excat 11) were influential in encouraging Fantin-Latour's subjectless paintings on a musical theme, the music, specifically, of R. Schumann. These included H. Fantin-Latour, La Réve de Poète (FL.321) (z131) and H. Fantin-Latour, Reflets d'Orient (FL.322) (z132). See Druick, Douglas and Michel Hoog, Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1982, cat. no. 51.

13.  portrait de demoiselle
Fantin's fine and decorative portrait of a young woman in low-cut ball-dress, H. Fantin-Latour, Portrait de Mademoiselle de Biron (FL.317) (z130) (private collection), had an unhappy history. Marguerite de Biron (1850-1953), wife of the Marquis d'Harcourt [more] was painted at the château de La Lorie. The family decided to cut the portrait down from full- to half-length. When Fantin-Latour saw the destruction he was furious and declared 'Je ne ferai jamais plus le portrait d'une femme du monde' (Druick, op. cit., cat. no. 26).

14.  le Marquis de Biron
Arnaud Biron (d. 1897), Marquis de Gontaut [more].

15.  Legros
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more].

16.   portrait de Zola de Manet
Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (1840-1902), novelist, critic and political activist [more], was not a close friend of Manet, whose E. Manet, Portrait d'Émile Zola(z125) (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) was shown at the 86th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1868, cat. no. 1660. It received mixed reviews, its painterly qualities being recognised, but the lack of psychological involvement was criticized (see Manet 1832-1883, exh. cat., Musées nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 22 Apr.-1 Aug. 1983, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10 Sept.-27 Nov. 1983, cat. no. 106).

17.  Ernest
Ernest Delannoy (d. 1860/1870), art student, JW's travel companion in 1858 [more].

18.  Burty
Philippe Burty (1830-1890), critic [more].

19.  Gazette
Gazette des beaux-arts.

20.  Millais
Euphemia ('Effie') Chalmers Millais (1828-1898), née Gray, formerly Mrs John Ruskin [more].

21.  Cadart
Alfred Cadart (1828-1875), dealer and print publisher [more].

22.  Dilberoglue
Staurus or Stavros Dilberoglue (1811-1878), merchant, of Cavafy and Co. [more].

23.  O'Connor
William Henry O'Connor (b. ca 1839), painter and stained glass artist [more].

24.  Ridley
Matthew White Ridley (1837-1888), painter and etcher [more].

25.  Courbet
Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), painter [more]. He had only two works in the Salon, Gustave Courbet, L'aumône d'un mendiant (z133) and Gustave Courbet, Le chevreuil chassé aux écoutes; printemps (z134) (cat. nos. 608-9).