The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Bernheim, Alexandre
Record 4 of 6

System Number: 11590
Date: 25 October 1901
Author: Rosalind Birnie Philip[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Charles Lang Freer[2]
Place: [Detroit]
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 50
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS[3]

8. Fitzroy Street.

Oct. 25th 1901.

Dear Mr. Freer.

Mr. Whistler who is at his easel wishes me to write a line to catch to-day's steamer. He is talking and I am writing.

"I think I had better enclose the letter just received from Mr. Cowan[4]. You see then that he is going [p. 2] to sell his Whistlers and as they are what you really ought to have I am writing[5] to him to try & hold in until he shall have heard from you.

I certainly advise you to secure these things, or in any case two of them, that is "The Thames in Ice,"[6] and the water colour picture of "Mrs. Whibley."[7]

They will cost money but I should be sorry to know they went anywhere else.

Besides I think you will never forgive yourself if you miss them.

In your collection moreover everything that you add, of this quality, goes to increase the value of what is already there, and I know that you ought certainly not to miss these two.

Mr. Cowan was asking £2,000 some time ago for "The Thames in Ice," but managed to hang on to it. However I suppose things are pretty bad just now over here [p. 4] and you may as well get the pictures without paying Marchant[8] or Thomson[9] their commission.

If I were you then I would cable to him, and ask him if he can hold on long enough to send you photographs, unless you take my advice, and buy them "in a poke."

Remember it was in this way Kennedy[10] got "The Balcony[11]" for you. As I have never heard any more about the Paris Bernheim pictures[12], that the Courrier was so sure of, I suppose nothing came of it."

"This must go now so good bye for the present."

With kindest regards from me also,

R. Birnie-Philip.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Rosalind Birnie Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

2.  Charles Lang Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

3.  ALS
The paper has a mourning border.

4.  Mr. Cowan
John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more]. He had written on 24 October 1901, #04819.

5.  writing
See JW's letters to J. J. Cowan, #00751 and #00749.

6.  The Thames in Ice,
The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36). Freer agreed to buy it.

7.  Mrs. Whibley.
Rose and Silver: Portrait of Mrs Whibley (M.1415) was bought by Freer; see his reply, 9 November 1901, #01525.

8.  Marchant
William Stephen Marchant (1868-1925), art dealer [more].

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

10.  Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

11.  The Balcony
Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56).

12.  Paris Bernheim pictures
Alexandre Bernheim (1839-1915), Paris art dealer [more], had The Girl in Red (YMSM 312), Alice Butt (1) (YMSM 437) and Violet and Blue: The Red Feather (YMSM 503).