The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Clausen, George
Record 14 of 18

System Number: 02310
Date: [3 May 1898][1]
Author: Francis Howard[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler I50
Document Type: ALI




Tuesday morning

My dear Chairman

This is the first opportunity I have had since your letter came yesterday of answering it. Fortunately for me my ills are now limited to the after-effects of my little collapse of a few days ago: it is very kind of you though to think of me! I have intended writing you day after day, but the thousand and one things I have to attend to ... you know how it must be with me .. and I knew Lavery[3] had written. At present I am in a perfect maze! The preparation of the galleries (assuring the employment of the right colours, textures, proportions &c) the reception, [p. 2] unpacking and classifications of home and foreign works, the insurance and general financial affairs, and the arrangements generally (including the constant stimulation of Press interest) - all these have to be personally and constantly superintended, so you will understand that my silence has not been that of inaction.

Laverys natural caution and my natural lack of it seem to have alarmed you. But I am sure unnecessarily! We are all of us conscious of the great issue, and none more so than Lavery and myself! But we especially are, so to speak, on our hands and knees, arranging the very pebbles of the pathway, and though as you say, it is not a matter of any particular pathway (and we understand this) it is not unnatural that these pebbles loom large - perhaps over large - in our ordering visions. Our colours are nailed to the mast - we all know it, and are glad of it.

About yesterday. The meeting had to be postponed[.] Lavery did not arrive from Germany till half past five and one or two other unexpected happenings [p. 3] made it impossible to hold it. It is called for tomorrow at 5.

You will have seen the Admiral[4]. I hope too you will have telegraphed or communicated in some way with the Prince of Wales[5]. I am convinced that much depends on our send off.

This I whisper in your ear - Ludovici[6] has made most expensive arrangements in Paris[.] The pictures from Munich, Brussels, Norway, and Italy have cost us barely £10. Ludovicis man[7] has written us asking for £40 or £60 on account. I have asked L to impress upon the man our great poverty and to have everything fully accounted for[.] If you see the agent you might allow him to understand that future employment depends upon first experience.

[p. 4] The German pictures which have arrived are so-so - with the exception of one large portrait (which Sauter[8] particularly prides himself upon having procured) by Keller[9], which is an unspeakable vulgarity and quite impossible. Constantin Meuniers[10] work is quite beautiful and Segantini[11] is well represented. We have borrowed three good Fantin Latours[12] - if you like Fantin Latours, and will also be lent things of Matthew Maris[13] [.] Boecklin[14] I am sorry to say will not be represented and Klinger[15] only by etchings[.] [p. 5] Cecilia Beaux[16] has sent very striking things from America

Swan[17] and Clausen[18] are going to exhibit. Sargent[19] is not.

About the prospects of the exhibition in connection with this building. - To make it worth Maxses and the Companys while to continue with us we will have to take about 500 shillings a day at the turn stiles[.] That is to give them any appreciable profit[.] However whether we do this or not it is inevitable that we will pay what on paper will be a very high per cent on the capital! Thereupon we will be able to advise the company to sell to the public (of course in such a case we will have to formulate ourselves thoroughly in order to give the company an an unmistakeable good will to sell to the public) and I think after that our future will be assured[.] I think we ought to sell [p. 6] for about £40 000 and easily pay a good percent on that for years to come. I should like to talk this all over with you though before mentioning it to Maxse Lavery or any body[.] I really think that it is a possible scheme.

This is rather an incoherent and unarranged epistle[.] I hope it will be understandable

You are quite well I hope now!

F. H.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [3 May 1898]
Dated from the almanac and the reference to exhibition loans. The Private View days of the Exhibition of International Art, International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London, 1898 took place on 7 and 8 May 1898 (Minutes of the Second Council Meeting, #02277). 3 May was the preceding Tuesday.

2.  Francis Howard
Francis Howard (1874-1954), painter, art critic and collector [more], Secretary of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers.

3.  Lavery
John Lavery (1856-1941), painter [more], Vice President of the ISSPG.

4.  Admiral
Admiral Friedrich ('Frederick') Augustus Maxse (1833-1900), political writer [more]. Maxse was proprietor of the Prince's Rink Skating Club where the ISSPG held its first exhibition.

5.  Prince of Wales
Albert Edward Saxe-Coburg (1841-1910), H.R.H. The Prince of Wales [more].

6.  Ludovici
Albert Ludovici, Jr (1852-1932), painter [more].

7.  man
G. Guesuse or Guésun, picture agent.

8.  Sauter
George Sauter (1866-1937), painter [more].

9.  Keller
Albert von Keller (1844-1920), artist [more].

10.  Constantin Meuniers
Constantine Émile Meunier (1831-1905), painter, sculptor and engraver [more].

11.  Segantini
Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899), artist [more].

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

13.  Matthew Maris
Matthijs ('Matthew') Maris (1839-1917), artist [more].

14.  Boecklin
Arnold Böcklin or Boecklin (1827-1901), painter and sculptor [more].

15.  Klinger
Professor Max Klinger (1857-1920), history and genre painter, sculptor and engraver [more]. Klinger was represented by eight etchings (cat. nos 37-44) including Time and Death (cat. no. 37).

16.  Cecilia Beaux
Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942), artist [more]. The works by Beaux included the striking portrait of a woman with a cat: C. Beaux, Sita and Sarita (z271) (cat. no. 60).

17.  Swan
John Macallan Swan (1847-1908), animal painter and sculptor [more].

18.  Clausen
George Clausen (1852-1944), painter and print-maker [more].

19.  Sargent
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), artist [more].