The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Whittemore, John Howard
Record 2 of 5

System Number: 05000
Date: 27 November 1894
Author: Alfred Atmore Pope[1]
Place: Cleveland
Recipient: JW
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P640
Document Type: TLS


Nov. 27, 1894.

My dear Mr. Whistler, -

I have had busy, too busy, days since my return. An occasional thought, that seemed worth while to communicate, has arisen in my mind on the very frequent occasions you have come into it, during the past few weeks, but they all seemed to have left me now that I address you.

I dropped you a line[2] from the Windsor Hotel in New York, announcing our arrival. Later, I received your last communication, addressed to us in London, received in our absence and forwarded.

The frame for the "Blue Wave[3]" came all right and I have it hung in the place of honor in our home, and the place of honor means the best place for lighting. You know the difficulty of lighting pictures in private houses. Mrs. Pope[4] has had trouble enough with the men, hanging and re-hanging, to get the best effect and make an equitable disposition of the honors.

Our city is growing and there are all sorts of interests being promoted; among others, a public booming of interest in art. Everybody, that don't know anything about it, talking and writing, discovering their ignorance. The women of leisure and ambition and men without other occupation are promoting, posing and drumming recruits to societies, some of which are big in proportions numerically. An exhibit of the works of American artists is to be held in February and prizes given. Nominally in the interest of art, really to keep a certain set of people busy and before the public, a course of lectures on art is being run off. Hopkinson Smith[5] has delivered one, Blashfield[6] another, and now Hopkinson Smith is to effervesce in two more, and Wm. Chase[7] comes in December. I might send you notices from our papers. Should I do so, I am sure you would see the glow ([p.] No. 2)[8] of my shamed face through the great space separating us; still I believe I would send them and dissimulate into a pride in so doing, if I thought it would warm you up to the point of talking back in a way that would reach perhaps a few intelligent people and set their heads aright. If I could spend a little time with you, I think I could take on, or absorb, some elements that would clarify my thoughts and enable me to come out in a public protest against this prostitution of a good, but ill informed, public.

As yet, since our return and getting the house in order, we have not had one genuine appreciator of the objects. We expect a visit from the old gentleman, Durand-Ruel[9], this week. The last of the week we go to New York for a fortnight. On our return, we shall have a visit from my young chum, my partner's son, Mr. Harris Whittemore[10], who is keenly alive and digests understandingly good surroundings. This is a great pleasure in anticipation.

I have not forgotten your kind invitation for my brother-in-law, Mr. Ned Brooks[11], to call on you when in Paris. He is such a genuine fellow, so young, strong and wholesome in every way that it renews one's youth to bask in his breezy presence. I shall surely give Mr. Brooks your message. As yet I have not written him, the ladies carrying on the correspondence.

I send you enclosed the cutting from the New York Sunday Sun, referred to in my brief line from the Windsor Hotel; still another newspaper cutting, and mail you a copy of the Critic, two of Life and one of Munsey's Popular Magazine. Part of these communications, if not all, must have come to your hand ere this. These are all my busy hours have enabled me to get together.

How about the Woman in Red[12]? I want to feel that I have a mortgage on that. Tell Miss Phillips[13] [sic] I shall be prepared to liquidate ([p.] No. 3) cleverly in return for a handsome expression on the canvas. My kind regards to the ladies.

Believe me that much more time still would run off, and then the result would have made you unhappy, if I waited for the time to make an autographical, instead of this mechanical, expression.

Sincerely yours,

A. A. Pope[14]


To J. McNeill Whistler, Esq.,
#110 Rue du Bac,
Paris, France.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Alfred Atmore Pope
Alfred Atmore Pope (1842-1913), manufacturer and collector [more].

2.  line
See #04999.

3.  Blue Wave
Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41).

4.  Mrs. Pope
Ada Brooks Pope, wife of the collector A. A. Pope [more].

5.  Hopkinson Smith
Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915), landscape painter, illustrator, writer and engineer [more].

6.  Blashfield
Edwin Howlan Blashfield (1848-1936), decorative painter and writer [more].

7.  Wm. Chase
William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), painter [more].

8.  [p.] No. 2
As well as numbered pages, at the top of p. 2 and p. 3 there is the printed address letterhead 'THE NATIONAL MALLEABLE CASTINGS CO., CLEVELAND.', and the typed initials 'J. McN. W.'.

9.  Durand-Ruel
Probably Paul Durand-Ruel (1828 or 1831-1922), Paris art dealer [more].

10.  Mr. Harris Whittemore
Arthur Harris Whittemore (1864-1927), businessman and collector [more]. In the following summer JW said that he had sold Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian (YMSM 378) to Harris Whittemore (#09732).

11.  Mr. Ned Brooks
Edward ('Ned') Brooks, artist, brother-in-law of A. A. Pope.

12.  Woman in Red
Red and Black: The Fan (YMSM 388); JW never sold this portrait.

13.  Miss Phillips
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

14.  A. A. Pope
Signed by hand.