The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Whittemore, John Howard
Record 1 of 5

System Number: 07240
Date: 2 November 1894
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1228
Document Type: ALS


Nov. 2 / 94

Dear Mr. Whistler,

Here we are on the eve of election, trying the time honored remedy for political ills of "turning the rascals out" - the rascals[2], of course, being the fellows who are "in". I think we shall do it hands down, for a more wonderful collection of political thugs it would be hard to find than those we are cursed with now, however, Tuesday will tell a tale of purging of the city.

What I want particularly to know is this: have you any direct monetary interest in any of Reid's[3] portraits by Whistler? [p. 2] the three that were at Chicago[4] or the Princess du pays de la porcelaine[5]? Do not think that this is asked from idle Curiosity, not so. The truth is a party said "if we can raise the money for the purchase of one of the Whistler pictures, does Whistler receive any direct benefit from it?"

I know of three persons who might buy a large Whistler and I think I shall have Reid send over his. I am sorry that you see fit to keep your things instead of sending some of the fine ones over here to be sold. But of course, it's no use talking. I've given it up. Let me know please in regard to the above as Reid told me that you [p. 3] were interested in the Sale of his pictures, whether in a monetary way or not he did not say.

The portrait of O'K[6]. has retouching varnish on it, and looks well, except that it wants a trifle more modelling on the face, but the Colour is fine, in short it is very "swell" in Every way, and when you put a few touches on the phiz - I tell you none of your works can be held as superior to it.

I have been very busy this Autumn and if this keeps on we may make up for the very [p. 4] dull times we have had.

I must send you a cheque soon, but no memo. of price came with the last lot of lithos. -

What is the "White Girl[7]" worth now? It is now owned by Thomas Whistler of Baltimore[8] I think. Is it worth £1500 /- /- ?

Let me know about the pictures belonging to Reid, as I make the inquiries for some one else as I have told you.

I am sorry that your time is so taken up with literary pursuits to such an extent, that you have no time to write to an old friend. An Irishman had a friend once who went to the "Say shore" for a while, and while there struck up quite a friendship with a person whom he had never met [p. 5][9] before. The Irishman (call him Mike) being asked what had become of Jim said: "Oh, begorra, he's fishin' for frinds in the say an' furgittin his frinds on the land, so he is"!

I hear about you indirectly from returning pilgrims.

Remember what I said about mortality and Venus over the fire place. Have you read the "Green Carnation[10]"? If not, do so. I am off to a political meeting and am with best regards, if worth your acceptance,

Yours very truly,

E. G. Kennedy.

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

2.  rascals
Election for Governor, legislature and Mayor of New York.

3.  Reid's
Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more].

4.  three that were at Chicago
La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50), Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181), Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242) were in World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893.

5.  Princess du pays de la porcelaine
La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50); it was bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

6.  portrait of O'K
Portrait of E. G. Kennedy (2) (YMSM 404); it was continued in Paris in the following summer.

7.  White Girl
Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38); from January 1895 it was on the market for $1,000 and was apparently sold by Boussod, Valadon & Cie in February 1896 to John Howard Whittemore (1837-1910), businessman and collector (there is an element of confusion as to which Whittemore bought it, since Arthur Harris Whittemore (1864-1927), businessman and collector [more], also bought work from JW (see #09732).

8.  Thomas Whistler of Baltimore
Thomas Delano Whistler (1857-1921), engineer, JW's nephew [more].

9.  [p. 5]
The printed address header is repeated at the top of p. 5 (as on p. 1). The date 'Nov 2 '94' is added at the top of the page in pencil in another hand.

10.  Green Carnation
Robert Hichens, The Green Carnation, London, 1894. Esmé Amarinth (based on Oscar Wilde) and Lord Reginald Hastings (based on Lord Alfred Douglas) are important characters in The Green Carnation, a witty skit first published anonymously by William Heinemann in September 1894. Both Ada Leverson and Wilde were suspected of possibly being the author. It finally appeared under Hichens' name in the fourth edition (1895). Wilde wrote to Leverson: 'Hichens I did not think capable of anything so clever. It is such a bore about journalists, they are so very clever.' ([23 September 1894?], Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, pp. 615-16.)