The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Whistler, Thomas
Record 4 of 5

System Number: 07275
Date: 24 March 1896
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1263
Document Type: ALS


[scroll:] H. WUNDERLICH & CO.
H W & CO.
868 B'WAY N- Y-

Mch. 24th 1896 -

My dear friend,

Your letter[2] of March 14th is at hand. I am sorry indeed, as you must know, to learn of your perplexities and troubles. These are inseparable from human existence, and we all have them sooner or later, unless we fly from them in a cowardly way. I can well appreciate the effect on your temperament, and must congratulate you on the manner you have borne yourself in what has been a most trying and anxious period. Poor Mrs. Whistler[3], she has had her share of suffering and sorrow during this long [p. 2] and painful experience.

It is something however, to be surrounded by devoted friends and attendants, particularly if such can assuage pain or bring comfort.

I am but a bungler at expressing my sentiments during a period of affliction, but you know what I mean, even if my way of trying to convey it, is halting and clumsy.

You say write and cheer you up, I wish I could, but perhaps the best way will be to go over and do it. I may be over there in May - early possibly.

I am glad to hear that you have sent for the pink girl[4] and the other one[5], so that I may have [p. 3][6] a chance to do something with them before I leave here. Let me know at once the price for cash, of one or the other or both.

You say nothing about the "Black Smith[7]". How about that?

I expected a thumping in regard to my heterodox views of the lithographs, but I am unterrified.

Talk in Paris is cheap, it is cheap anywhere, but buying the things is more gratifying for practical purposes, and the French take it out in profuse prate. As I said formerly, "French me no French".

This will appeal to Queen Boadicea[8]. There are others! I spoke of the "Good Shoe[9]" and "Girl with bowl[10]" [p. 4] The Smith's Yard[11] is all right enough. I cannot see the Super human beauty of the "Girl with the bowl" though. When I wrote, I told you I expressed my opinions with diffidence, if plainly. I may be "out of it" in not admiring the subjects in question, but why shouldn't the "would be Connoisseurs" in England be "out of it" for admiring these two particular subjects more than any of the others? "There is no bad whiskey, but some kinds are better than others." The Girl with the bowl, — well, wait until I see you that's all. Yes, you want to sell me things which you want to sell but not the things which I want. We, each of us, knows his own market best and why should I buy nudes &c. if I can't sell them? [p. 5] Some of the earlier draped figures are capital (lithos.), but where are they? I don't see them any more.

The lithos. ordered[12] on Feb. 21st are:

3 Steps - Lyme Regis
3 Little Doorway    "
3 Manager's Window
3 Priest's house - Rouen - Also send
2 Sunday, Lyme Regis
1 Needlework

Will you kindly send these at once? By post registered or to Lauser[13] with directions to post them, registered.

The lithographs You mention as having sent me "on Wednesday" have not come to hand. When they do I will inform you. Did [p. 6] you register them? The post card came to hand but no prints. I hope they are not lost.

No, I did not see the Signature on Carmen[14] which I am going to send to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where it may be productive of good.

Don't worry about cash now.

By and bye, you can go to Paris when Madame improves enough and resume work.

It was very thoughtless and stupid of me to say anything about the lithographs, & I am sorry for it. Good-bye, keep up your heart and let me know how things progress. I hope madame is much improved. Pray give her my kindest regards & believe me, as Ever

Sincerely Yours,

E. G. Kennedy.

J. McN. Whistler Esq

[p. 7] Note.

I hear that Tom Whistler[15] has sold the White Girl[16] to a Mass. man[17]. I send you by this Steamer a bottle of cocktails which will cheer you up & no mistake. To be drunk with a little ice in it, as it is[18]. Keep in a cold place refrigerator if possible and then you wont require any ice.

This document is protected by copyright.


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

2.  letter

3.  Mrs. Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. She was critically ill with cancer.

4.  pink girl
Rose et or: La Tulipe (YMSM 418); JW never sold it.

5.  the other one
Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian (YMSM 378) was eventually sent to Kennedy in 1900.

6.  [p. 3]
The printed address header is repeated at the top of pp. 3, 5 and 7. Also at the top of these pages, in pencil in another hand, are (respectively) the numbers 'II', 'III' and 'IV'.

7.  Black Smith
Kennedy bought The Master Smith of Lyme Regis (YMSM 450) on 4 September 1896 and sold it to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

8.  Queen Boadicea
Boadicea (ca 30-60), Queen of the Iceni tribe of East Anglia.

9.  Good Shoe
The Good Shoe (C.122).

10.  Girl with bowl
Girl with Bowl (C.118).

11.  The Smith's Yard
The Smith's Yard (C.124).

12.  lithos. ordered
The list includes: The Little Steps, Lyme Regis (C.131); The Little Doorway, Lyme Regis (C.119); The Manager's Window, Gaiety Theatre (C.150); The Priest's House, Rouen (C.105); Sunday, Lyme Regis (C.134); and Needlework (C.149).

13.  Lauser
Gustave Lauser (b. ca 1841), London print-seller [more].

14.  Carmen
Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441), which was eventually bought by Alfred Atmore Pope (1842-1913), manufacturer and collector [more].

15.  Tom Whistler
Thomas Delano Whistler (1857-1921), engineer, JW's nephew [more].

16.  White Girl
Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38).

17.  Mass. man
Arthur Harris Whittemore (1864-1927), businessman and collector [more]. He purchased the White Girl on 28 February 1896 for $6500.

18.  as it is
Double underlined.