The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Wilde, Oscar
Record 35 of 154

System Number: 09646
Date: [May 1884][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Théodore Duret[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library and Archives, New York
Call Number: Met 192 W57/W576
Document Type: ALS

Most charming and kind in you my dear Duret -

the Rochefoucauld[3] I shall always delight in and value for its own joy as well as a souvenir of your continued amiabilities and strong sympathy and friendship -

The palette knives are most welcome! et maintenant il ne me manque plus que [p. 2] la medaille[4] [sic]! and then I suppose my cup should be full! -

But do write me a letter and tell me "many things" - and how about Miss Cassatt[5] - Do tell her how very sorry I was to not to see her -

Say kind things to every body à discretion - and believe me we miss you! -

Oscar[6] is going to be married!!! N i ni - c'est fini![7] I said a good thing of course - I said to his brother[8] - "Well then at last Oscar will have a house - and will be able to let it alone"!! -


[butterfly signature]

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1.  [May 1884]
Dated by the reference to the wedding of Oscar Wilde (see below).

2.  Théodore Duret
Théodore Duret (1838-1927), art critic and collector [more]. A translation of this letter into German, with minor variations, was published in Kunst und Kunstler IX 1910, p. 363 (#09275).

3.  Rochefoucauld
François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), soldier, writer and philosopher [more]. Duret may have given JW a copy of Réflexions où sentences et maximes morales (1665) or Réflexions diverses (published posthumously).

4.  et maintenant il ne me manque plus que la medaille
Fr., and now the only thing I lack is the medal. JW presumably meant that now he had all he needed to complete a picture worthy of a medal; however, palette knives were not essential for JW's painting, since he used them to remove rather than apply paint.

5.  Miss Cassatt
Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844-1926), painter and print-maker [more].

6.  Oscar
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more]. On 29 May 1884 he was married to Constance Lloyd.

7.  N i ni - c'est fini!
Fr., it is finished. This sounds like the refrain of a popular song. It also alludes to Christ's words from the cross in John 19.30 - 'When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.'

8.  brother
William Charles Kingsbury Wilde (1852-1899), journalist [more].