UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Fantin-Latour, Ignace Henri J. T.
Record 40 of 110

System Number: 08038
Date: [5/26] April [1864][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Henri Fantin-Latour[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/33/18
Document Type: ALS[3]


7. Lindsey Row.
Old Battersea bridge
Chelsea. London.

Mardi. Avril.
'1864[4]'

Je sais une chose charmante pour toi, et je vais te la dire en secret cela m'a été confié avec beaucoup de précautions - Dimanche j'ai passé la matinée avec mon ami l'Academicien[5] que tu connais, - nous avons pas mal causé, seulement il est entendu que rien ne se repète. ainsi garre! - Promets moi de ne rien dire - c'est plus important que tu ne le supose. Je t'ai déja conté que je lui avais écrit à propos de tes deux bouquets[6], que les Grecs[7] m'avaient dit avoir envoyé - et bien une des premières choses qu'il m'a dit, était, "Les bouquets de Mons. Fantin sont ravissants! Je les ai vu tous deux et ils sont bien complets!" - Il les a accroché en pendants! l'un d'un coté, et l'autre de l'autre coté d'un plus grand tableau, à la hauteur de l'épaule [p. 2] de sorte que c'est parfait - Il m'en a beaucoup parlé - et d'une manière excessivement simpathique - il voudrait voir de toi un grand tableau et alors je lui ai causé de ton envoie[8] au salon - Je suis tres pressé et je ne te ferai donc pas un conte rendu de notre conversation - du reste tu sais j'espère bientôt te revoir -

Pour moi j'ai compris, car je n'ai pas trop voulu presser les questions, et il est plus facile de parler d'un tiers, enfin j'ai pu voir que ma Japponaise[9] l'a énormement plu et qu'elle aura une bonne place, la Tamise[10] est également accepté et sera bien accroché - La marine[11] je suppose risque d'être sacrifié aux deux autres - mais nous verons. - Et bien! es tu satisfait? - L'Ex Voto[12], est aussi tres bien aprécié et bien pendu, mais je crois que notre vieux peintre à trouvé bien plus personel tes fleurs car il en a parlé avec un accent de plus grand plaisir.

J'ai l'idée que le salon ici va être assez cocasse et meritra bien la peine de ta traversée, ainsi à ma prochaine visite j'espère te ramener avec moi.

[p. 3] Maintenant mon cher Fantin je crains que tu n'aies été embeté teriblement par des chapeaux de dame etc . . . qui te sont arrivés dernierement! - des commissions de ma mère[13] qu'on me destinait et dont tu te trouves entourés - Ecris donc un petit mot pour dire ce qui en est - Si on a envoyé une caisse contenant des chapeaux - si tu l'as recu et si tu as été forcé à payer une somme là dessus - afin qu'on te debarasse de suite - -

Dilberoglou[14] me charge de te dire que si ton "Tannhauser[15]" n'est pas vendu, il sera très heureux de te l'acheter! - Naturelement tu me raconteras tout ce qu'il y a à raconter sur les on dits du Salon, et du Café de Bade[16], et surtout sur ta petite visite chez la Japonaise. à propos les "objets" me sont parvenus, et je te remercie encore une fois -

A bientot mon cher Fantin

Whistler.

Mes compliments a ta famille

Je[17] te prie mon cher Fantin ne lache pas un mot de ce ci à personne - Tu ne sais pas combien j'y tiens.

[p. 4] 'fond sable[18]
bouton
cuire
160'


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Tuesday. April. '1864'

I know of a charming thing for you, and I shall tell you it in secret it was confided in me with much precaution - On Sunday I spent the morning with my friend the member of the Academy whom you know, - we chatted a good deal, but it was understood that nothing be repeated. so beware! - Promise me that you will say nothing - it is more important than you imagine. I have already told you that I had written to him about your two bouquets, that the Greeks told me they had sent - well one of the first things he said to me, was, "Mr Fantin's bouquets are delightful! I have seen both of them and they are quite complete!" - He has hung them up as a pair! one on one side, the other on the other side of a larger painting, at shoulder height [p. 2] such that it is perfect - He spoke a great deal to me about them - and in an excessively sympathetic manner - he would like to see a large painting of yours and so I told him about what you are sending to the salon - I am in a great hurry and will thus not give you a summary of our conversation - besides, you know, I hope to see you again soon -

As for me I saw, for I did not want to ply him too much with questions, and it is easier to talk of a third party, anyway I could see that he liked my Japanese woman greatly and that she will have a good place, the Thames has also been accepted and will be hung well - I suppose the sea-view risks being sacrificed to the two others - but we shall see. - Now then! are you satisfied? - The Ex Voto is also greatly appreciated and hung well, but I think our old painter found your flowers much more personal for he spoke about them with the greatest pleasure.

I have the impression that the salon here will be quite droll and will make your crossing worthwhile, so on my next visit I hope to bring you back with me. [p. 3]

Now my dear Fantin I fear that you have been terribly bothered by ladies hats etc… which you have received lately! - commissions for my mother which were meant for me and with which you are surrounded - So write me a little note to tell me what the situation is - If a crate containing hats has been sent - if you have received it and if you were obliged to pay a sum for it - in order that we can rid you of it immediately - -

Dilberloglou asks me to tell you that if your "Tannhauser" is not sold, he will be very happy to buy it from you! Naturally you will tell me all there is to tell about gossip from the Salon, and the Café de Bade, and especially about your little visit to the Japanese woman. by the way the "objects" have reached me, and I thank you once again -

I'll write again soon my dear Fantin

Whistler

My regards to your family

[cross-written on p.1:] I beg you my dear Fantin, do not say a word of this to anybody - You do not know how important it is to me.

'sandy background / button / leather [(cuir), or 'cooking' (cuire)] / 160'


Notes:

1.  [5/26] April [1864]
The year written on the letter in another hand is confirmed by references to exhibitions (see below). Tuesdays fell on 5, 12, 19 and 26 April 1864.

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

3.  ALS
'17' is written in another hand at the top of p. 1.

4.  1864
Possibly written in another hand.

5.  l'Academicien
William Boxall (1800-1879), portrait painter, Director of the National Gallery [more], who is mentioned again in JW's next letter to Fantin-Latour (#08039).

6.  deux bouquets
Two paintings entitled Fleurs were bought by C. A. Ionides and are now in the Ionides Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum (H. Fantin-Latour, Fleurs (FL.244) (z104) and H. Fantin-Latour, Fleurs (FL.245) (z105)). They are probably the same two paintings exhibited at the 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864, cat. nos. 212 and 259, under the title 'Flowers'.

7.  Grecs
Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890), shipping merchant and collector [more], and family.

8.  envoie
Fantin-Latour exhibited two paintings at the 82nd exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artists vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1864, cat. nos. 677 and 678 ('Scène du Tannhauser'); see H. Fantin-Latour, Tannhauser: Venusberg (FL.233) (z109), and H. Fantin-Latour, Hommage à Eugène Delacroix (FL.227) (z100).

9.  Japponaise
Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks (YMSM 47), which was shown at the 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864 (cat. no. 593).

10.  Tamise
Wapping (YMSM 35) was well hung and reviewed at the Royal Academy, op. cit. (cat. no. 585).

11.  marine
JW painted several seascapes at Biarritz and Guéthary in the Basses-Pyrénèes in 1862, and it may be that one of these, possibly Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41),was rejected by the Royal Academy.

12.  L'Ex Voto
A. Legros, L'Ex Voto (z9) was painted in 1860 by Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more]. W. M. Rossetti thought it the masterpiece of the Royal Academy exhibition of 1864 (Rossetti, William Michael, Fine Arts Quarterly Review, October 1864). See also Royal Academy, op. cit. (cat. no. 230); and Alphonse Legros, 1837-1911, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, 1987-1988, catalogue by Timothy Wilcox, cat. no. 16.

13.  mère
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

14.  Dilberoglou
Staurus or Stavros Dilberoglue (1811-1878), merchant, of Cavafy and Co. [more].

15.  Tannhauser
H. Fantin-Latour, Tannhauser: Venusberg (FL.233) (z109), one of several paintings, drawings and prints inspired by the music of Richard Wagner, was exhibited at the Salon (see above) and bought shortly afterwards for 2.000 frs. by Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890), shipping merchant and collector [more]; see Druick, Douglas and Michel Hoog, Fantin-Latour, Paris, 1982, pp. 148-60, cat. no. 50.

16.  Café de Bade
West bank café, one of the favourite meeting places of Fantin, JW, and the circle of Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), painter [more].

17.  Je
'Je te prie ... tiens' is cross-written on p. 1.

18.  fond sable
'fond sable ... 160', written by Fantin-Latour, and apparently nothing to do with the letter.