The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 00593
Date: 3 September 1885
Author: William Merritt Chase[1]
Place: Zandvoort[2]
Recipient: JW
Place: [Dieppe?]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C94
Document Type: ALS

My dear Whistler

Your letter[3] - with contents contained - reached me last night[.] I have only to repete [sic] Suit your pleasure! If this portrait[4] is prooving [sic] a dreadful [boare?] to you & there is any danger of your coming to hate the very sight of me? I beg you to give it up, and forget that it was ever [p. 2] begun. My only thought in asking you to paint me was that you might feel perfect liberty to do as you like[d?].

You must not worry about me or my work! I am in possession of a little bug of my own (which I alone have controll [sic] of) and whose wings are looked after with quite as much care as you do after the wings of your beloved butterfly. As I wrote [p. 3] you the other day - I'm off in a day or so for home. I shall be very glad to see you[5] in New York and if I can, do anything for you there I shall only be to[o] glad[.] My address is 51. West Tenth st.

I remain
Sincerely yours

Wm M. Chase


Sept 3rd 1885

[p. 4] 'Chase[6]'

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

2.  Zandvoort
Chase was painting at Zandvoort in Holland. He had recently met JW during a brief stay in London before commencing his trip to Holland. JW joined him there in August where they visited Antwerp, Haarlem and the International Exhibition in Amsterdam. In September, JW moved on to Dieppe in northern France, where he stayed at the Maison Goude with Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more], and his wife. Chase may have written this letter to JW there.

3.  letter
Letter untraced. However, this may be a reply to JW to W. M. Chase, #13337. In this letter, JW returned a total of £70 that Chase had apparently paid him for painting his portrait (see note below) as he was dissatisfied with the result.

4.  portrait
The meeting with JW led to his beginning a portrait of Chase, Portrait of William M. Chase (YMSM 322). Chase also painted a portrait of JW, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

5.  see you
While JW declared his intention to visit America on a number of occasions the trip never materialised. However he did publish a letter in the World on 13 October 1886 indicating his proposed arrival in New York in December. He also mocked Chase's dandified portrait of him as 'a monstrous lampoon' (see Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 184-85).

6.  Chase
Written by JW. Double underlined.