The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01488
Date: [26/30 March 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: John Gerald Potter [2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F420b
Document Type: ALd


LE       189   

My dear Potter -

I cannot help writing to you to congratulate you upon my beautiful pictures! - Are they not really lovely? - I quite Now that I see them again I am filled with wonder to think that you I should have personally known in a sort of easy way comfortable [ententé?] way friendly way - any one absolutely possessing such exquisite works! as these are - And in what a perfect condition! - Now - for some of them were in an abominable state when they came to me - but I took great pains with them and they were cleaned under my own supervision - and varnished, and returned to the pure state in which they originally left my hands - Of course it is a rare chance that they should be cared for in this way by myself - and I take this occasion to beseech you always to keep them under glass - The climate and smoke of England make it absolutely imperative - Look at the paintings in the National Gallery - how well they are cared for attended to with what precautions they are surrounded! I hope you are as pleased as I am with my new frames - at last the pictures have a dress worthy their own dignity and stateliness, Wherefore you may thank me for at last finally inventing them - You see it takes years to know these things - and by the way what an execrable knobly [sic] horror was round your "Blue Wave, Biarritz[4]!"

"The little White Girl[5]" also ought to have a new frame. to at The old one is quite too weak for the picture - but there was no time to alter that - Do order one from Mr Grau[6]. 570. Fulham Road. His prices are very little - and your the pictures represent so much in comparison to what they cost! - I wonder what you gave me for the Blue Wave? - 50? - or 30? - and now The Little White Girl is worth a thousand at least -

I do trust you will keep the works in the frames I have put upon[7] them - and so pay the little man Grau - You see I have only honours at present - and cannot well afford to go round and remake the toilette of my pictures - but for the one who owns them, the sum must be of the smallest, and the advantage derived enormous - I say this because, - you would scarcely believe it - but I have met with something very like opposition, instead of gratitude, for the care I bestow upon my pictures even after they cease to be in my possession! - This however I know would not be the case with you - and indeed with the others they all ended by perceiving that the value of the works was greatly enhanced by this attention that I bestow upon them - Still there was a foolish rumour to the effect that you were opposed to all that I was doing for you! — and there dispatches telegrams from you to the Goupils[8] forbidding them to allow Mr Whistler to touch the pictures!! - As if the poor Goupils could venture to prevent Mr Whistler saving his own works! -

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1.  [26/30 March 1892]
Dated from the reference to JW's exhibition (see below); on 25 March 1892 JW asked D. C. Thomson for Potter's address (#08354) and this letter presumably was sent shortly afterwards.

2.  John Gerald Potter
John Gerald Potter (1829-1908), wallpaper manufacturer and patron [more].

This draft is written on a letter from the Hotel Foyot, #13543.

4.  Blue Wave, Biarritz
Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41).

5.  The little White Girl
Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52).

6.  Mr Grau
Frederick H. Grau (d. 1894/1895), picture framer [more].

7.  upon
'upon them ... rumour' is written on p. 1; 'to the effect!' in the top margin of p. 1.

8.  Goupils
The pictures were for JW's one-man exhibition, Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892.