The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01721
Date: [30 November 1887?][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Editor, Globe[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G87
Document Type: ALdI


SirTo the Editor of the Globe -

Sir -

Though it is not necessary that the "Art Critic" should distinguish between one etching and another, or otherwise understand anything of the matter of which he writes in that state of life in which it has pleased God to call him, yet, as I have before now pointed out, he might enquire. -

Had your expounder of Exhibitions[3] asked the Secretary[4] of in the Galleries of the Royal Society of British Artists, he would have been told that the etchings on the staircase, and in the vestibule, are all of them new, and now shown in public for the first time. -

Thus easily provided with paragraph, he would also have been spared the mortification of rebuke from his employers for printing in the issue of the Globe of tuesday Nov. 29th: "Mr Whistler has furnished the staircase and vestibule corridor with proofs of many of his etchings, most of which we have seen before".

Let the Gentleman be warned - and let him be told that in future he is not to think - but to inform himself.

Let the Gentleman[5] be warned & let him learn that the well conducted Critic of Art who understands himself never looks - he informs himself -

& let him learn that the well conducted Critic foolish Critic, only, looks - and brings disaster upon his paper -

[p. 2] Let the gentleman be warned - let him learn that the foolish Critic[6] only, looks, and brings disaster upon his paper - the safe and well conducted one, informs himself.


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1.  [30 November 1887?]
Dated from reference to an article published in the Globe, 29 November 1887. A second draft of this letter is #01722, which is fully annotated.

2.  Editor, Globe
Not identified.

3.  Exhibitions
Winter Exhibition, Royal Society of British Artists, London, 1887-1888.

4.  the Secretary
Horace Henry Cauty (1846-1909), historical and genre painter [more].

5.  Let the Gentleman
This and the next paragraph were written in the left margin.

6.  the foolish Critic
The contrast between the wise and the foolish is a theme of the biblical books of wisdom; see for example Proverbs 10.14, 'Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction', or Proverbs 13.20, 'He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed'.