The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07201
Date: 31 August 1892
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1189
Document Type: ALS

[scroll:] H. WUNDERLICH[3] & CO.
H W & CO.
868 B'WAY N- Y-

Aug. 31 / 92.

Dear Mrs. Whistler

I have received your last letter and am sorry that Mr. Whistler has, in a sense, resolved to not have any exhibition in 1893 in our gallery. I bought the pictures from Carvafy[4] [sic], in order to show them then, so I must keep them until the show takes place, as I won't show them before then.

I am sorry that Mr. Whistler has arrived at this Conclusion as I think he is money out of pocket by it.

I wrote from London not to insure the pictures to America, as we always have a floating insurance policy here and the terms abroad are absurdly high. Never insure any thing coming here as we insure on [p. 2] this side. I had rather the pictures had gone to anyone else than Durand Ruel[5] for various reasons. However what is done is done.

I wrote to you from London that the reason I did not order three frames was, that we make our own frames, and thus save duty on the frames, besides making a better article, or rather one which won't split or crack in our climate.

As I write, nothing has yet been heard of the paintings.

I should also say that I told Richards[6] not to send the old frames but just the canvasses, thus saving expenses to both of us. This has evidently been neglected.

But why this anxiety as to frames [p. 3] and not a single word as to the paintings themselves? I expected some commendation of the "Battersea Bridge[7]," if not of the others. Not that I require it, as if I believe in any thing, it makes no difference what anyone says. But they were sent to Paris for your especial pleasure.

If the paintings have not left Paris when this reaches you, do not insure them, as they are insured here. I have seen Mr. Carter[8], also Mr. Mansfield[9] before he left New York.

I hope the portrait will turn out as well as you expect. In any case I shall be interested in seeing it, as it looked well on the plate. [p. 4] and as to Mr. Whistler thinking it may be a failure, Mr. Carter says it is very fine &c. and of course what he says "goes".

Our Opera house[10] has been badly injured by fire, but more by water.

A United States vessel is going to Europe to collect works of Art for Chicago. What is Mr. Whistler going to do? Is he going to exhibit? I have been fishing in Lake Champlain[11], superb scenery, weather cool and pleasant. You ought to see Lake George Ticonderoga &c[12]. - magnificent.

I did not catch many fish, as the weather was not favorable, but I succeeded in catching the rheumatism.

I am glad that you are making good progress with the house & have no doubt but that I shall be surprised when I return to Paris at what you shall have then accomplished. Vedder, Millet[13], &c. in Chicago, decorating World's fair buildings. I understand that everything is on a magnificent scale, and that the world will be surprised, at the progress of Art, Science &c. in this Country[.] [p. 5][14] It may be so.

Dog days now, damp and sticky and hot. Why wasn't I born rich instead of handsome? Why this fatal gift of beauty? as Oscar Wilde[15] would say. By the way, Oscar is coming over, so of Course, Mr. Whistler must come too.

Hoping to receive the Consuls certificate and bill of lading by next mail,

I am, with best regards to both,
Yours Sincerely,

E. G. Kennedy.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

Hermann Wunderlich (ca 1839 - d.1892), print dealer [more].

4.  Carvafy
JW meant Dr John Cavafy (ca 1839-1901), physician and collector, son of G. J. Cavafy [more].

5.  Durand Ruel
Paul Durand-Ruel (1828 or 1831-1922), Paris art dealer, or one of his sons, Joseph (1862-1928), Charles (1865-1892) or Georges (1866-1931).

6.  Richards
Stephen Richards (b. ca 1845), picture restorer [more].

7.  Battersea Bridge
Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33).

8.  Mr. Carter
Possibly Walter Steuben Carter (1824-1904), lawyer [more].

9.  Mr. Mansfield
Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), New York lawyer, print collector [more].

10.  Opera house
On 27 August 1892, the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, was destroyed by fire, after a workman painting scenery for a forthcoming production dropped a lighted cigarette.

11.  Lake Champlain
Scenic lake bordering the states of New York and Vermont and lying between the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondack Mountains to the west.

12.  Lake George Ticonderoga & c
Popular summer resort in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, New York State.

13.  Vedder & Millet
Elihu Vedder (1836-1923), painter, sculptor and illustrator, jury member for works in oil for the World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893; Louis J. Millet, designer and muralist, superintendent of architectural and decorative exhibits at the Chicago Exposition.

14.  [p. 5]
Kennedy has numbered this page '3', although it is the fifth side of text.

15.  Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].