The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07263
Date: 18 February 1896
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1251
Document Type: ALS


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

Feb. 18th 1896.

My dear friend,

At last! Your letter[2] of 2nd inst. came to hand on 15th, too late for reply before this, as the "Germanic" was two days late. I will take your letter up seriatum.[3] (I just throw in that last word as it sounds well.)

I am glad to find that actually some good does come out of Nazareth[4] after all, and that the "big medicine man" of America is more than holding his own in the world of Science and medicine. We may not be great discoverers but certainly are great improvers and developers.

I am indeed gratified to find that Madame[5] is making progress towards recovery. This is good news indeed, and I hope the improvement will be steady & continuous. I am also pleased about your lithograph show[6] & it's great success. I don't think you do us justice here however, as our clientèle is local to a great [p. 2] degree & England (London) has the world for a market. However, I am glad that the affair is a success & that the stones are worn out, so many have been disposed of by the urbane & benevolent gentlemen who have charge of your interests. They are the best people though, as Brown[7] with all his faults is a Sincere admirer of yours. Yes, by your account of the remarkable success of the lithos. I feel this size [sketch of small man] instead of my customary al-ti-tude [sketch of large man], but though now compressed I shall soon resume my customary usual height. I think however, from first to last I have bought about 1000/-/- worth of lithos. from you, and then who has disposed of as many etchings? Besides I have made many an admirer who bought abroad and not here. These things must not be lost sight of! I am growing taller!! I should like very much to know what lithographs are out of print. Will you kindly [p. 3][8] note this and let me know?

What a thundering lot of money you must have spent to be sure!

Well, I've been fortunate the past year, so if you are pushed to the wall, you can call on me.

The red note[9] came here. I expected something of quite another Character.

I did not have a show of Trilby "truck"[10]. You are thinking of little Brown or of Avery[11]. I see you have not forgotten the American word "truck".

You say that the F. A. S. have a mighty good mouthful out of the lithographs. How is this? What has come over you? This is what I have been clamoring for for years. Not a meal, but merely a mouthful, & yet have had to be contented with a taste! I must attend to this when I see you and find out by what tic-tacs or diplomacy our friends get such good terms.

[p. 4] No, I've taken advantage of an occas[ion] not far back to "say nothing about it" and keep it dark, & that was the proposed visit of a distinguished painter to America with his wife. However, I'll think of it (what you say). - As to "Fire Wheel[12]" I have been waiting, thinking that I could show it (and beat the tom-tom) along with a lot of other things by you, including the portrait painting & the two girls[13] - one unfinished.

Thomson[14] said you were going to have an exhibition at his place & I thought that we might be favoured.

You notice how Salisbury[15] tried to bluff Cleveland[16]? And the shock he (the noble Marquis) received?

The noble markis [sic] has come off his lofty perch and things look brighter.

Your friend Chase[17] has gone to Madrid & has a lot of people with him.

Blum[18] keeps in his hole at 96 Grove St. - a hermit crab. Weir[19] going on in the old way.

I'll try a shy at the museum with the La Petrolleuse - Carmen[20]. I'd hate to meet her on a dark night, to tell you the truth. She is the most cut-throat [p. 5] looking person I've seen for many a day. Good painting though. Stanford White[21] said he was going out of town and would come in to-day. So far I've not seen him, but he is a very busy man & will be in the first Chance he has.

Hoping to have continued good news and with kindest remembrances to Mrs. Whistler, I am, as ever,

Sincerely Yours,

E. G. Kennedy.

I am going to have a show of lithographs & presume you will not object to have several of [p. 6] yours among them as I hope to increase the interest in that way. The bundle of lithographs have not come yet.

Brilliant skies & generally fine weather here. To-day 6 below zero Farenheit [sic] and a lively breeze. It is cold!


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

2.  letter

3.  seriatum
Seriatim, adverb, one after the other, in order.

4.  Nazareth
Alluding to John 1.46 - 'Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?'

5.  Madame
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. She had terminal cancer.

6.  lithograph show
Mr Whistler's Lithographs, The Fine Art Society, London, 1895.

7.  Brown
Ernest George Brown (1853 or 1854-1915), assistant manager at the Fine Art Society [more].

8.  [p. 3]
The printed address header is repeated at the top of pp. 3 and 5, as on p. 1. Also written, in pencil in another hand, at the top of p. 3, is 'II / Feb 18th '96', and at the top of p. 5, 'III / Feb 18th '96'.

9.  red note
Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441).

10.  Trilby 'truck'
Drawings for Du Maurier, George, 'Trilby,' Harper's New Monthly Magazine, serialised, begun 1 January 1894; reprinted (expunged) as Trilby: A Novel, New York, 1894; regular ed., London and New York, 1895.

11.  Avery
Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), print-publisher, collector and philanthropist [more].

12.  Fire Wheel
Nocturne: Black and Gold - The Fire Wheel (YMSM 169).

13.  the two girls
Whistler in his Studio (YMSM 63).

14.  Thomson
David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), art dealer [more].

15.  Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil (1830-1903), 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, MP and Conservative party leader [more].

16.  Cleveland
Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), 22nd and 24th U. S. President [more]. The dispute, which had threatened to escalate into war, was over the boundaries of Venezuela and British Guiana. Cleveland had invoked the Monroe doctrine, and on 18 December 1895 told Congress that any attempt by Britain to enforce claims against Venezuela would be considered a cause for war. The issue was only resolved by arbitration three years later. See current reports in the London Times, 13 and 15 February 1896, (pp. 5 and 7, col. d, respectively).

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

18.  Blum
Robert Frederick Blum (1857-1903), artist [more].

19.  Weir
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), painter and etcher [more]

20.  La Petrolleuse - Carmen
Crimson note: Carmen (YMSM 441). a portrait of Carmen Rossi, model, proprietess of the Académie Carmen [more].

21.  Stanford White
Stanford White (1853-1906), architect [more].