The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08162
Date: [July 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Max Williams[2]
Place: [New York]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 3/33
Document Type: ALS

110 Rue du Bac, Paris -

Dear Sir:

The picture you ask about is a "Nocturne in Black & Gold, The Fire Wheel[3]" -

This is and always has been one of my favourite pictures. I want [thousand?] guineas for it - fifteen hundred guineas for it - (£1575 -). If you buy it you may be sure that you are not making a bad stroke of business. The [p. 2] value of these things of mine has not decreased with time, and the days when only "two hundred pounds was charged for a pot of paint[4] flung in the face of the public" by Mr Whistler have gone by.

By the way, this is one of the works that especially roused the ire of Ruskin[5], resulting in the famous trial.

Yours truly,

J. McN. Whistler.

To Mr Max Williams.

'July. 1892[6]'

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [July 1892]
Dated in an unknown hand.

2.  Max Williams
Max Williams (d. 1928), New York dealer [more].

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

4.  pot of paint
JW is alluding to Ruskin's comment on Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170), which led JW to sue him for libel in 1878: 'I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' (see Merrill, Linda, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v. Ruskin', Washington and London, 1992, p. 47).

5.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

6.  July. 1892
Written in pencil in lower left-hand corner of sheet in another hand.