The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08272
Date: [18 March 1894][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: David Croal Thomson[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 18/1517-8
Document Type: ALS[3]


110. Rue du Bac. Paris

Dear Mr Thomson -

Many thanks for your letter - Curiously enough I am in correspondence (!) with Alexander Ionides[4] about another matter so that I can write and ask to borrow that picture[5] for the Antwerp Exhibition - when he will have to tell me himself! So you need never say anything about your communication[6] -

I must say I can never [p. 2] understand the ways of your "House"[7] in their dealings with my pictures -

You buy the Battersea Bridge, and wise you are, in giving £400 - You ought certainly to get 1200 - at least -

And then you let the "Music Room"[8] go under your nose for five or six pounds over some miserable price to which you were limited - thereby showing a vacilating[9] [sic] state of mind as to your intentions own faith in the real worth of the very picture for which you had yourselves been asking a thousand only a week or two before!! - Whereby the Goupils do me in the market (the only place where they could affect me at all) as much harm as they possibly can! -

Do write and tell me if Graham Robertson[10] is in town - I have had no letter in answer to one I wrote to him wishing to borrow his pictures for Antwerp -

I wonder if Mr Alexander would lend? - !

It is very long since I have ever asked him - and this exhibition is very important -

I am glad to know that business is better in London - though I should never have dreamed of it - if you had not said so -

[p. 3] As to the Duret sale[11] - I have heard others say that it is not likely to meet with good prices at all - It is scarcely the best moment - and I don't know that large sums are given for those particular "Masters"?. so that I fancy my little Nocturne[12] will be lost as usual -

By the way - you know I have always the ["]Nocturne Blue & Silver[13]" that I got through you - Also I have the "Fire Wheel " -

You don't say anything about the final intention as to the lithograph[14] -

[butterfly signature]

Now that[15] you own the Battersea Bridge - will you not lend it for the Exhibition at Antwerp? - You might have as good a chance of selling it there as anywhere - & perhaps better for I understand that it is to be a very swell affair -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [18 March 1894]
Dated from Goupil's stamp on receipt.

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

3.  ALS
'17C' was written in an unknown hand in red ink at top left, '91' in pencil at bottom right of p.1.

4.  Alexander Ionides
Alexander ('Aleco') Ionides (1840-1898), businessman [more]. He had asked JW to help sell a collection of Tanagra statuettes.

5.  picture
Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge (YMSM 33), was not exhibited at Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp, 1894.

6.  your communication
Thomson had written to JW about the sale of this picture on 17 March 1894 (#05804).

7.  your House
The Goupil Gallery, Boussod, Valadon & Co.

8.  Music Room
Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room (YMSM 34), (see #05802 and #02679).

9.  vacilating
Double underlined.

10.  Graham Robertson
Walford Graham Robertson (1867-1948), painter, designer and collector [more], agreed to lend, and JW thanked him for lending Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder (YMSM 203) and Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (YMSM 73) (#09406).

11.  Duret sale
Théodore Duret (1838-1927), art critic and collector [more]. The sale was in Paris, Petit, 19 March 1894.

12.  little Nocturne
Nocturne: Grey and Silver (YMSM 156), lot 42, was bought for 4000 francs by Knoedler (see #02433).

13.  Nocturne Blue & Silver
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Battersea Reach (YMSM 152) and Nocturne: Black and Gold - The Fire Wheel (YMSM 169).

14.  lithograph
See #05803.

15.  Now that [...] affair -
'Now that ... affair' was written in the left margin of p. 3 at right angles to the main text.