The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08304
Date: [24 April 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: David Croal Thomson[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac - Paris -

My dear Mr. Thomson -

I was very glad to get your letter[4] - and the enclosed notice -

You had better tell the gentleman at once that the marine picture is not "Courbet on the Shore[5]."

The only painting by me of Courbet, and well known it is, was at one time in the possession of Dr. Cavafy[6] - and after I had again obtained it, I sold it to Mrs. John Gardner[7] -

It now hangs in her house in Boston - U.S.A.! So that's all right -

[p. 2] The present little sea piece used to be called as well as I remember: "Sea and Rain"[8] -

I am sending you the letter, of M. M. Octave Mirbeau[9] & Francis Viélé-Griffin, in reply to - Mr George Moore's[10] Interview in the English papers -

You will find it very clear, I fancy! -

It was published in the Times of the 9th, more or less done into English - but some parts - especially the ending - was quoted in the original French -

I shall also send you an Interview of my own[11]! Which leaves but little to be said of the Baronet[12] business! -

However if you had followed the letters in the Pall Mall[13] they sufficiently exhausted this matter -

Did you read the one in reply to "Q C[14]." - There was the whole thing in a nut shell -

What about the sale of Oscar's[15] things in Tite Street? -

There is a little brown paper drawing[16] that curiously enough I believe he bought at the sale of the White House when I was in Venice - one of the scrapings [p. 3] of the studio as usual - but I daresay pretty - I think Mrs Whistler[17] would like to have it -

You might look in and see what it might be had for -

Very sincerely

J McN Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


D. C. Thomson - Esq.
The Goupil Galleries.
5. Regent Street
[postmark:] PARIS. 80 / R. DU BAC/ 3E 26 / AVRIL / 95 [postmark on verso:] LONDON. S.W. / EA / AP 25 / 95


1.  [24 April 1895]
Dated by postmark.

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

3.  ALS
'13A' is written in another hand in red ink at top left, and '132' in pencil at bottom right of p. 1, and also on the envelope.

4.  letter
Not located; the notice was presumably that advertising the Wilde sale (see below), a facsimile of which is reproduced in Gere, Charlotte, and Lesley Hoskins, The House Beautiful: Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Interior, London, 2000, p. 106.

5.  Courbet on the Shore
Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), painter [more], who appears in Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 64).

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

7.  Mrs. John Gardner
Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924), née Stewart, collector [more].

8.  Sea and Rain
Sea and Rain (YMSM 65).

9.  Octave Mirbeau
The letter from Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917), novelist, art critic and amateur painter [more], and Francis Vielé-Griffin (1863/1864-1937), poet [more], to G. Moore (15 March 1895, #04081), originally published in L'Indépendance Belge, was reprinted in English in The Times, 9 April 1895. JW had challenged Moore to a duel on 12 March 1895, #04181.

10.  Mr George Moore's
George Moore (1852-1933), novelist and art critic [more]. An interview with Moore published as 'A Picture and a Challenge. The Strange Story of Mr. Whistler and Mr. Moore', The Daily Chronicle, 29 March 1895, was condensed and retold in 'The Gentle Art of Duelling. Mr. Whistler and Mr. Moore', Westminster Gazette, 29 March 1895.

11.  interview of my own
First published in the Manchester Guardian, see JW to H. Vivian, [9 April 1895], #09495.

12.  Baronet
JW's dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), which went to court on 6 March 1895.

13.  letters in the Pall Mall
A sequence of letters appearing in the Pall Mall Gazette on the case of Eden v. Whistler included: Whistler, James McNeill, 'The Baronet's Valentine,' The Pall Mall Gazette, 1 March 1895, Whistler, James McNeill, 'The Baronet's Indiscretions,' The Pall Mall Gazette, 6 March 1895, Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to the Editor], The Pall Mall Gazette, 11 March 1895, Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to Francis Vielé-Griffin and Octave Mirbeau], The Pall Mall Gazette, 25 March 1895, Anon., 'The Eden Case,' The Pall Mall Gazette, 21 March 1895, Whistler, James McNeill, 'Eden v. Whistler,' The Pall Mall Gazette, 29 March 1895; see Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B. 82-88.

14.  Q C
Frederick Morton Eden (1829-1917), Barrister [more], wrote to the Pall Mall Gazette on [8 March 1895], #13197, and JW replied on 11 March 1895, #11019.

15.  Oscar's
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more], who was declared bankrupt and the contents of his home at 16 Tite Street home forcibly sold at auction on 24 April 1895, just before his trial. On 6 April 1895 Wilde was charged at Bow Street Police Court with offences under Section II of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885. The trial began at the Old Bailey on 26 April, but the jury disagreed. On 20 May the second trial began; on 25 May he was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour. After six months in Pentonville and Wandsworth he served the rest of his sentence in Reading Gaol; see Hyde, H. Montgomery, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, London, 1948.

16.  brown paper drawing
r.: Maud Franklin; v.: Study of Maud Franklin (M.693) was sold at JW's bankruptcy sale, Sotheby, London, 12-13 February 1880 (lot 82) and described incorrectly as a portrait of Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), née Henrietta Rosine Bernard, actress [more]. It was bought by O. Wilde, and sold at the Wilde sale, Bullock, London, 24 April 1895 (lot 123), where it was bought for JW by D. C. Thomson for 15 gns (see #05817). Wilde mentions the loss of this drawing in his prison letter, De Profundis (Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, p. 713).

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