System Number: 09191
Date: [23 March 1867]
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 10 folder, W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS
HOTEL DE L'EUROPE
Saturday morning -
Early and cold -
Dear Lucas -
I was told yesterday afternoon, by a friend who had seen the Princesse Mathilde, Ct. de Nieuwerkerke - Giroux - and others, the day before, that - they had said Mr Whistler's pictures were splendid and so on - - - - that of course a swell place on the line is to be given to them - also spoke in greatest admiration of two magnificent etchings - and finally stated that the agitated question of his being English or American, they believed to be settled -
Now - you perceive? - this might be gently insinuated into the patriotic ear of the cove! don't you think? leaving it to him to clear up all doubts as [p. 2] to nationality, by the prominence of the position given to W's works, on the American line! so that England may no longer lay claim to this brilliant reputation etc - - - etc - - - -
Shall expect you on Monday or Tuesday - Do you think you could on your way call in at Willie's and put in your pocket a little whisky flask I forgot? also a very small rolled up sketch of Fantin's -
J. A. M. Whistler
'Jimmy Whistler'Mons George Lucas.
41. Rue de l'arc de Triomphe
Barrière de l'Etoile.
[stamp:] EMPIRE FRANCE / 20C POSTES 20C
[postmark:] DIEPPE / [...] / MAR / 67 / [...]
[on verso:] HOTEL DE L'EUROPE
[postmark on verso:] PARIS / 6E 23 / MARS / 67 / [...]
1. [23 March 1867]
Dated from postmark and also from Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 237, diary entry, 23 March: 'Letter from Whistler at Dieppe.' 23 March was a Saturday, and the letter must have reached Paris the same day (see note below).
JW had just left for London, having spent a couple of weeks in Paris between 5 and 22 March. G. A. Lucas recorded a visit from JW before his departure: 'Visit from Whistler who was to leave for London this evening.' See Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 237, diary entry, 22 March.
This letter was also published in Mahey, John A., 'The Letters of James McNeill Whistler to George A. Lucas,' Art Bulletin, XLIX, September 1967, pp. 247-57, Letter VI.
JW had submitted successfully several etchings to the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1867, including some of his etchings of the Thames.
According to William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more], JW told him that he had not been invited to exhibit in the British section of the Paris Exhibition. See W. M. Rossetti, quoted in Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 1, p. 140, diary entry, 29 March: 'He says that he never from first to last received any invitation to contribute to the British section of the Paris Exhibition. This might seem invidious, but the result is that he gets in the American section much more space than could have been allotted him in the British.'
Perhaps a reference to Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904), print-publisher, collector and philanthropist [more]. Avery was Art Commissioner for the United States Section at the Exposition. JW's participation in the United States section seems to have been already confirmed but he was probably asking Lucas to use his influence with Avery to ensure that his works were well-hung. Much to JW's annoyance, however, the works were ill-displayed (see JW to Lucas, 6 April 1867, #09192, and 20 November 1867, #09194) and he blamed Avery. Nevertheless, Avery went on to become one of JW's regular patrons during the 1870s. He bought rare proofs of JW's etchings, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and owned oils including Portrait of Whistler with Hat (YMSM 23).
13. him to
14. expect you
Lucas arrived in London early on Tuesday morning and seems to have gone directly to JW's house at 2 Lindsey Row (see Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 237, diary entry, 26 March).
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]. He had been in Paris since c. 8 March (see Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 236, diary entry, 8 March) and seems to have remained there after JW left for London (see note below).
16. sketch of Fantin's
JW was referring to Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more]. The identity of the sketch is not known. However, it may have been a preparatory sketch from a commission received by Fantin in 1867 to paint the Duchess of Fitzjames and her family. Although he never completed the commission, he did produce some preparatory sketches and three portraits, including H. Fantin-Latour, Portrait de la duchesse de Fitzjames (FL.299) (z33). Lucas complied with JW's request and collected the whisky flask and sketch the following day. See Randall, Lillian, ed., George A. Lucas: An American Art Agent in Paris, 1857-1909, Princeton, 1979, p. 237, diary entry, 24 March: 'At Willie Whistler's & got package for his brother.'
17. 'Jimmy Whistler'
Inscribed in ink in Lucas's hand, in left margin of envelope.