The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09339
Date: [20 May/June 1897][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Herbert Charles Pollitt[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Call Number: James McNeill Whistler Correspondence, 1890-1902, D30
Document Type: ALS

110. Rue du Bac -

My dear Pollit [sic] -

It is all right about the picture[3] - and I shall be back in about ten days or so - Dont run away - or not very far away - I have been ill - or something like it - which is more than enough for me! - A sort of influenza has had hold of me for the last six weeks! [p. 2] Of course I never dreamed of any thing of the kind - and the Doctor here has only just discovered it -

All work had to be stopped through sheer incapacity for continuing - and now I am to get a whif[f] of fresh air some where before returning to town -

I shall let you know when to expect me -

You ought to have been present at the trial[4] - but the Idyl on "the Expert" I know you would enjoy! -

Always sincerely

J McNeill Whistler

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1.  [20 May/June 1897]
Dated from the reference to JW's state of health, and to travel. In May 1897 JW wrote at various times of his suffering from 'flu (JW to M. Philip, 10 May 1897, #04661; JW to L. Kinsella, 7 May 1897, #11052). In #11052 he also mentions an imminent trip to London, which is restated in a letter to G. W. Vanderbilt, #09489. Later on in July JW went to Etretat, a seaside resort on the coast of Northern France, to recuperate from his illness.

2.  Herbert Charles Pollitt
Herbert Charles Pollitt (1871/1872-1942), patron [more].

3.  picture
Pollitt sat for Portrait of H. C. Pollitt (YMSM 452) in September 1896 and between July and September 1897. He was also portrayed in a lithograph (Portrait Study: Mr Herbert C. Pollitt (C.148)). See also H. C. Pollitt (M.1454).

4.  trial
Perhaps a reference to the recent libel action between Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more], and Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more]. Sickert had publicly alleged that Pennell's method in lithography of drawing on transfer paper instead of directly onto the lithographic stone could not be regarded as true lithography. JW supported Pennell at the trial in April 1897. Pennell subsequently won the case (see #08480, #13493).