UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09639
Date: [March/April 1882][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Théodore Duret[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Call Number: Met 192 W57/W576
Document Type: ALS[3]


Mon cher Duret -

Il est enfin parti mon "Arrangement en Noir. No. 5."[4]! ['Ly Meux'][5] - et doit être rendu demain ou apres [sic] demain à la maison Goupil - Les Goupil vous savez ayant des representants ici, have taken all the trouble off my hands -

Allez donc mon cher Duret tout de suite voir dans quel condition se trouve le tableau - Je crains que tout ça n'est pas tout a fait bien - d'abord j'ai eu le tort de le mal vernir la veille de son départ - and the varnish may have "bloomed" - you understand - so that the picture [p. 2] may have become covered with a sort of nasty thick blue veil - in which case it will want gently rubbing with a soft silk handkerchief - and afterwards when it is hung in the Salon[6], just before the opening it will want to be well varnished again -

Do ask Goupil to see to all this -

Meanwhile I have written also to Ephrussy[7] and hope they will both go with you, and that they will like the picture -

The Meux[8] have not paid me yet!! -

I hope to run over to Paris some day soon -

Do like a good fellow write me a long letter and tell me if you are still pleased with your god child - for after all you know it is you who have fathered this black "harmony"!

Always devotedly and gratefully
Yours

[butterfly signature]

13 Tite Street. Chelsea.
London.

I see that there is to be an Exhibition[9] in the Rue du Seze with Alfred Stevens and de Nitis[10] at the head - Do you not think that I might send as representing America? I should very much like to let them have the other picture[11] that you were so well pleased with [p. 3] I mean the one of Madame in black - with the black hat and red feather - In a certain way you know as execution we were both of opinion that it was a progress and I think the one would appeal to the artists and explain or help the other - Will you ask about all this and let me know?
Of course I hope Manet[12] will go with you and like the picture -


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Translation:

My "Arrangement in Black. No. 5" has gone at last and should be delivered to Goupils tomorrow or the day after tomorrow - Goupils having representatives here as you know have taken all the trouble off my hands -

So my dear Duret go right away and see what condition the picture is in - I fear that something may not be quite right - to begin with I made the mistake of varnishing it badly the day before it left [...]


Notes:

1.  [March/April 1882]
This was probably written after another letter to Duret, [23 March 1882], #09205.

2.  Theodore Duret
Théodore Duret (1838-1927), art critic and collector [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Spencer, Robin, ed., Whistler: A Retrospective, New York, 1989, pp. 197-98.

4.  Arrangement en Noir. No. 5.
A reference to Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux (YMSM 228).

5.  ['Ly Meux']
Inserted in another hand.

6.  Salon
100th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1882.

7.  Ephrussy
Charles Ephrussi (1849-1905), writer, Director of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts [more], see #09077.

8.  Meux
Sir Henry Bruce Meux (1857-1900), 3rd Baronet, brewer and patron [more] and Lady Valerie Susan ('Susie') Meux (1847-1910), née Langdon, collector and patroness [more]. In 1881, Sir Henry Meux commissioned a series of three portraits Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux (YMSM 228), Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux (YMSM 229) and Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs (YMSM 230).

9.  Exhibition
Perhaps the Galerie Georges Petit.

10.  Alfred Stevens and de Nitis [sic]
Alfred Émile-Léopold Stevens (1823-1906), history and portrait painter [more], and Giuseppe de Nittis (1846-1884), painter and etcher [more], exhibited alongside John Everett Millais (1829-1896), artist [more] and others at the Exposition Internationale de Peinture, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1883.

11.  picture
Harmony in Black and Red (YMSM 236). 'Madame' was Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more].

12.  Manet
Edouard Manet (1832-1883), painter [more].