The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09680
Date: 10-11 June 1892[1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[2]
Place: Amsterdam
Repository: New York Public Library
Call Number: E. G. Kennedy I/16a, 17
Credit Line: Edward Guthrie Kennedy Papers / Manuscripts and Archives Division / The New York Public Library / Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Document Type: ALS[3]


LE Friday 10. June 1892

(p. 1)

Dear Mr. Kennedy -

It is all right! -

The answer to the telegram came:

Will not close. do not understand: Cavafy[4].

So thereupon he receives this morning - the letter of which I send you copy - I sent it to him indeed before going out last night - Now therefore my dear Mr. Kennedy we have the game in our hands - and I do think that for once I have let you in for a good thing -

Still your letter troubles me a little - for I do not like your feeling any anxiety - even for a while -

Now get together the £650. and appear with them at Mr. Cavafy's on Tuesday next, as I have told him you will, and take off the four pictures - And write (p. 2) and tell me if you are not pleased with your bargain -

Let us go over it - You are quite right: I expected you to pay £650. for three pictures and give me the fourth, as you clearly put it - (Only that fourth is not the Mère Gérard[5], but the Sea & Sand[6], of which, while telling you the story, I made the little sketch on the enveloppe, upon which you afterwards wrote your address - I enclose it also - that you may remember -

The Mère Gérard, was the other instance of folly I cited - the present I made to Swinburne[7] - you remember now!. - Voila. -

Now listen to me - You have always been most charming in all your relations with me - and I shall always remember the frank loyalty with which you, of your own natural sense of what is right, once handed over to me certain drawings that you had acquired elsewhere, and yet knew ought to be in (p. 3) my personal possession. - On n'est pas[8] plus gallant homme! -

Well then - I am willing to leave to yourself entirely - to show my full faith in your fondness for fair play - to leave to yourself the fixing of the conditions - if you honestly could be dissatisfied with things according to my "idea". -

I know[9] I am giving you a first rate thing.

You pay £650 - and take away the four pictures - You restore restore to me, as my share and my right, The sea piece: "Sea & Sand", and you keep

No. 1. The Balcony[10].
No. 2. The Westminster Bridge[11] -
No. 3. The Battersea[12], (afternoon or evening effect.)

I should say that you will have then a splendid hand! -

"The Balcony" you will only regret not being able to sell more than once! It represents easily from £700 - to £1000 - and I am sure you know your buyers in America already.

(p. 4) The "Westminster Bridge" - is of the period of "The Pool[13]" - a splendid picture - It has been unseen for years - and you can make a very great hit with it -

It should be very nicely and delicately cleaned - (Richards[14] had certainly better do this,) a glass and varnish it) a glass put on it - and you can do what you like I should say as to price - You will have a gem - and ought not to let it go under a thousand -

The No 3 - Battersea - is also a charming Whistler - wants cleaning, varnishing & glazing - and then you will see as to price - I should think £400 or £500 - But I must really see it again — . Now to sum up - Of course you will get the £650. all right - and go with it on the Tuesday - If on seeing the pictures you are not quite happy, then I will bind myself to return you the money, and keep the pictures myself - and I must say would be very glad to do so -

(p. 5) But telegraph to me at once that you are not going to back down on me on Tuesday - Let me know that that is all right and splendid - You said you know that you would borrow it - and . . . what am I writing! Of course you would never have allowed me to telegraph to Cavafy at all if there had been the least chance of my being left in the ditch! -

It is now Saturday - This letter I did not finish yesterday but wired you instead: "All right. Pictures ours. Letter follows". This morning have had letter from Cavafy[15] saying that he had recieved mine, by the same post that brought him the cheque from Bancroft!! and that he straight way returned the cheque!!! - Also I have a note just received from Bancroft himself furious[16]!! with Cavafy - So you see how complete the Comedy [p. 6] and what a good time we shall have of it by and bye!!

Wire at once -

Cavafy says he shall wait for you on Tuesday having thrown over the others -

Keep me informed -

With best wishes
Always Sincerely Yrs

J McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.



'June 11, 1892'
E. G. Kennedy, Esq.
care of Messrs. Muller & Co.
10 Doelenstraat -
Amsterdam -
[postmark:] PARIS 26 / GARE DU NORD / 11 / JUIN / [92?]


1.  10-11 June 1892
Dated by JW, and in an unknown hand on the envelope; the date is confirmed from the postmark and almanac.

2.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

3.  ALS
The paper is squared, the ink purple, and the envelope green.

4.  Cavafy
Dr John Cavafy (ca 1839-1901), physician and collector, son of G. J. Cavafy [more]; the telegram is #00561.

5.  Mère Gérard
La Mère Gérard (1) (YMSM 26).

6.  Sea & Sand
Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 64).

7.  Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), poet and critic [more].

8.  On n'est pas ... homme
Fr., You could not be more honourable.

9.  know
'Know' and 'first rate' are double-underlined.

10.  The Balcony
Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56).

11.  The Westminster Bridge
The Last of Old Westminster (YMSM 39).

12.  The Battersea
Battersea Reach (YMSM 45).

13.  The Pool
Wapping (YMSM 35).

14.  Richards
Stephen Richards (b. ca 1845), picture restorer [more].

15.  letter from Cavafy
Not located, but see #00562.

16.  furious
Double underlined. Bancroft was indeed furious; his letter is #00248.