The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 09733
Date: 5 August [1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[2]
Place: New York
Repository: New York Public Library
Call Number: E. G. Kennedy I/69
Credit Line: Edward Guthrie Kennedy Papers / Manuscripts and Archives Division / The New York Public Library / Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Document Type: ALS

110. Rue du Bac - Paris -

Aug 5 - '1895'

Now my dear O K - you really are entirely too innocent to be allowed out among The Chapmans[3] of this world alone! - It is most provoking - and moreover as you don't read your Gentle Art[4] you are without guide or compass, and easily imposed upon by the bland amiability of those gentlemen! -

Now if you will turn to the Bible of Art, you will see, at page 288 to 292, "Auto-Biographical", the whole explanation of the shady place given to the three girls[5] - for which Mr Chapman wanted 1000 pounds - As usual I behaved with [p. 2] great generosity - I went to him and offered to paint his portrait, full length - or that of his wife[6] - and make him a present of it, if he would give me that canvas that I might destroy it! But he would listen to nothing - and I told him that if he persisted in attempting to sell it, I would prevent him -

He saw nothing but the 1000 - and so I effectively put an end to the whole business by the letter which apparently [you] have never read - No doubt he and his brother[7] are great admirers of mine, for he always waited until I was hard up, and bought his pictures for nothing and is now seeing his way to sell them for large sums like his brother-in-law Potter[8] - who sold the "Blue Wave[9]," he paid me £50 for - for £1000. to Mr. Pope[10] -

By the way the "Sea & Rain[11]" (Ionides[12]) you liked so much, they are asking 300 guineas for - Ionides gave me £20. or 30 for! - And so they go on -

Is Chapman going to sell you the Bognor[13]?

I enclose the two latest from the Pall Mall[14] - which I suppose you will promise me no living eye shall look upon - whereas if you were less discreet you might send them to the N. Y. papers! -

I have received "The Clipper[15]". -

I am writing to Eddie[16] -

Yes £700. is a large price for a head - even though it be my own - It shows though that the Whistlers are not going down - and is [p. 3] a good reference for you, in pricing the other things -

Many thanks for the cheque for £44 - 5 - duly received -

Mr. Prange[17], (The Director of the Grafton Gallery) has the "Sarasate[18]", for sale - If you think you see the placing of it in America, you had better communicate with him - I suppose he will ask somewhere about £2000 or less - I have given him my lowest inside price - and of course he will want to make his large profit -

He stirred me up about the picture after you had gone - telling me he thought he could place it - So I had it looked up, and varnished, and it is in splendid condition -

You will be grieved to hear that we are still far from well! My wife[19] has been suffering much - and the weather has been terrible for her - but we are going to some French Springs at the end of the week I[20] hope, which I trust will give her health & strength again -

With[21] all our kindest remembrances,

J McN Whistler

Surely[22] you must not have opened the portfolio of etchings, for folded up separately, on the top I place the Westminster proof, Signed, for Mrs. Gardner[23].

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


'Aug. 5 /95'

E. G. Kennedy. Esq.
868 Broadway -
New York -
U. S. A.
Etats Unis[24]
[postmark:] PARIS-80 / R. DU BAC / 7E /1 6 / AOUT / 95
[postmark on verso:] P.O.N.Y. / 8 - 23 - 95 / PAID ALL


1.  5 August [1895]
The year has been added in another hand on p. 1, and the date in another hand on the envelope.

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

3.  Chapmans
Alfred Chapman (1839-1917), engineer and collector [more].

4.  Gentle Art
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.

5.  three girls
Pink and Grey: Three Figures (YMSM 89).

6.  wife
Mrs Alfred Chapman, wife of the collector [more]

7.  brother
Possibly George R. Chapman (b. 1834), artist [more], or Dr Chapman.

8.  Potter
John Charles Potter (1854-1920), wallpaper manufacturer and collector [more].

9.  Blue Wave
Blue and Silver: Blue Wave, Biarritz (YMSM 41).

10.  Mr. Pope
Alfred Atmore Pope (1842-1913), manufacturer and collector [more].

11.  Sea & Rain
Sea and Rain (YMSM 65).

12.  Ionides
Alexander ('Aleco') Ionides (1840-1898), businessman [more].

13.  Bognor
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Bognor (YMSM 100).

14.  Pall Mall
The Pall Mall Gazette, 7 August 1895, #10852.

15.  The Clipper
Unidentified; possibly the newspaper, Sporting Clipper, published between 1872-1897 in London.

16.  Eddie
Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859-1920), writer and collector [more].

17.  Mr. Prange
Francis Gerard Prange (b. ca 1843), London art dealer [more].

18.  Sarasate
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate (YMSM 315). Kennedy sold this painting to the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh on 30 November 1896 for £900, with the help of John Caldwell, Board Chairman, Carnegie Art Galleries [more]. A note on this letter, written by Kennedy, reads 'The "Sarasate" I sold to the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh through John Caldwell's efforts.'

19.  wife
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], who was suffering from cancer.

20.  I ... again
Written at the top of p. 1.

21.  With ... Whistler
Written in the left margin of p. 1 at right angles to the main text.

22.  Surely
The remainder of the text is written in the left margin of p. 2 at right angles to the main text.

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

24.  Etats Unis
Double underlined.