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

the on-line edition

System Number: 09769
Date: 7 June 1897
Author: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: [none]
Repository: New York Public Library
Call Number: E. G. Kennedy II/103
Credit Line: Edward Guthrie Kennedy Papers / Manuscripts and Archives Division / The New York Public Library / Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Document Type: AD

June 7 / 1897

It may be well perhaps to state that upon asking Whistler who "Drouet"[2] is, whose portrait[3] he made in dry point, he said, "Oh Lord, he is a most extraordinary person! He is a sculptor & made a most extraordinary statue once of Ajax or something like that. He is a gourmet & can tell you where to go for a good cooking in any town in France in which he has been at one time or another. He always had success, yet in our student days he would regard with horror the idea of taking a voiture[4] when busses [sic] were to be had. Yet he is a most [p. 2] generous fellow, in a way, to his friends."

We had then just left the apartments of Drouet at 20 rue de Seine: He was "très occupé[5]" with some statue he was going to have cast. As near as I could ascertain Drouet is a very bad sculptor & never did anything of consequence, in fact a very bad sculptor. He is an amateur of taste however, & has a collection of drawings, some of which are good.

His head is now bald, but one can easily see the likeness in Whistler's portrait, made when he had a head well thatched with hair. He is a very animated & talkative man, with a long body & short legs.

[p. 3] Whistler talked as usual on his favourite theme of the superiority of the French in every thing & the inferiority of the English (June 1897 - London).

I told him that if Gabriel[6] come down from Heaven & decorated London for the Jubilee[7], he would Condemn it, as long as it was English. The old tirade was gone over again, resulting in "I hate the place (London), and the people; God bless my soul!"

Words failed him.

At dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Pennell[8] & two American ladies, the art of acting, of course, had no exponents except in France.

It is astonishing, his lack of discrimination, & of justice.

This document is protected by copyright.


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

2.  Drouet
Charles L. Drouet (1836-1908), sculptor and collector [more].

3.  très occupé
Fr., very busy.

4.  portrait
Drouet (K.55).

5.  voiture
Fr., cab.

6.  Gabriel
Either the Archangel, or Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more].

7.  Jubilee
Queen Victoria's 60th Jubilee.

8.  Mr. & Mrs. Pennell
Joseph Pennell (1860-1926) and his wife Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936), née Robins, JW's biographers.