The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 10852
Date: 7 August [1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Henry John Cockayne Cust[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection (PWC 12/103-104/1)
Document Type: TLc[3]

To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette.

Sir, -

I have just read Mr. Tadema's[4] convinced admission, of which he publicly delivered himself before young and impressionable men, that "Knowledge" is, in a way, thinly linked with "Art ."

The distinguished and heated Academician thereupon offered himself as a sacrifice for the refinement of his audience, and showed how he, in search of knowledge, "without which none shall teach," had, at various times, and in many lands, blundered and groped, with disastrous effect upon his palette, from "red to green ."

In the full glow of his confession, moved by the monstrous desire to find others in like plight, he abruptly bethinks himself of me! - and throws my canary curtains upon the pile of his own many coloured offences, as a warning to students who would escape the evil of meretricious bric a brac, and keep their workshop clean.

Sly Alma! - what does he know of my hangings?

His Romano-Dutch-St. Johns-Wooden eye[5] has never looked upon them! - and the fine jaundice of his flesh is none of the running of my yellows!

To know, is a great word! (sic)
Tadema boom da ay!!

Hurrah! - but I doubt if "knowledge" gathered from gossip or collected from newspaper cuttings, however provocative of "cheers and laughter," be of the order that qualifies for teaching . . . even the five hundred giggling instructors, presently to be shot out upon "Great Britain and the Colonies."



August 7

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1.  7 August [1895]
Dated from the publication date (see below).

2.  Henry John Cockayne Cust
Henry John Cockayne Cust (1861-1917), editor of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1892-1896 [more].

3.  PL
Whistler, James McNeill, 'L'Influence du Jaune dans les Arts,' The Pall Mall Gazette, no. 9477, vol. 61, 9 August 1895, p. 2; see Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B.89.

4.  Tadema's
Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), painter [more]. In a lecture to the students at the National Art Training Schools, South Kensington, 25 July 1895, Alma-Tadema had contended that an artist must know what he paints; he must know botany for trees, geology for marble - the originals in nature. In a sly aside, he suggested that JW's paintings must have been affected when he painted his dining-room yellow, for Tadema's own paintings had been affected when his studio walls were painted first red, then green ('Mr. Alma Tadema on Art Training', The Times, 26 July 1895, p. 8, col. f).

5.  Romano-Dutch-St. Johns-Wooden eye
Alma-Tadema was Dutch born, painted Roman subjects, and from 1882 lived at 17 Grove End Road, St John's Wood, London.