The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11405
Date: [21 February 1885][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Oscar Wilde[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: [Published][3]
Document Type: PLc


I have read your exquisite article in the Pall Mall[4]. Nothing is more delicate, in the flattery of "the Poet" to "the Painter," than the naïveté of "the Poet," in the choice of his Painters - Benjamin West[5] and Paul Delaroche[6]!

You have pointed out that "the Painter's" mission is to find "le beau dans l'horrible," and have left to "the Poet" the discovery of "l'horrible" dans "le beau"!

[butterfly signature]


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1.  [21 February 1885]
Dated 'Saturday February 21' when published in the Pall Mall Gazette (see below).

2.  Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more]. This letter concerns Wilde's review of JW's 'Ten O'Clock Lecture.' JW delivered the lecture, his major public statement of his aesthetic ideas, for the first time on 20 February 1885 at the Prince's Hall, Piccadilly. A version of the text of the lecture may be found at #06791.

3.  [Published]
JW's letter and Wilde's reply (#07057) were published in 'Tenderness in Tite Street', Pall Mall Gazette, 24 February 1885, p. 10; in the World, vol. 22, no. 556, 25 February 1885, p. 14; and again as 'Tenderness in Tite Street', together with a heavily edited version of Wilde's review (entitled 'Rengaines!') in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 161-63. This transcription is based on the latter. The first published version had minor variations, including 'article' for 'letter', and the addition of quotation marks around "the Painter's" and "the Poet".

4.  Pall Mall
See Oscar Wilde, 'Mr Whistler's Ten O'Clock,' Pall Mall Gazette, vol. 41, no. 6224, 21 February 1885, pp. 1-2. Reproduced (with substantial editorial changes) in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890, p. 161.

5.  Benjamin West
Benjamin West (1738-1820), painter of historical, religious and mythological subjects [more]. Wilde claimed in his reply (#07057) that he had chosen West and Delaroche because they had both lectured on art.

6.  Paul Delaroche
Hippolyte ('Paul') Delaroche (1797-1856), painter [more].