System Number: 13151
Date: 18 May 1881
Recipient: Committee of the Society of Painter Etchers
Document Type: PLc
May 18, 1881.
To the Committee of Painter-Etchers' Society.
May I, without impertinence, ask what really does constitute the "Painter-Etcher" "all round," as Piker has it? - for, of these three gentlemen who have so markedly distinguished themselves in that character, two certainly are not painters - and one doesn't etch!
Republished in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 65.
A reference to an incident between JW, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], and the newly formed Painter Etcher's Society. In the spring of 1881, the Society held an exhibition at the Hanover Gallery. However, when the American Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], submitted three Venice etchings, Haden (who was President of the Society) suspected that they were in fact by JW. Anxious to compare the etchings with those that JW had been printing for the Fine Art Society, Haden, Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], and Dr Edward Hamilton (1815 or 1816-1903), doctor of medicine and print collector [more], paid a visit to the Society's gallery. JW was indignant when he heard of the visit, regarding it as an attack on his artistic integrity. A lengthy correspondence ensued. This was eventually published in a pamphlet (Whistler, James McNeill, The Piker Papers. The Painter-Etchers' Society and Mr. Whistler, London, 1881). See also correspondence between M. B. Huish and F. S. Haden, #01131, #01944; JW to F. S. Haden, #13147; JW to Painter-Etcher's Society, #11632; F. S. Haden to E. G. Brown, #01943; JW to C. A. Howell, #02878.