The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 13379
Date: [2 October 1898/January 1899][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Académie Carmen[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow
Call Number: GLAHA 46278, pp. 13-16
Document Type: ALd

An odd fiction   is that of high key[3] -
with semblance of violin
rife some years ago
for a while popular

[p. 2] Art for the Owl -

a sort of The owls paradise when the Sun shall be looked in the face and Nature become a Kaleidoscope

An odd fiction[4] is that of high Key - whose only chance of being at all right, is based upon the hope of the Louvre being all wrong!

[p. 3] Art is a science - and that one who has distinguished himself and obtained in it a standing and recognition is

and that you who are barely on the threshold should cavil at your professor[5]! and hold him in doubt the results of the researchs of his life is monstrous

Is this then a boarding school!! -

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1.  [2 October 1898/January 1899]
Dated from the reference to 'professor', which suggests it relates to the Académie Carmen, set up in Paris in October 1898 with JW as a very occasional visiting Professor, and closed in 1901. This is one of a series of unrelated notes, found in one of JW's sketchbooks from the period between 1898 and 1902; see also #13345; #13376; #13377; #13378; #13381 and #13382.

2.  Academie Carmen
The tone suggests that this might have been addressed to JW's students at the Académie Carmen: see JW's letters to W. Heinemann, complaining of the students' conduct, #08520 and #11500.

3.  high key
This is a variant of part of JW's Proposition No. 2; the full version is at #06826. JW was occupied in revising, transcribing, and in some cases getting translations of his artistic statements, including the Propositions early in 1899 (see JW to T. Duret, 30 January 1899, #09659). The Pennells note that an English version and Duret's translation of A Further Proposition were hung on the walls of the Académie Carmen in Paris in February 1899, and that the lithographed text, #06825, was hung there the following month (see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, p. 236). All these copies were probably made to hang on the walls of the Académie, for a letter from JW in London to Inez Eleanor Addams (fl. 1898-1927), née Bate, painter [more], in Paris, asks for the papers on 'low tone' ([6 May 1899], #00014). JW himself asked E. R. Pennell if the lithographed Propositions had been recorded in an article on the Académie Carmen ([26 September 1899], #07684). The translations and references to JW's texts are at #06793; #00991; #06826; #13818; #00992; #13816; #06825; #09659.

4.  An odd fiction
This line starting 'An odd fiction' is connected by lines to three other phrases; it is not clear in what order these lines should be read, or whether they were all intended to be inserted on the opposite page. Since it is clear that the line beginning 'An odd fiction' is intended to continue on the opposite page, it has been repeated at an appropriate place, before 'whose only ...'.

5.  professor
This paragraph is written at the bottom of the page and appears to be unconnected to the draft above, except that both drafts were perhaps intended for the students.