The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: sales (JW's work)
Record 23 of 23

System Number: 12640
Date: 18 March 1903
Author: Edward Robinson[1]
Place: Boston
Recipient: Charles William Deschamps[2]
Place: London
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection
Document Type: TLS[3]

[enclosed within roundel:] MUSEUM-OF-FINE-ARTS

March 18, 1903.

Charles W. Deschamps, Esq.

My dear Sir:

All your documents in regard to the three pictures have reached me, with the exception of the two photographs sent together, and these are expected daily. I beg to repeat my assurance of discretion in using this material, and have shown it only to the few whose decision is necessary in a negotiation of this character.

Mr. Gay[4] will have told you of our instructions not to buy either of the two available pictures. As regards the Van Dyck[5] this action was based largely upon his recommendation, as he found the picture in unsatisfactory condition. The Whistler[6] was exhibited in this Museum about nine years ago, as a loan from Alexander Reid[7], Esq., of Glasgow, and was offered to us then for $15,000. I believe that no negotiations were entered into at this time, because the picture was not regarded as a characteristic example of the artist, and our Committee has reaffirmed this decision, which I think you may regard as final.

[p. 2] With reference to the third picture, Mr. Gay has wired that the owner is not yet ready to sell. Such being the case, there appears to be nothing more that we can do about it now, but I trust we shall be given an opportunity to consider it when the time comes.

Please accept my cordial thanks for having called our attention to these pictures, and my regrets that the issue has not been as yet more favourable. The promptness of our action will, I trust, convince you that the Museum is prepared to give serious attention to opportunities of securing works of especial excellence; and if any such come to your knowledge, I shall be pleased to have you report them either to me or to Mr. Gay. The latter method would perhaps be the quicker, as we should probably consult him in any case.

Believe me,
Very truly yours,

Edward Robinson


This document is protected by copyright.


Charles W. Deschamp, Esqr.,
74 Culverden Road,
[postmark:] BOSTON / MASS. / MARIS / 3 PM / 19 03
[postmark:] BACK [BAY?] STATION


1.  Edward Robinson
Edward Robinson (1858-1931), Director, Boston Museum of Fine Arts [more].

2.  Charles William Deschamps
Charles William Deschamps (1848-1908), art dealer [more].

3.  TLS
The letter is typescript, the valediction and signature are hand-written.

4.  Mr. Gay
Walter Gay (1856-1937), artist and collector [more].

5.  Van Dyck
Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1681), artist [more].

6.  Whistler
Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181).

7.  Alexander Reid
Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more].