The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: health (JW)
Record 151 of 172

System Number: 01527
Date: 20 February 1902
Author: Charles Lang Freer[1]
Place: Detroit
Recipient: JW
Place: [London?]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F459
Document Type: ALS[2]


February 20th

Dear Mr Whistler:-

Ever since the time I first saw your nocturne[3], owned by Mr Rawlinson[4], I have hungered to add it to my [p. 2] little group of your work - Under the advice of Mr Marchant[5] I once offered £1.500 for the painting, which was refused -

I was recently informed that an offer of £2.000 would probably be accepted. I have today written Mr. Marchant authorizing him to, if possible, to [p. 3] buy it for me at this price i.e. £2.000 net, to Mr R. and in addition a commission of 10% to Mr Marchant -

I hope to secure it. Now, if fortune favors this effort, I am wondering if I may again impose upon your valuable time and kind patience in the matter of those dreadful consular invoices - what [p. 3] an annoying and uneccess unneccessary [sic] bother it is?

Uncle Sam's treasury is already overflowing to an extent beyond the powers of the politicians to absorb, and still the duty upon works of art clings like a viper -

How are you standing the winter days? Sturdily I hope, and with increasing interest in all things beautiful, I trust.

Coppers, bank failures and other similar ills [p. 5][6] have jarred financial matters over here, but not enough to prevent the enjoyment a great many people have realized in studying your great picture[7] brought out by Kennedy[8] - As yet, I have not been priveleged [sic] to see it but hope to 'ere long.

"The Thames in Ice"[9] and the little portrait of Mrs Whibley[10] have however, helped to console me -

I am hoping to be in London early in May. Shall you be in town then?

With every good wish to yourself and Miss Philip[11], I am,
Very Sincerely

Charles L Freer

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Charles Lang Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Merrill, Linda, With Kindest Regards. The Correspondence of Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler, 1890-1903, Washington and London, 1995, pp. 155-156, no. 58.

3.  your nocturne
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Battersea Reach (YMSM 119).

4.  Mr Rawlinson
William George Rawlinson (1840-1928), silk merchant, collector [more].

5.  Mr Marchant
William Stephen Marchant (1868-1925), art dealer [more].

6.  [p. 5]
'Feb 20th 1902' is inserted in pencil in another hand at the top of the page.

7.  great picture
Mother of Pearl and Silver: The Andalusian (YMSM 378).

8.  Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

9.  The Thames in Ice
The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36).

10.  portrait of Mrs Whibley
Rose and Silver: Portrait of Mrs Whibley (M.1415). Freer had recently purchased the Thames in Ice and the Portrait of Mrs Whibley from John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more]. See R. Birnie Philip to C. L. Freer, #04819; see also Freer to R. Birnie Philip, #01525, and to JW, #01526.

11.  Miss Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].