The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 50 of 71

System Number: 02937
Date: [17/24 November 1898][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler LB 2/83-5
Document Type: MsLc[3]

Dear Mr. Heinemann -

You cannot propose that Russell[4] has not deeply offended me! -

That he himself is unconscious of this makes the act none the less cruel.

I receive him with every courtesy and and kindness - and trust him with the intimacy of my work - which, from an artist is the greatest possible proof of consideration -

Had I in the same sort of sympathy shown him a painting, upon whose completion I relied for much repute, and he were immediately to publish the rough description, or even sketch, which, in a moment of friendliness, I might have given him, as the work Mr Whistler has in store for the next Salon, he would in my eyes, have done even less harm, and pained me less - For the picture still remains unseen -

Whereas here the work itself is utterly exposed[5]

Had he signed the unfinished canvas [p. 2] on the easel, and held it up in the street to the ribald mob, it would have been nearer the case!

However I shall try and ... forget!

You have made it clear that Russell still remains a good fellow - who will perhaps now dimly understand what he has done - and be sorry for the disappointment, (if not loss), he has caused you -

I will not make it more difficult for you certainly by further opposition - and if you consider yourself engaged to Russell, by all means hand your contract over to Monsieur May[6] -

I am now nursing no further rancour against Mr Russell - only dont you think that I might have expected some "slight amende" from him direct

Always sincerely yours

J McN Whistler

110 Rue du Bac.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [17/24 November 1898]
The formality of this letter, addressed to 'Mr. Heineman', suggests that it was intended for publication but there is no record of any publication. It may have been suggested as an alternative to JW's published letter of 18 November 1898 (#09159) and the amended version of 25 November 1898 (#08500). The subject of the letter is the preparation for publication of JW's account of his dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more] over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408): Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: the Baronet & the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, London, 1898.

2.  William Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more].

3.  MsLc
Letter copied by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

4.  Russell
Robert Howard Russell, writer, journalist and publisher [more], who was responsible for extracts from the Baronet and the Butterfly that were published in the New York Critic (see #13199 and below).

5.  exposed
Extracts from The Baronet and the Butterfly were leaked to the press prematurely (JW to W. Heinemann, [18 October 1898], #10806; W. Heinemann to D. Straight, 19 October 1898, #13199). In November, JW wrote to Heinemann: 'This American impatience, and the smart method of announcement that distributes pages of an unfinished book to the newspapers - "of which there is no end" - has distroyed, for the time, the pleasure I looked forward to in presenting, with you, the pretty story of "The Baronet and the Butterfly" to my London people! ' ([18 November 1898], #02257).

6.  Monsieur May
Louis-Henry May, printer [more]. He did indeed publish the book in France: Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].