The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: japanese art
Record 7 of 10

System Number: 03218
Date: [31 May 1893][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Alexander Reid[2]
Place: Glasgow
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 229
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac - Paris -

Dear Mr Reid -

I have had a letter from Mr Mansfield[4] telling me of the three pictures - all safe - and all hung - so that's all right - !

What other pictures are in the building I dont absolutely know - indeed as yet every thing I fancy must be in a very premature and unfinished state - but sure to come into completeness rapidly - and then we shall hear -

Sorry I did not see you [p. 2] as among other things it would have been amusing to tell you of the later incarnations of that poor degraded scamp Ford[5] - I found at one time that he had scrambled onto the staff of the Gallignani's paper[6] - where he was perpetrating under the guise of Art notes! some sort of bar room edition of badly applied matter that he had stolen (when he bolted) from his betters! -

Curiously enough, in its shockingly stupified state this stuff was, I am told, even popular with some of the younger men in Glasgow - though I cannot believe it! -

However in the midst of it all, he lost his head and immediately his place! - He could not resist another scurrillous little paragraph - à propos de rien du tout[7] - for this time his "notes" were upon some Japanese Exhibition[8] - with which I could [p. 3] have nothing whatever to do - but it was his fate - and so I had him at once put forth - A letter from George Lewis[9] - and he was again on the pavement -

Then came an attempt to furnish the New York World[10] with garbage of the same nature - but that went no further than one letter - and now he has gone off to America under an assumed name - The lawyers have however cabled his description and there is every chance of his being arrested as a swindler of the most uninteresting kind - on the other charge that you know of - and of which I send you copies of the Affidavits[11] - sworn concerning the case -

Also copy of letter à propos of the Grafton Gallery[12], for Ford had been going about here obtaining credit upon his alleged influence with the directors - etc - etc! - The old story! - Still he doubtless hopes to get back here and then would attempt to continue his little games - One of the latest you may have heard of here was some combination with a jeweller half picture dealer - and some of the younger men of the studios.

[p. 4] I sent the affidavits with my lawyers approval to the American Art Association[13] here, that the members might be advised concerning the man Ford - and forewarned against all further attempts of this desperate but really ridiculous adventurer & scoundrel -

I shall of course send copies to the Glasgow Art Club[14] - and I want you to send me the proper name and address of that club. -

Are you coming to Paris again? and what are the "questions", you wanted to ask me, about? -

Very faithfully

J McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.



Alexander Reid - Esq -
Société des Beaux Arts
227. West George Street
Écosse -
[stamp, illegible]
[postmark:] PARIS / R. DU BAC / 5E 31 / MAI / 93
[postmark on verso:] GLASGOW / JU 1 / 93


1.  [31 May 1893]
Dated by postmark.

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

3.  ALS
A copy made in the hand of Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more], is in GUL Whistler LB 4/56/2-58/1. Included in the envelope is a copy (in JW's hand) of F. G. Prange to JW, 19 May 1893, #05030.

4.  Mr. Mansfield
Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), New York lawyer, print collector [more]; in his letter of 15 May 1893, #04002, he reported the Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56), Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242) and Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181) were up in World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893.

5.  Ford
Sheridan Ford (1860-1922), poet, critic, politician and writer on art [more].

6.  Gallignani's paper
The journal Galignani's Messenger, published in Paris.

7.  a propos
Fr., on the question of nothing at all.

8.  Japanese Exhibition
Not identified; there was an important Japanese section in World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893.

9.  George Lewis
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

10.  New York World
The World, published in New York.

11.  Affidavits
See #01466, #03220.

12.  Grafton Gallery
See Francis Gerard Prange (b. ca 1843), London art dealer [more], to JW, 19 May 1893, #05030.

13.  American Art Association

14.  Glasgow Art Club
Reid replied on 3 June 1893 that this was not worthwhile, #05154.