The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Browse Subjects > Document Display

return to search results

Documents associated with: press, journalist
Record 40 of 50

System Number: 07035
Date: 21 February 1893
Author: Joseph William Gleeson White[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1024
Document Type: ALS



Feby 21. 1893

My dear Sir,

Very many thanks for your reply[2] - but may I dis-abuse of the idea that I have at any time written adversly [sic] concerning your work. My one attempt was in a volume "Letters to Living Artists[3]" Of this I was told by a man (who had no notion I was its author) that he had taken it to you - & that you had most kindly taken it for what it was intended to be - undisguised & complete appreciation of your work, with ironical notice of the popular & absurd criticism thereon. Since this is the one article I can claim - should it have given [p. 2] you a false impression - it must be due to clumsy expressions - Would you permit me I would hunt up a copy to send you - but I fear it would bore you.

I remember the Scots Observer in a criticism of this little book said "its author would have you believe he appreciated his Whistler" or some phrase of similar intent.

Therefore any other criticism I can honestly disclaim - what I tried to express in my letter of a few days ago - has been my opinion since it was my privilege to have the slightest knowledge of Art.

Apart therefore from the disappointment it is - to feel I may not have the honour of including a work of yours in The Studio - there is the [p. 3] natural regret that a clumsy attempt to be courteous - should appear for a moment to be merely a question of policy.

If my last letter was not quite clear in its purely business aspect - may I say that it was the possibility of purchasing the right to issue The Horoscope[4] as a supplement to the Studio - or should you prefer it the purchase of the stone outright [-] I wished to lay before you.

If in the "Letter" any phrase conveyed a mistaken idea for that it would be a pleasure to apologise - but as certain sentences come back to me - I can but think it is the [p. 4] work of some other anonym that is in your mind.

Should I find that anything in the stupidity of comparative youth - which has completely slipped my memory - exists to rise up against me - then indeed would the apology be still more complete - but I cannot recall an instance

If my unimportant personality has unwittingly - come in the way of your assent - may I ask you to reconsider it. From a year in New York - & several years of contact with the younger school of artists in London - I had thought that whatever had been their dullness in the past that today - all who professed the least interest in art - were united in their appreciation of your genius

faithfully yours

Gleeson White

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  J. W. Gleeson White
Joseph William Gleeson White (1851-1898), writer on art, first editor of the Studio [more].

2.  reply

3.  Letters to Living Artists
White, Joseph William Gleeson, Letters to Living Artists, London, 1891; two copies presented to JW are in Glasgow University Library, Whistler 137 and 598.

4.  The Horoscope
The Horoscope (C.30).