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

return to search results

Documents associated with: press-review
Record 60 of 71

System Number: 08023
Date: [May 1899][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 2/2/13
Document Type: ALS[3]

110. Rue du Bac,

My dear, dear friend and real publisher -

even in the depths of the night I never for a moment doubted or bethought myself of doubting! -

But when you say you are pleased with those articles - where am I?

Of course you know well enough that there [p. 2] can be no question of sensitiveness - but artistically there is a species of shock if the whole press be allowed to say that there is no reason for this publication -

What does it matter that, in their carelessness, they are insufficiently guarded, if they continue to say that this is a poor "private quarrel" - that there is nothing really established that differs in the least from what was before - that the book is the inexcusable result of malice and spleen - a desire for the blood of a fallen enemy - and as your favorite Westminster Article says "without wit, art or purport" - ! and yet that is what you say you consider "Capital"! -

I did think that for once, we "dominated the situation" and that you would have had your men all ready posted -

Sunday morning - I have had a batch of cuttings! Come now what do you say to the St. James'? and the Academy? (Wedmore[4] I suppose - is it?) and Wyndhams[5] Outlook? - When I had your wire the other evening, I thought you had been out again gathering your forces - - but you say nothing about it in your letters since - But you have made preparations - you have men somewhere - haven't you? - When do they open fire? for begad just now the press would seem to be bought up by the Baronet[6] & George Moore[7]! - Now it would be so [p. 3] pretty to take this state of things and suppose that the papers have not understood - and then take beautiful bits from the Avocat Générals[8] summing up and the Presidents Arret - and lay them all out flat -

Also point out the anxiety evinced to hush up the matter[.] Well? . . . Do tell me who is at work?

Dont you wish we had it all back there in Bedford St. where it ought to be! my dear Publisher! -

Now one wire tomorrow to say whether Simpkins[9] has sold out - or how things are going - In your letter you might tell me what has been done in the Clubs -

With many kind things to you both

[butterfly signature]

[p. 1] Pawling[10] has not turned up yet.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [May 1899]
Dated by the reference to book sales (see below).

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

3.  ALS
Deep mourning border.

4.  Wedmore
Frederick Wedmore (1844-1921), art critic [more].

5.  Wyndhams
The Outlook; reference not located.

6.  Baronet
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more].

7.  George Moore
George Moore (1852-1933), novelist and art critic [more].

8.  Avocat Générals
This relates to JW's dispute with Eden over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408). On 14 February 1894, with the picture nearing completion, Eden sent JW a cheque for 100 guineas, but JW was dissatisfied with his work and refused to hand it over , believing it was the artist's right to withhold a picture in such circumstances. When Eden instituted legal proceedings against him in November 1894 in order to retrieve it, JW returned all monies that had been paid to him. However, the dispute dragged on until December 1897 when JW, on appeal, was permitted by the Cour de Cassation in Paris to keep the picture provided that he did not make use of it. JW's own account of the affair was published in Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24], in Paris on 13 May 1899.

9.  Simpkins
Bookseller and distributor of Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]. JW was dissatisfied with press coverage and sales.

10.  Pawling
Sidney Southgate Pawling (d. 1922), business partner of the publisher W. H. Heinemann [more].