The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 17 of 26

System Number: 09700
Date: [20 October / 10 November 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[2]
Place: [New York]
Repository: New York Public Library
Call Number: E. G. Kennedy I/33
Credit Line: Edward Guthrie Kennedy Papers / Manuscripts and Archives Division / The New York Public Library / Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Document Type: ALS

110. Rue du Bac - Paris -

Dear Mr Kennedy -

You are entirely right in many things and quite wrong in one or two - I thoroughly agree with you in that I made a most inexcusable mistake in sending the pictures through the Durand Ruels[3] - and am shocked to know that I could have been so thoughtless - It is useless now to remember how it came about - I regret it exceedingly - and in future it will be all right -

On the other hand I am sorry to suppose that [p. 2] you are offended at my having neglected to give you the refusal of the "Sea[4] & Sand" -

First and foremost you are in error - I have not sold it at all - I want to sell it and I want 600 guineas for it - I never thought of asking you any such sum - for you had already done so nobly in Whistlers, that a proposition of the kind would have seemed to me an indiscretion - It seemed to me that it might have appeared like an undue pressure upon you - Wherefore I simply sent the picture to the Durand Ruel galleries for sale - and there it is still - Paris at this moment is as empty as it has been for weeks or months past - and I am only waiting - Who told you that I had sold the work?

If you would really like to have it - or if you know of a purchaser of course my dear Mr Kennedy I should be only delighted and, in a word would, always be glad to do all things of this kind through you - Be assured meanwhile that I only abstained from suggesting this picture to you through a sort of feeling that perhaps you had enough on your hands for the time of the same "Master"! ! -

Now I have sold the "Falling Rocket[5]" - (of this I shall tell you directly) But this was quite through an outside source - not through any dealer at all - That picture if you remember I had more than once proposed to you - and once Wünderlich[6] had it - Do tell me in your answer what made you suppose that the "Sea & Sand" had been purchased by any one? - The Fur J "Furred Jacket[7]" was sold some while ago [p. 3] to Reid[8] of Glasgow - who as you know bought also the "Princesse[9]," (Leyland's sale) and also the "Dame au brodequin jaune[10]" (see Catalogue) - It is for sale of course - but he wants £1000, or guineas - I should be delighted that you should place it in America - and if you have a purchaser do write to Reid about it - His address is: Alexander Reid, Société des Beaux Arts, West George Street Glasgow - In any case he has promised to send these three full lengths to the Chicago Exhibition[11] - And this brings me to another important matter - I have received a charming letter from Mr Ives[12], Chief of the Committee of Fine Arts. Chicago. He wishes me very much to send to the Exhibition - and says that everything shall be done to please me - therefore I shall write and say that you[13] are good enough to manage all these matters for me - and that you will communicate with him upon the subject - Mr Mansfield[14] whom I have again seen the other day, before his leaving for America, will help you with the etchings - and will lend his pastels - as will also of course Mr Freer[15], Mr Hecker[16] - and Mrs Jack Gardner[17] must lend her pastel - "Violet and Blue" - You must get Mrs Potter Palmer's[18] pastel too - and altogether I think now that we ought to make a fine show of it - You will of course see to the nice hanging - and the [p. 4] Committee might perhaps borrow the Carlyle[19] - You might or they might write to W. C. Alexander[20]. Esq. Aubrey House, Aubrey Road Campden Hill Kensington London - and ask him to lend the Miss Alexander - and his "Nocturne" - I daresay he would - Sir John Day[21]. Q. C. ought to be asked to lend his Valparaiso Nocturne - (this might be done through the Goupils of Bond Street) and Graham Robertson[22] Esqr Rutland Gate. London should be asked to lend the Miss Corder, and his "Valparaiso" evening - Of others we will think in due course - It rather looks well ready! -

I shall send you one or two pastels immediately - They must be seen in their frames - and the prices you know are high - They have been sold at those rates and cannot go down - Mrs Potter Palmer bought one on her way through Paris the other day this season [p. 5] and paid at Petits[23] £120 - [However?] I had arranged with them for my price net - £105 - However I will leave this to your own judgement & best management -

I have still the "Fire Wheel[24]". Nocturne Blue & Gold - (see Catalogue) - Shall I send it over to you? - I want 800. gs for it - You ought to get £1000 - You remember how beautifully it looked in the Bond Street Exhibition[25] -

The etchings[26] are giving me a lot of trouble! - ! and I really don't know how they will turn out. They have not yet been proved - Every thing has dragged with the building business[27] -

Of all this more shortly -

Now quite between ourselves, for the present, it is Mr Untermeyer[28] who has bought the "Falling Rocket". You might tell me who he [p. 6] is - for the letters have all come through an old London friend[29] of mine at present in New York.

I have shipped the picture to Mr Untermeyer direct - as he wished, through the packers who pack for the Rothschilds so that ought to be perfect - and their charges, by the way, make me feel that Richards[30] price for his case was scandalous. and I shall write and tell him so -

I hope the pictures - yours I mean - are all looking their best - we thought them delightful - They were very little seen in my studio - only to one or two painters - and mind you The Little Battersea reach[31] was much extolled by the Frenchmen -

Well my dear Mr Kennedy this must go now - so goodbye - for the time! -

Write and tell me any news you may have time for -

With kindest regards from us both
Always sincerely Yrs

J. McN. Whistler.

[written in another hand:] 'x the old friend was Sidney Starr'

Write to 110 Rue du Bac - Paris

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [20 October / 10 November 1892]
This letter, written in purple ink, appears to date from shortly before or after E. G. Kennedy's letters to JW of 26 and 29 October 1892, #07203 and #07204.

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

3.  Durand Ruels
Paul Durand-Ruel (1828 or 1831-1922), Paris art dealer, or one of his sons, Joseph (1862-1928), Charles (1865-1892) or Georges (1866-1931).

4.  Sea and Sand
Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville (YMSM 64).

5.  Falling Rocket
Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170).

6.  Wünderlich
Hermann Wunderlich (ca 1839 - d.1892), print dealer [more].

7.  Furred Jacket
Arrangement in Black and Brown: The Fur Jacket (YMSM 181).

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

9.  Princesse
La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50), sold on 28 May 1892 at the auction of the collection of Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

10.  Dame au brodequin jaune
Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242).

11.  Chicago Exhibition
World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893.

12.  Mr Ives
Halsey Cooley Ives (1847-1911), painter [more].

13.  you
Double underlined.

14.  Mansfield
Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), New York lawyer, print collector [more].

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

16.  Hecker
Col. Frank J. Hecker (1846-1927), partner of C. L. Freer, Michigan and Peninsular Car Company [more].

17.  Mrs Jack Gardner
Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924), née Stewart, collector [more], owned Blue and Violet. Lapis Lazuli (M.1070).

18.  Mrs Potter Palmer's
Berthe Honorée Palmer (1849-1918), collector, wife of Potter Palmer [more], owned Mother and Child (M.1285).

19.  Carlyle
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137).

20.  W. C. Alexander
William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916), banker and patron [more], owned Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea (YMSM 103), Miss May Alexander (YMSM 127) and Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander (YMSM 129).

21.  Sir John Day
Sir John Charles Sigismund Day (1826-1908), QC, collector [more], owned Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaiso Bay (YMSM 76).

22.  Graham Robertson
Walford Graham Robertson (1867-1948), painter, designer and collector [more], owned Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder (YMSM 203) and Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (YMSM 73).

23.  Petits
Galerie Georges Petit in Paris.

24.  Fire Wheel
Nocturne: Black and Gold - The Fire Wheel (YMSM 169).

25.  Bond Street Exhibition
Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces, Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Goupil Gallery, London, 1892.

26.  etchings
Possibly recent French etchings, such as Rue de la Rochefoucault (K.419).

27.  building business
Alterations to the new house at 110 Rue du Bac.

28.  Untermeyer
Samuel Untermyer (1858-1940), lawyer, capitalist and philanthropist [more].

29.  friend
Sidney Starr (1866 or 1867-1925), painter [more].

30.  Richards
Stephen Richards (b. ca 1845), picture restorer [more].

31.  Battersea reach
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Battersea Reach (YMSM 152).