The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: oil painting, theft
Record 3 of 5

System Number: 00110
Date: [10/11 June 1902][1]
Author: Clifford Addams[2]
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler A109
Document Type: ALS

Madame Carmen[3] seems to offer the portrait[4] as a guarantee of her present wish to commence relations with Mr Whistler again

I am desired to state that it has been brought about through the Apprentice's belief that such an action would please.

She regrets that the price of her redemption has gone up and alleges that M. Petit[5] has sold the picture to a friend, from whom it is abstracted [p. 2] by M. Petit in order it appears to be rid of a transaction which has brought him into comment.

To probe Mme Carmen as to this change of temporary ownership, I went so far as to suggest that she should be the one to touch the 1500! She swore by everything known: that she was not a beneficiary. 7000 left her always ready to abandon her sale - 8000 interested her but she left no alternative no alternation, saying that 8500 was absolute.

Hessel[6] has once offered 12000 to her -

[p. 3] The wished for object back of this courtesy of her's [sic] is to induce the commencement of the School in London. Madame Vitti[7], her rival, sneers openly at her poverty!

And so I am requested to acquaint Mr Whistler with the desire of the Rossis to be friends again.

I think the Gang will be gladly told that 1500 has been gained but whether they are underneath this frank sale I am ignorant.

Carmen is relieving herself of her obligations in the Quarter, that is to say is renting her property, she says, intending a move.

(4) She did hypothecate the portrait & gave her name to a paper & received no promise in return, simply money - so she claims to be unable to get the picture for the original 7000f & can only arrange for my visiting the friend of Petit presumably not representing you.

It is to be a transaction to please and while I can not find out who benefits, absolutely I have ventured to wire you for the money as for two months, she has fought shy.

The proper receipt & the document of the original sale effected through Hessel, with Carmens name to it, I shall insist on having. Hessel made 500f on that. This, dear Master, is sent in haste & bears my wishes for success, to be obtained, I still hope for 7000


Clifford Addams.

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1.  [10/11 June 1902]
Dated from JW's related correspondence including his telegram to I. Addams, 14 June 1902, #00118.

2.  Clifford Addams
Clifford Isaac Addams (1876-1942), etcher [more].

3.  portrait
Rose et or: La Napolitaine (YMSM 505). JW suspected that Carmen Rossi was removing and selling on works from his studio. In June 1902, he managed to recover La Napolitaine with the Addams's assistance (see I. Addams to JW, [14 June 1902], #00119, and G. Bergaud to C. Addams, #04637).

4.  Madame Carmen
Carmen Rossi, model, proprietess of the Académie Carmen [more].

5.  M. Petit
Georges Petit (1856-1920), Paris art dealer [more].

6.  Hessel
Charles Hessele (fl. 1892-1914), print dealer [more].

7.  Madame Vitti
Mme Vitti ran the Académie Vitti in Montparnasse, which had an international clientele, and was popular well into the 20th century. Charles Ginner (1878-1952) went to study there in 1904 but left because the master, Paul Gervais (1859–1934), disliked his bright colours and admiration for the work of Van Gogh.