Writing to Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958) on 5 December 1899, Whistler sketched his panel of five pictures, including, in the centre, a full length portrait of a woman, which, he said, had arrived at the very last minute, and which was presumably the portrait of Marion Draughn:
'[I]t appears that Paris has gone simply wild about the "Wistleer" group at the exhibition of which this is the opening night! -
Young Stevens, the son of Alfred Stevens - ... says that there is "un monde fou"!, an excited crowd in front of the Whistler pictures! so great that it is impossible to see them! But that the whole group or "panel" looks superb!! ...
The President of the Republic went at two o'clock with his staff to the Gallery - and very properly every body was there to receive him - Well, I sent my profound regrets, and my centre picture - (beautiful - and you know what I must think when I say such a thing.) just in time for his arrival - -
Already this evening, on my return to the hotel, I find a note, from the Secretary of the Gallery, wishing to know immediately the prices of these wonderful pictures, as it was most important that he should be able to answer the many demands in the course of the afternoon!! - This was followed by an anxious and important visit from the Secretary himself, who couldnt wait! Well, I said, what is the use, my prices are simply enormous!! - Whereupon he was more determined than ever! ...
Stevens said that one of the artists said to him "Pearls! they are pearls in the sty!"!' 1
Last updated: 1st November 2019 by Margaret