The Jervis McEntee Diaries - May 21, 1873

Diary Entry:

Wednesday, May 21, 1873- Eastman Johnson came in this morning and saw the picture in the frame which I am going to send to Mr. Morrill, St Anthony Minn. It is to go tomorrow and I have attended to having it boxed by Wilmurt. I received a kind note from Mr. Lucius Tuckerman who was out of town when I wrote him. He did not succeed in getting his friend to buy my picture but said he should not cease trying. I have written to Mr. Raniger to offer my "Danger Signal" to the Dudley Gallery when it opens for sale for 100 pounds and to sell the October Snow Squall for 75 pounds if he can and if they are not sold when the Dudley closes to send them home to me. I also wrote to Mr. Henry Blackburn asking him to go and see my pictures at Ranigers if it would not be too much trouble, thinking as he was interested in my pictures perhaps he might call attention to them. I also wrote Raniger not to send my pictures to me before November and not until he heard from me. Pinchot called this afternoon having lately come from Paris where he left his family. He wants to get settled at home again. Says Boughton is flourishing finely. His reputation is increasing, his prices also and his picture this year in the Royal Academy is better hung than any other of his has been before and that he sold it for more than he got for his three pictures which Mr. Jessup owns. Think of my condition compared to his. A reputation in England is valuable while here it is worth nothing. Our people having no deep seated love of Art are fickle and take up and abandon their favorites in mere caprice. We who are living and working today are the pioneers and I hope and believe that those who come after us, who are strong and original men will have a better time. Mr. Blackburn told Vaux and Stoddard also that he considered me the best and most original landscape painter in America, but my pictures accumulate on my hands and there seems no one to buy them. It is well to look about now under these disheartening conditions to see if possible where the difficulty lies. In the first place I think the American artists as a rule ask too much for their pictures. I think my pride and my ambition to have my works esteemed among the best have often prevented my selling when I might have done so by taking smaller prices. I have resolved to ask less for my pictures and in future I hope I may be wise enough not to refuse any reasonable offer. One hardly knows what to do. There is the feeling of not wishing to depreciate one's works, but I can't afford to lay too much stress upon this and I hope I have resolved to swallow my pride. Gifford dined with us. It has been a rainy day.

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