Jervis McEntee Diaries

Wednesday January 20, 1886

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, January 20, 1886, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Wednesday, Jan 20, 1886 The weather is colder and more agreeable. On my way from Breakfast I stopped in at Tiffanys to see about the umbrella which Girard wanted me to inquire about and which I forgot yesterday. Cornell Hose Co. propose a handsome umbrella as a birth day present to Maj. Cornell. I had a very nice reply to my note from Mrs. Church and this afternoon Church called and told me she was much gratified to get my letter. Church looks very feeble and broken. They are going to Mexico in a short time. I began a picture 20x24 substantially like the one I sold from the Academy. It seems to have been generally liked and I hope I may sell one if I make it somewhat like. Thats what the money makers do. Fanny Lee and Annie Norton called. Fanny is very pretty and vivacious. Just as Church left Miss Teale called but stayed only a short time. Yesterday a Mr. Dana an engraver from Boston called. He is a friend of Mr. Steese who bought a picture of me last winter. He had told Mr. Steese of the picture I had in the Academy this fall and he came to see if he could make a trade. I am afraid I will never hear the last of Steese. After an interminable correspondence I finally sold him a little picture considerably below my price thinking from his talk he was a man of moderate means. Mr. Dana says he is a merchant and prospectively a very rich man as his wife's father is worth several millions and there are but two heirs. I told him he had better be satisfied with his picture, but I should judge he would not be if he heard I had ever painted a better one. The days of discouragement seem to have set in. After waiting for weeks to hear from my pictures in Detroit a letter came this evening offering me less than my price and coupled with the proposal to extend the payment over five or six months. It disheartened and discouraged me and I feel depressed and disappointed. I called at Lockwood Deforests but they were not at home and rang the bell at Dielmans but received no response. Then I came to my room to write an answer to the letter from Detroit. Much as I want money I have decided not to accept this offer. It is demoralizing and when one once gives way to these dealers there is no end to their demands. I have decided that it is best for me in the end to stick to my proposition even if I lose the sale of my picture. It is a good picture and I can sell it I am sure. The man from whom the offer comes is Wm. P. Mitchell a banker. I think monied men often do things which a poor man would be ashamed of.

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