In his autobiography Savage Landor wrote about his meetings, relationship and anecdotes with the well known American painter Whistler, a fascinating character who loved to quarrel and felt always surrounded by enemies and critics.
In particular Savage Landor described a period of few weeks he spent with Whistler sharing a London flat lent by their common friend William Heinemann, a pusblisher.
Whistler who usually would argue and quarrel with almost anyone, instead accepted Landor remarks, opinions and even criticism. On the other hand also Savage Landor showed great respect, admiration for this painter. During this time they had long conversations and dined always together. Whistler also read for him for long hours at night his book “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” and also took him to his studio to show his works.
Whistler continuously asked Landor’s opinions on his pictures and welcomed his suggestions which he would apply literally. It was clear since the start to Savage Landor that Whistler’s works were not fast faced but rather took him endless time and many sessions to draw, edit, rework figures.
They also dined and spent many after dinner nights with the American couple Mrs. and Mr. Joseph Pennell, the latter being a famous lithographer and etcher and friend of Whistler. Such evenings were amusing to all, they had great arguments, good-natured vivid conversations.
Savage Landor also tells about a dinner event at the Café Royal with the Chelsea Art Club with many young rising artist who asked Whistler partecipation. Whistler was very flattered by such invitation and asked Savage Landor to go with him. That evening he made a speech which he expected to be witty, sarcastic but regardless of its content the young artists applauded him with sincere enthusiasm, Whistler was deeply touched by such treat.
After such flat sharing experience their contacts continued over the years, some years later they both met the Italian fiancè of their mutual friend Heinemann who asked their personal opinion about being the right woman to marry.
There were many other anecdotes Savage Landor could tell about Whistler who also kept writing long letters to him during his travels, sharing their his sketches. Whistler wanted also to draw a portrait of Savage Landor but they never found the time for his long time taking sessions.
Savage Landor met him many times during the last years of his life and remained devoted friends until his death. Savage Landor wrote that except Heinemann and the Pennells he was the only human being who never quarrelled with him.