SIGNED BY BOTH THE PENNELS: HE “LOVED ONLY HIS ART, AND BY HIS ART HE MUST BE JUDGED”: AUTOGRAPH EDITION OF THE WHISTLER JOURNAL, ONE OF ONLY 500 COPIES
(WHISTLER, James A. McNeill) PENNEL, E.R. & J. The Whistler Journal. Autograph Edition. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1921. Thick octavo, original half vellum, top edge gilt, uncut and partially unopened. $1250.
Autograph Edition, one of only 500 copies, of The Whistler Journal, with autographed frontispiece portraits of both authors, Whistler’s longtime friends, and over 160 illustrations featuring work by Whistler—“one of the finest artists of the 19th century” (New York Times)—with four full-page photogravures not in the trade edition, including Whistler’s Dancing Girl, in original half vellum.
The Whistler Journal was immediately praised on publication as “a new form of literature… a contribution to our knowledge of a great man which will one day be as much of a classic as the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini.” As authors of Whistler’s 1908 biography and two of his closest friends, Joseph Pennell and Elizabeth Robins Pennell “extenuate nothing and excuse nothing” in this wonderfully illustrated Autograph Edition that affirms “the grandeur, the nobility, the beauty of line, the new creative force, and the amazing insight of one of the finest artists of the 19th century… The story of Whistler’s early days in Paris is, as one would expect, well told,” and the Pennells provide a welcome history of the relationship with his influential patrons, the Leylands, as well as a careful documentation of Whistler’s notorious feud with Ruskin. “One can see why Whistler liked and admired the Pennells; they knew just when to take him seriously, and they were amused by his displays of verbal fireworks… They knew how to criticize him when he most needed it.” Ultimately The Whistler Journal offers a sympathetic portrait of this colorful artist who “loved only his art, and by his art he must be judged” (New York Times). With over 160 illustrations, including many black-and-white photogravures of Whistler’s etchings, paintings, pastels, lithographs, portraits and oil paintings, images of the Peacock Room and much more. This Autograph Edition, one of only 500 copies issued, further contains frontispiece portraits of the Pennells after Whistler, signed by them, and four additional plates not present in the trade edition: Whistler’s Dancing Girl and three works by Joseph Pennell (one in color).
Plates and text fine, lightest edge-wear, soiling (as often) to original half vellum. A major contribution to art history in about-fine condition.