SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH OF WALT WHITMAN, THE IMAGE USED IN THE 1889 POCKET EDITION OF LEAVES OF GRASS
WHITMAN, Walt. Photograph signed. New York: F. Gutekunst, circa 1880. Photograph, measuring 4 by 6-1/4 inches; matted and framed, entire piece measures 10 by 12-1/4 inches. $7800.
Lovely phototype portrait of Walt Whitman, the image used for the 1889 "pocket edition" of Leaves of Grass, boldly signed by Whitman in the lower margin in blue pencil.
"This photograph appears in 1889 Leaves (pocket edition). Whitman asked Horace Traubel [his close friend and literary executor] about this photo: 'Do you think it glum? severe? I have had that suspicion but most people won't hear to it.' When Traubel dissented, Whitman said, 'I hope your view is correct: I don't want to figure anywhere as misanthropic, sour, doubtful: as a discourager—as a putter-out of lights.' Whitman records in his daybooks receiving photos from Gutekunst in March 1880" (The Walt Whitman Archive). Whitman does not appear to have been pleased with the photographs from the 1880 sitting; he criticized a similar photograph from the same sitting to Traubel. Nevertheless, Whitman returned to Gutekunst and received a number of portraits he liked better in 1889.
Light foxing to photograph. Near-fine, desirable signed.