“one of my good-humored pictures … This is strong enough to be right and gentle enough to be right, too” - Whitman
(WHITMAN, WALT.) Napoleon Sarony. Bust portrait of Whitman wearing a hat
New York, 1878
Albumen print (5 ¾ x 4 in.). Cabinet card mount. Light foxing, minor wear to extremities of mount. A handsome photograph.
Boldly signed and dated 1879 by Whitman. Whitman observed of this delightful portrait, “It is one of my good-humored pictures. … This is strong enough to be right and gentle enough to be right, too: I like to be both: I wouldn’t like people to say ‘he is a giant’ and then forget I know how to love.”
The flamboyant Napoleon Sarony was one of New York’s leading portrait photographers. In July 1878 he invited the poet to sit for a group of portraits. Eight photographs resulted. Whitman recalled of sitting at “the great photographic establishment” that he “had a real pleasant time.”