Thomas Wilmer DewingWalt Whitman
24 1/2 x 18 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Robert Tyler Davis Memorial Fund
Dewing expressed his admiration for Whitman by idealizing his image. He gave the poet's full beard a silky quality, and he reduced the wrinkles of his face and eyelids to create a monumental and eternal presence. By 1875, Whitman had suffered a paralytic stroke, and his health was in decline, but his reputation as one of America's greatest living poets had been firmly established.