Price includes a frame, mat, and shipping carton. This original hand-printed etching was adapted from an 1890 photograph by British physician, Dr. John JohnstonDr. Johnson’s photograph is currently located in The Charles E. Feinberg Collection, Library of Congress, Washington D. C. Call Number Physical Location, LOT 12017, box 11item Prints Pictures. The scene shows US poet, Walt Whitman, with his nurse, Warren, or Warry, Fritzinger, sitting on the Delaware River wharfs in the city of Camden, New Jersey.
Di Falco’s etching was executed on a zinc plate and manually printed on a Charles Brand flatbed press at The Center for Works on Paper, located on the Fleisher Art campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The artist incorporated the etching techniques of Intaglio, Aquatint, Drypoint and Chine collé. Media includes oil-based etching inks on Rives BFK white paper, which were both manufactured in France. Mulberry bark paper from Thailand, which was infused with Japanese Kozo fibers and hand-treated with homemade methylcellulose, was employed in the Chine collé process. Three nitric acid baths were required to obtain the final design. This is the second best print of five prints in the LAST of FOUR Edition, as noted on the etching as 2 over 5 and Roman numeral IV over IV.
The image size corresponds to the etching plate’s size of six inches wide by nine inches high or 15.240cm by 22.860 cm. The RivesBFK white printmaking paper was hand torn to a size of about eleven inches by fifteen inches or 27.940cm by 38.100cm. Di Falco created the work’s color by blending five inks. STORYLINE -- Walt Whitman lived his final years in Camden, New Jersey, on Mickel Street. His small house, which is now a museum, is located a few blocks from the Delaware River docks. His housekeeper and cook, Mary Davis, arranged for Whitman to hire her adopted-son, Warren, to act as the poet’s last caregiver and personal nurse. Warren became Whitmans closest friend and stayed with him over two years until his death in 1892. The poet was quoted as saying--Warry is faithful, true, and loyal. Speculations over their sexual relationship and Whitman’s bisexuality remain. Dr. John Johnston, an admirer of Whitman, took the photo on which DiFalco based his etching. Johnson traveled across the Atlantic specifically to meet the poet on July 15, 1890. He would later write--As we approached the wharf Whitman exclaimed How delicious the air is. On the wharf he allowed me to photograph himself and Warry, and it was almost dusk. The light was unfavourable, and after I sat on a log of wood beside him. Walt talked in the most free and friendly manner for a full hour, facing the golden sunset, in the cool evening breeze, with the summer lightning playing around us, and the ferry boats crossing and recrossing the Delaware. The artist poet, Jerry Di Falco, was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey, just blocks from Whitman’s house. Whitman holds a special place in the artist’s heart, and he has frequently visited his Camden grave. In 1974, DiFalco escourted the poet Allen Ginsberg to Whitman’s house and arranged for a public reading by Ginsberg at nearby Rutgers University.