Art, Art History and Design, School of


Date of this Version



Katz, Wendy J. "Previously Undocumented Art Criticism by Walt Whitman." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 32 (2015), 215-229.


Whitman’s “Letters from a Travelllling Bachelor,” written for the New York Sunday Dispatch (October 14, 1849, through January 6, 1850) are well known, as is his practice of contributing news about Brooklyn and Brooklyn artists to the Dispatch as well as to other newspapers like the Evening Post.1 But his extended description of a painting by Jesse Talbot, Encampment of the Caravan, in the Evening Post (“Encampment of the Caravan,” April 29, 1851; p. 1), and his critique of the National Academy of Design annual exhibition in the Dispatch of the following year (“An Hour at the Academy of Design,” April 25, 1852; p. 2), as well as the response the latter generated, have not been cited or described. These articles point to an additional source for Whitman’s interest in Egypt and the Orient, and to his eventual disenchantment with institutions for “elevating” popular taste in art.