INSCRIBED TO WALKER EVANS
The Bridge. A Poem.
New York: Horace Liveright, 1930. Evans, Walker. First American edition. Blue boards, a near-fine copy, without dust jacket. Photographic frontispiece by Walker Evans. An amazing association copy, inscribed on the front end paper by Hart Crane to Walker Evans, whose three small photographs illustrated the first edition. To Walker Evans, - / 'clean animosity, - clear name." / from / Hart Crane / New York – Brooklyn in fact / March 25th '30", three days after official publication. Evans was involved in their arrangement in the book and, perhaps, also that of the larger, horizontal image used as the frontispiece in this edition: "With Walker Evans's ownership signature above the inscription.
Spine gilt dulled; near fine in blue boards without jacket. From the collection of noted photographer and collector Arnold Crane. Schwartz & Schweik A 3.1. Item #32562
Although their fathers were business acquaintances, the poet and photographer first met in the fall of 1928, when both men were living in Brooklyn Heights, where they often met and shared their sympathetic literary and artistic tastes. Their mutual friend Hans Skolle credited Evans with rescuing the manuscript of "The Bridge" from Crane's destructive, drunken fits. Evans found Crane a file clerk job at the Henry L. Doherty Company, where he worked, but it lasted only a short time. Crane gave a party which Evans attended, along with Crane's other close friends,Sam Loveman, e.e. clummings, Gorham Munson, ands others, celebrating his departure for London and Paris. It was while Crane was in Paris that he met Harry and Caresse Crosby, who agreed to publish a limited edition of "The Bridge," which Crane was then struggling to complete, in the fall of 1929, around the time Evans made a series of portraits of Crane, as James Mellow, Evans's biographer, notes that "there is no definite date for when Crane asked Evans to provide photographs of the Brooklyn Bridge as illustrations for the Crosbys' edition of The Bridge. In January 1929, Crane was courting the painter Joseph Stella, hoping to use one of his dramatic paintings of the bridge as frontispiece....Even as late as Sepember 6 he was offering to get the Crosbys a photo of Stella's picture....Between then and late December the plans had been changed and Crane asked Evans to supply the illustrations," Crane wrote Caresse Crosby, in Janjuary 1930, how he thought Evans "the most living, vital photographer of any whose work I know. More and more", he wrote, "I rejoice that we decided on his pictures rather than Stella's". (O My Land, My Friends, p.422). Although at the beginning of 1930 Evans and Crane saw a good deal of each other, as Crane promoted Evans in advance of The Bridge's publication, by the end of March 1930 their relationship had deteriorated, and in May Evans wrote his friend Hans Skolle, that he was "fed up" and not seeing Crane, who was "beyond redemption" It's not clear to us whether the inscription refers to this quarrel. It was Evans, who in August 1931 bundled Crane, who had been for days drinking alone in his hotel room, and his luggage onto the S.S. Orizaba for his return trip to Mexico. Evans never saw him again.