Text: Michael J. Deas, “Thomas C. Corner,” The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe (1989), pp. 130-131 (This material is protected by copyright)


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­[page 130:]

Portrait by Thomas C. Corner

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe [thumbnail]

(fig. 62)
Portrait by Thomas C. Corner
 
[Illustration on page 131]

This often reproduced oil painting is the work of Thomas Cromwell Corner (1865-1938), a successful portraitist whose father once owned Charles Hine’s portrait of Poe (fig. 37). A native of Baltimore, Corner received his training at the Maryland Art Institute and the Art Student’s League in New York City. In 1888, at the age of twenty-three, he sailed for Paris to continue his studies at the Académie Julian. Three years later one of his self-portraits was exhibited at the Paris Salon. In 1891 Corner returned to Baltimore where he began a long and distinguished career painting that city’s leading residents. He died in Baltimore on September 5, 1938.(142)

Corner’s portrait of Poe (fig. 62) was painted in 1933, at the suggestion of Dr. Joseph L. Wheeler of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Corner was concerned with making the likeness as accurate as possible, and before beginning the work examined approximately fifty reproductions of various Poe portraits and daguerreotypes. Much of the material was subsequently rejected as “contradictory and distorted” and Corner ultimately based his painting on the “Whitman” daguerreotype of 1848 (fig. 17). Shortly after completing the portrait, Corner remarked: “Having studied the various daguerreotypes of Poe, I selected the one owned by Brown University as the most satisfactory from which to paint a portrait. The expression is sad, but not tragic; the features are in repose and suggest a strong intelligence. The greatcoat gives a picturesqueness and a slightly dramatic effect to his figure, which is in accord with his literary productions and the facts of his life. Everything considered, I think it the most interpretative portrait of those in existence.”(143)

The Corner portrait took approximately three months to execute and, upon completion, was presented to the Pratt Library as an anonymous gift. Following Corner’s death in 1938, it was revealed that the donor had in fact been the artist himself.(144)

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - PDEAP, 1989] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe (M. J. Deas) (Thomas C. Corner)