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In 1924 Harold Mason, founder of the Centaur Press in Philadelphia asked Wharton Esherick to illustrate the press’ first publication: an edition of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Broad-Axe. Esherick had long been a fan of Whitman’s poetry, and Song of the Broad-Axe, in particular, spoke to the artist, his world view and the path he’d chosen for his life.
The Artist, the Poet and the Centaur, in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of Whitman’s birth, looks closely at the Centaur’s publication of this poem and features many of the original woodblocks used for the book, as well conceptual sketches, original prints and the rarely seen, hand-illuminated edition made by the artist as a gift for his wife.
Exhibitions in our Visitor Center are free to the public. This does not include admission to the Museum for which advance reservations are required.