The Darker Drink

The Darker Drink

This Charles Yarnall Abbott allegorical photograph, The Darker Drink, dates to at least 1902, when it was exhibited along with four other photographs by him as part of the ground-breaking exhibit: American Pictorial Photography Arranged by “The Photo-Secession” which took place at the National Arts Club in New York City.  The show, arranged by Alfred Stieglitz, was the first collective effort at forming an American secession photographic movement, and although Abbott had work reproduced by Stieglitz as photogravures in Camera Notes and later in Camera Work, he never actually joined the Photo-Secession under Stieglitz.  A complete facsimile catalogue to the 1902 exhibit is reproduced in the fine volume: Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession 1902 by William Innes Homer and edited by Catherine Johnson. 1.

The title of the work, alluding to the act of succumbing to death, is taken from stanza XLIII in Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of The Rubaiyát of Omar Kháyyám:

“So when the Angel of the darker Drink
At last shall find you by the river-brink,
And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul 
Forth to your Lips to quaff – you shall not

1. Catalogue: Stieglitz And The Photo-Secession 1902: Text by William Innes Homer-Edited by Catherine Johnson: Viking Studio: published by the Penguin Group: New York: 2002: unpaginated but p. 38

The Darker Drink

Image Dimensions18.1 x 13.3 cm : Art folio #3, plate #1: The Photographic Society of Philadelphia

Support Dimensions34.8 x 26.5 cm : Mount color: gray