"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Abraham Lincoln

This 1860 portrait of Abraham Lincoln by George Peter Alexander Healy hangs in the National Gallery of Art.
Although it lacks the iconic features that came to characterize Lincoln's visage in later portraits—his full beard, gaunt face, and pensive solemnity—this portrait is significant as the last painted depiction of Lincoln without a beard. The lines on Lincoln's forehead and jowls and the dark circles beneath his eyes hint at the demands of the election campaign and his impending service as president. Yet, as art collector and museum founder Duncan Phillips noted, “This is a happy Lincoln with a glint of the famous humor which was to mitigate his sorrows and his cares. . . . It is a disarmingly personal impression of the eyes of true greatness at a moment when they were lighted with the surprise, the honor, and the vision of supreme opportunity.”

In addition to serving as the model for a 1959 postage stamp commemorating the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this portrait has hung in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the White House, and the Lincoln School in southeast Washington, DC. -- NGA

The 1959 1¢-stamp is based on Healy's 1859 portrait.

The photo below is an 1984 print of a negative taken on June 3, 1860 in Springfield, Illinois by Alexander Hesler.(LOC)

Currier and Ives published this picture of Abraham Lincoln Republican Candidate for Sixteenth President in 1860:

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