Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, 1848-1907)Abraham Lincoln: The Man (Standing Lincoln)
, 1884-1887, cast before 1926
Signed and inscribed "COPYRIGHT 1912 BY A.H.SAINT-GAUDENS" on the back edge of the base, and "AVGVSTVS SAINT GAVDENS SCVLPTOR M.D.CCC.LXXXVII" along the left edge of the base, inscribed "E PLVRIBVS VNVM" on the chair.
Bronze with brown patina, height 40 in. (101.5 cm).
Condition: Surface grime, dust to interstices, wear to patina particularly on the top of the figure's head.
Provenance: A Massachusetts educational institution, probably since the 1930's, possibly earlier.
Literature: John H. Dryfhout, The Works of Augustus Saint-Gaudens
(University Press of New England: Hanover and London, 1982), p. 158-162, entry 124.
N.B. The work here depicts the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. He stands with his head bent gently downwards in introspection and humility, and his left foot slightly forward, in a posture he often assumed when readying to give a speech. (1) The original commission, begun in 1883, was for a monumental work for Chicago's Lincoln Park. Saint-Gaudens saw Lincoln in person while the latter was in New York in late 1860 or early in 1861. In recalling the encounter Saint-Gaudens noted, "Lincoln stood tall in carriage, his dark uncovered head bent in contemplative acknowledgement of the waiting people, and the broadcloth of his black coat shone rich and silken in the sunlight." (2) Saint-Gaudens used his recollections, a local model of similar build, and life casts made of Lincoln's face and hands to create his evocative Lincoln.
The casting of the reduced 40-inch versions of the Standing Lincoln
was overseen by the artist's widow, Augusta Fisher Homer Saint-Gaudens. She began casting these in 1912 and made approximately 17. As an artist herself, she understood the complexities of the process, and fiercely oversaw the casts to be certain that they were of the highest quality. She utilized several of her husband's studio assistants and used only the foundries that her husband had trusted to cast his works. She was careful to distinguish the casts she oversaw by including the inscription "COPYRIGHT 1912 BY A.H.SAINT-GAUDENS" on the back of the base.
1.) John H. Dryfhout, The Works of Augustus Saint-Gaudens
(University Press of New England: Hanover and London, 1982), p.158.
2.) Ibid., p. 158.
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