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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Gardner, Alexander
Culture:American (1821-1882)
Title:Abraham Lincoln
Date Made:1863, printed ca. 1900 by M.P. Rice
Type:Photograph
Materials:matte collodion print
Place Made:North America; United States; Washington DC
Measurements:Mount: 14 3/4 in x 11 13/16 in; 37.5 cm x 30 cm; Sheet: 13 7/8 in x 11 in; 35.2 cm x 27.9 cm; Image: 12 7/8 in x 9 15/16 in; 32.7 cm x 25.2 cm
Accession Number:  AC 1947.135
Credit Line:Gift of Mr. Grosvenor H. Backus, Class of 1894
1947-135.jpg

Description:
Civil War

Label Text:
Scholars and enthusiasts alike believe this portrait of Abraham Lincoln, taken on November 8, 1863, eleven days before his famed Gettysburg Address, to be the best photograph of him ever taken. Lincoln’s character was notoriously difficult to capture in pictures, but Alexander Gardner’s close-up portrait, quite innovative in contrast to the typical full-length portrait style, comes closest to preserving the expressive contours of Lincoln’s face and his penetrating gaze.

Lincoln was the first frequently photographed president; he even credited a photograph (taken at Mathew Brady’s New York studio on February 27, 1860) with securing his election to the presidency. Gardner took thirty-seven photographs of Lincoln, more than double the number by any other photographer.

Moses P. Rice, possibly one of Gardner’s former assistants, copyrighted this portrait in the late nineteenth century, along with other photographs by Gardner. For one person to do this with another’s work was not an unusual practice at that time.

MD, 2011

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