July 25, 2024


Art Shines Through

Rare statue of Abraham Lincoln given to Colby College Museum of Art

A uncommon, 40-inch bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln modeled after a famed 12-foot statue that’s been on show in a Chicago park due to the fact the late 19th century will before long be section of the Lunder Assortment at the Colby College Museum of Artwork.

Peter and Paula Lunder, the collection’s namesakes, paid out $1.15 million at an auction very last thirty day period for a replica of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ signature operate, which they gifted to the museum at the Waterville college or university.

The casting of “Abraham Lincoln: The Man” – in some cases referred to as Standing Lincoln – is 1 of only 17 regarded replicas of the original, all designed ahead of 1923. It depicts the 16th president increasing from a chair, 1 foot forward, to give a speech, his head bowed in contemplation.

Jacqueline Terrassa, the Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby University Museum of Artwork, said both equally the artist and this piece have been on the Lunders’ radar for some time.

“It’s a seriously stunning sculpture of Lincoln … a figure who is tied to so lots of aspects of American heritage,” she stated.

The Lunder Assortment at Colby is 1 of the most significant non-public collections of American artwork anyplace. Involved in the 500-as well as works of artwork are pieces by Winslow Homer and Ga O’Keefe and much more than 300 works by James McNeil Whistler, an influential 19th-century painter who was born in Massachusetts but expended significantly of his daily life in England.

The Lunders have long been art patrons and philanthropists and donated much of their $100 million assortment to Colby in 2013. Peter Lunder, a Colby School graduate, is the nephew of the late Dexter Shoe Co. magnate Harold Alfond and served as president of that enterprise for quite a few several years.

The Lunders acquired the Lincoln casting at an auction hosted previous thirty day period by Skinner Auctioneers of Marlborough, Massachusetts. The sale value was very well higher than the $700,000-$900,000 the auctioneer estimated the piece may fetch but less than what one more reproduction sold for in 2020.

Robin Starr, vice president for Skinner Auctioneers and director of American and European operates of art, explained the price tag wasn’t a shock supplied the rarity of the piece and its significance.

“It’s a little tougher to established an estimate for one thing like this because there are not a ton of them,” she stated. “But any function that includes another person of that amount of fame is going to have a specific cachet.”

Terrassa mentioned she understands why the acquire rate of any artwork typically grabs consideration, but she reported this sculpture has price to Colby beyond that.

“We’re pretty satisfied to have it in our collection,” she said.

Starr stated the sculpture had been on display for many several years inside of the library of a Massachusetts instructional establishment, which she would not identify at the past owner’s request. The prime of Lincoln’s head is worn to a shiny patina, seemingly because college students experienced the habit of rubbing it, Starr said.

“Once (the faculty) uncovered out what it was worthy of, they took it off exhibit,” she said.

With his tall stature, seriously creased experience and trademark beard, Lincoln has prolonged been a well-liked subject matter for painters and sculptors alike – the most notable piece, of system, is the large marble statue of a seated Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The initial Lincoln statue, on which the piece that will shortly be at Colby is based, was commissioned in 1883 and accomplished 4 decades later. It has been on display in Chicago’s Lincoln Park ever due to the fact.

The artist, Saint-Gaudens, died in 1907, but his widow, Augusta Homer, who also was an artist, oversaw the casting of a sequence of 40-inch variations from a fully concluded design of the exact dimension, all just before 1923.

There are casts in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale University Artwork Gallery, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Detroit Institute of Art, among the other places.

Another duplicate marketed in 2020 for $1.6 million, in accordance to the auctioneer Sotheby’s, but the customer was not disclosed.

Charlotte Mitchell, a professional at Sotheby’s, claimed in 2020 that Saint-Gaudens was amongst the most celebrated sculptors of his time, but this was his very first attempt at capturing Lincoln.

“He organized diligently just before modeling the full-scale Lincoln. He researched his speeches and present-day images to get a sense of his physical likeness,” she informed Auction Central News. “Saint-Gaudens had encountered Lincoln two times: in 1861, just before his presidency, and all through his funeral procession in 1865. Those two moments stuck in his mind.”

Lincoln has often been one particular of the top rated two or 3 revered presidents in U.S. background, and even far more so of late. The racial justice movement, as well as the country’s elevated polarizations, has elevated Lincoln even far more as a cultural hero. There are many new documentaries out about his legacy, which include a new series on Apple Tv.

“I really do not know if it’s translated into the artwork globe immediately, but I do feel he’s possibly obtaining a second, both equally for what he achieved and what he did not,” Starr reported.

Terrassa agreed.

“I think the man or woman of Lincoln and the leader he was and the position he done as a president is definitely pivotal to American record,” she explained. “Part of the symbolism of Lincoln is the notion of values: What do we stand for? That can make him a seriously significant determine for us to consider about in this minute.”

Colby is however figuring out how it will display screen the sculpture, which has yet to arrive, but will make an announcement in the coming weeks.

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