26.01.2018 Washington National Gallery of Art : Healy’s Portrait of President-Elect on Display

Healy’s Portrait of President-Elect on Display

« In November 1860, shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected president, George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894) began the portrait on view in this gallery. Healy’s painting was the first portrait for which Lincoln posed following his election and also the last to show him without a beard. Prior to the election, Lincoln had received a letter from an eleven-year-old girl, who wrote that his appearance — as well as his chances for winning — would be improved if he grew whiskers. Lincoln replied that since he had never worn whiskers, the change might be viewed as an « affectation. » Three months later, however, while traveling from Illinois to Washington for his inauguration, Lincoln made a point of stopping in the young girl’s hometown, where he delighted in showing her his newly grown beard. Healy’s empathetic portrait of the clean-shaven president-elect records Lincoln’s features before the outbreak of the Civil War and the radical change in his appearance that followed, as documented in these photographs. »

Access to the complete pdf in progress :Dossier Lincoln 0418

 

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