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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