A Presidential Sculpture for Presidents' Day
Post by: Jennifer Chapman Smith
Collections and Exhibitions Manager
Happy New Year!
We took a brief hiatus from blogging but are now back and ready to bring you exciting things from the WCMFA collections inventory project.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, we thought it would be nice to show off one of the WCMFA’s great sculptures that honors President Abraham Lincoln.
John Gutzon Borglum’s (American, 1867 – 1941) Head of Abraham Lincoln was sculpted by the artist in 1929 and was gifted to the museum in 1931 by Mrs. Anna Brugh Singer, who founded the museum with her husband William Henry Singer, Jr.
Dr. Elizabeth Johns writes of the piece:
“Borglum’s sculpture of Lincoln reveals his close study of photographs of the President. The knit brows, hooded eyes, full lower lip, sunken checks, and even the wart on his lower right cheek place the brooding man before us. Carving the head directly into the stone in emulation of such masters as Michelangelo, Borglum emphasized the right side of Lincoln’s face, which he considered the more expressive. The sculpture, created more than 60 years after the end of the Civil War and by an artist who was born after the war, is a testimony to American society’s enduring preoccupation with Lincoln. Known for his monumental sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore, Borglum considered this portrait, the original study for his head of Lincoln in the Capitol, as among his finest work.”
This wonderful sculpture is currently on view in the museum’s Smith Gallery as part of the Nineteenth Century Art exhibition.