American Folk Art Museum Logo

Abraham Lincoln
Attributed to William Matthew Prior (1806–1873)

Location: Probably East Boston, Massachusetts or Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Date: c.1860–1873

Materials: Reverse painting in oil on glass

Dimensions: 23 1/2 × 17 1/4" (sight)

Credit: Museum purchase

Accession Number: 1985.18.1

Photo credit: Gavin Ashworth

Add to My Collections

Description

There are at least nineteen known reverse paintings on glass of Abraham Lincoln. All of the versions are based upon the photograph of the painting taken by Anthony Berger at Mathew Brady's Washington, D.C., studio on Tuesday, February 9, 1864. The large number of extant glass portraits of Lincoln and other luminaries suggests that many more of these paintings were painted than have probably survived due to their fragility. In three of the Lincoln portraits the president is facing right, which incorrectly places his signature mole on the wrong side of his face.

This example is attributed to William Matthew Prior, who painted more than one hundred surviving reverse paintings on glass of celebrated American heroes including George and Martha Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, and Daniel Webster.

Lee Kogan, "Abraham Lincoln," exhibition label for FOILED: Tinsel Painting in America. Lee Kogan, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2012–2013.


Abraham Lincoln
Date: c.1860–1873
Artist:
Dimensions: 23 1/2 × 17 1/4" (sight)
Materials: Reverse painting in oil on glass
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Place/Region: United States, Probably East Boston
Description: Bust length portrait of Abraham Lincoln executed in the reverse painting on glass technique; Lincoln's body turned 3/4 (P) left, head towards (P) right. He is wearing a black coat with buttons and lapels, white shirt with stiff white colar and black cravat. Heavy shading along cheeks, jawline nd above upper lip; figure set against matte, light brown background. Handling of face and body very painterly with brushwork evident. Built-up scallopped wood frame with mitered corners, nail construction painted dark brown with gold liner. Masking tape around entire outside edge of frame. Backed with old board.
Accession Number: 1985.18.1
Sign on