Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, Dublin 1848–1907 Cornish, New Hampshire)
1860; cast 1886
L. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
Purchase, Jonathan L. Cohen and Allison B. Morrow Gift and Friends of the American Wing Fund, 2007
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 762
In 1860 Volk made molds of the face and hands of Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The life mask (2007.185.2) reproduces Lincoln’s beardless face as it appeared during his first presidential campaign. The hand grips a broomstick, a prop that Lincoln improvised upon Volk’s suggestion that he hold something cylindrical resembling a document. In 1886 Saint-Gaudens, the collectors Thomas B. Clarke and Erwin Davis, and the journalist Richard W. Gilder together purchased the original plaster casts to present to the Smithsonian Institution. To finance the donation, they sold bronze and plaster casts after Volk’s originals, with production supervised by Saint-Gaudens.
Inscription: COPYRIGHT 1886 BY LEONARD W VOLK THIS CAST OF THE HAND OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS MADE FROM THE FIRST REPLICA OF THE ORIGINAL MADE AT SPRINGFIELD ILL THE SUNDAY FOLLOWING NOMINATION TO THE PRESIDENCY
Richard Watson Gilder, 1886–d.1909; by descent in family to great-grandson Anthony Palmer; [Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, 2007]