Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lewis Powell [alias Lewis Payne]

Artist:
Alexander Gardner (American, Glasgow, Scotland 1821–1882 Washington, D.C.)
Date:
April 27, 1865
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
22.4 × 17.4 cm (8 13/16 × 6 7/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.97
Not on view
At roughly the same time that John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln, Lewis Paine attempted unsuccessfully to murder Secretary of State William Seward. The son of a Baptist minister from Alabama, Paine (alias Wood, alias Hall, alias Powell) was one of at least five conspirators who planned with Booth the simultaneous assassinations of Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Seward. A tall, powerful man, Paine broke into the secretary's house, struck his son Frederick with the butt of his jammed pistol, brutally stabbed the bedridden politician, and then escaped after stabbing Seward's other son, Augustus.

Four days later, Paine was caught in a sophisticated police dragnet and arrested at the H Street boarding house of fellow conspirator Mary Surratt. Detained aboard two iron-clad monitors docked together on the Potomac, Paine and seven other presumed conspirators were photographed by Alexander Gardner on April 27. Gardner made full-length, profile, and full-face portraits of each of the men, presaging the pictorial formula later adopted by law-enforcement photographers. Of the ten known photographs of Paine, six show him against a canvas awning on the monitor's deck, the others against the dented gun turret. In this portrait, Paine, towering more than a head above the deck officer, appears menacingly free of handcuffs. He was twenty years old.
Inscription: Inscribed in ink, verso: "#7776 // Lewis Payne, (Powell) // Lincoln conspirator, // Hanged July 7, 1865. // Payne made the assault on Sec. Seward, // was the son of Rev. George C. Powell (Baptist). Lewis and two // brothers in confederate Army. Both brothers were killed. // Lewis was wounded at Gettysburg and made a prisoner. Afterwards // deserted from Confed. Army and returned to Balto. and dropped his // last name of Powell. // Photographed by Gardener 1865."
Lloyd Ostendorf; [Rinhart Galleries]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, January 24, 1986

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.

Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Police Pictures: The Photograph as Evidence," October 1, 1997–January 31, 1998.

Grey Art Gallery, New York University. "Police Pictures: The Photograph as Evidence," May 19, 1998–July 18, 1998.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Portraits: A Century of Photographs," September 10, 2002–January 13, 2003.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," April 2, 2013–September 2, 2013.

Gibbes Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," September 27, 2013–January 5, 2014.

New Orleans Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," January 31, 2014–May 4, 2014.

Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 112.



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