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Abraham Lincoln
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Artist
Alexander Gardner, 17 Oct 1821 - 1882
Sitter
Abraham Lincoln, 12 Feb 1809 - 15 Apr 1865
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Medium
Albumen silver print
Dimensions
Image/Sheet: 8.7 x 5.4 cm (3 7/16 x 2 1/8")
Mount: 10.2 x 6 cm (4 x 2 3/8")
Mat (New): 35.6 × 27.9 cm (14 × 11")
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Place
United States\District of Columbia\Washington
Date
1865
Exhibition Label
Alexander Gardner took this portrait of Abraham Lincoln at the last sitting the president gave him, on Sunday, February 5, 1865. That same sitting produced the accidental masterpiece known as the “cracked-plate” portrait. The other photographs from this session had Gardner’s characteristic sharpness and clarity in the president’s face and expression. However, here, the president’s hands were fidgety, as evidenced by the blurring of the eyeglasses and the pencil that he holds as props. From this original image, Gardner and his assistants cleaned up the blurring during post-production editing or retouching, a nineteenth-century version of Photoshop. They also introduced a subtle variation: in some of the prints, instead of spectacles, Lincoln is holding a penknife, with which he would presumably sharpen the pencil.
Type
Photograph
Object number
NPG.2007.184