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Abe & Tad

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459.     [PHOTOGRAPHY]. [LINCOLN, ABRAHAM & SON, TAD (sitters)]. [BRADY, Mathew (photographic publisher)]. BERGER, Anthony (photographer). Albumen print mounted on cardstock, showing a kindly looking, bearded Lincoln wearing glasses sitting in an armchair reading from a book to his son Tad, who is standing to Lincoln’s left; both are wearing dress coats and watch fobs. N.p., n.d. [nineteenth-century, after 1864]. Image area: 18.4 x 14 cm; card: 25.2 x 20.4 cm. Image with overall foxing, small chemical flaws near right edge and at lower corner (not affecting image), print and card with small area of abrasion at right margin (not affecting image), card browned and faded at edges.

     This image is one of the iconic domestic images of Lincoln, the original of which was made in Brady’s studio in 1864. Brady’s father-and-son portrait was frequently reproduced in various sizes both by Brady and other photographers, and it was reproduced by Harper’s Weekly and copied by many artists and lithographers (see Holzer, Boritt, and Neely, The Lincoln Image, pp. 174-175, figs. 82-86). The present image is a heavily retouched, later print of Brady’s 1864 image of Lincoln and Tad, but it was made after the original image, with Lincoln holding in his lap a large album of carte de visite photographs mounted four to a page with brass clasps. Lincoln expressed fears that the album would eventually be mistaken for a large Bible, which is exactly what happened after his death when some photographers retouched the photograph.

     Mathew Brady, the original publisher of this image, is credited with being the father of photojournalism due to his groundbreaking Civil War photographs, which included graphic scenes of battlefield carnage. Anthony Berger, the photographer who took this image, is also responsible for the Lincoln portrait used as a model for the five-dollar bill, which was taken on February 9, 1864, the same day Lincoln posed with Tad for the present image. A copy of the 1864 image signed by Lincoln sold for $358,000 at the Forbes Sale.


Sold. Hammer: $150.00; Price Realized: $180.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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