Artist: George Edwin Bissell
Title: Bust of Abraham Lincoln, modeled ca. 1892 – 93, cast 1906-09
26 1/4 x 12 3/8 x 11 1/8 in. (66.7 x 31.4 x 28.3 cm)
Gift of James H. Ricau and Museum Purchase
At the age of 32, George Bissell was formally commissioned to create a marble sculpture for a local fire department. This work propelled and confirmed his passion to become a professional sculptor. After studying aboard in Europe for a year, he returned to Poughkeepsie, New York to begin his artistic career. Abraham Lincoln was a national figure. He was a lawyer, legislator for the state of Illinois, member of the House of Representations, and the sixteenth president of the United States. His presidency challenged and ultimately changed the culture of America and Americans. Because of his prominence, artists attempted to create and capture his image time and time again. Bissell used a brief encounter with Lincoln in 1860 as his inspiration for the commissioned bust.
Questions for Understanding
Lincoln, aware of his responsibility as an American citizen, practiced courtesy, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect for the rights of others. What other qualities do you think and American citizen should embody?