Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was added to our collection at the main stairwell of the main libraryl

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.

This oil painting of Abraham Lincoln, a gift of Dr. Philip DePasquale, is a replication of a painting by John Dennison Crocker, painted in 1865 and subsequently ripped from its gilded frame and stolen from the Norwich City Hall in 1994. John Dennison Crocker (1822-1907) was born in Salem, CT and spent most of his life in Norwich, CT. He painted CT landscapes and portraits of local dignitaries. Abraham Lincoln visited Norwich on March 9, 1860 and Crocker probably used photography to record Mr. Lincoln’s image. Crocker subsequently painted this portrait in 1865. The slater Museum in Norwich and Norwich City Hall have Crocker’s paintings in their permanent collections.

Susan D’Amico, a contemporary portrait painter, painted this portrait of Lincoln in 2011 in response to a ‘Call to Artists’ to replace Crocker’s stolen painting. She attempted to replicate the stillness and somber colors particular to nineteenth century American portrait painters, based upon a sole photograph taken of the original painting and Crocker’s other portrait paintings. Her challenge was to copy the Crocker portrait as closely as possible, not adding any artistic interpretation; to truly be a copyist rather than an expressive painter. This was difficult for Susan, since Crocker’s interpretation was somewhat different than existing photographs of President Lincoln and the only photograph of Crocker’s Lincoln was taken at an angle, distorting the image. In the past, Susan has drawn and painted Lincoln based upon his photographed image but she had to do more studies in graphite and pastel based on Crocker’s image before painting on the canvas.