Abraham Lincoln's rare, signed picture may fetch $100K at auction

The image was also copied by many artists and lithographers, both authorised and unauthorised.

Abraham Lincoln's rare, signed picture may fetch $100K at auction
BOSTON: An iconic photograph of Abraham Lincoln and his son, signed by the former US President, is expected to sell for USD 100,000 at an auction.

The rare, large-format signed copy of a timeless image is "one of the finest Lincoln photographs in existence," according to US-based RR Auction.

Portrait painter Francis B Carpenter arranged for Lincoln to sit for a series of photographs at Matthew Brady's Washington DC gallery.


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Image: Sotheby's
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Image: Christie's
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Photo: Aalders Auctions
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Image: Christie's
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Carpenter, the US President, and Lincoln's youngest son Tad walked to Brady's studio at 3 pm, on February 9, 1864.

Since Brady's eyesight was beginning to fail, he asked his superintendent, Anthony Berger, to photograph Lincoln.

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Berger took at least seven poses of the US President, both alone and with ten-year-old Tad Lincoln. The images taken that day have formed the basis for Lincoln's image on the penny and both the old and new USD 5 bills.

In the image, Lincoln holds a big photograph album which the photographer, posing the father and son, had hit upon as a good device to use in this way to bring the two sitters together, according to the auction house.

Lincoln later feared that the public would view this pose as "a species of false pretense" because most viewers would assume the book was a large clasped Bible.

When they learned that it was a photograph album, they might think Lincoln was "making believe read the Bible to Tad." Just as Lincoln feared, after his death some versions were carefully retouched in order to make the album appear to be a large Bible.

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(Text: Viandra D'souza)
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The image became the most popular of the Lincoln and his youngest son, and it was frequently reproduced in various sizes by Brady and copied by unauthorised photographers.

In 1865, Berger copyrighted a version he produced in India ink that made at least two changes. He added background and changed the chair to make it appear that the setting was the White House, and he changed the volume to make it look like a Bible printed in double columns.
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Abraham Lincoln and his son
The image was frequently reproduced in various sizes (Image: www.rrauction.com)

The image was also copied by many artists and lithographers, both authorised and unauthorised.

In 1984, the US Postal Service issued this image on a stamp with the ironic caption, "A Nation of Readers," to promote literacy.
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