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Lot 9026
[PORTRAIT OF LINCOLN.]

Sold for US$ 11,162 inc. premium

Lincoln sale

23 Nov 2004, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

[PORTRAIT OF LINCOLN.]
Oil on board (possibly a painted-over photograph) of Abraham Lincoln, 13 by 16 inch oval portrait, with heavy overpaint, in hand-carved wooden frame.

The verso of this painting features a typed label reading thus: "As early as 1840 there lived in Springfield an artist who was noted for the possession of a very fine camera for taking life size photographs. / When Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency 100 of these pictures were taken. / The artist retouched them in colors and they were eagerly bought. This is the only one known to be in existence at present and it is loaned to the Lincoln Room of the old court house by a native son of a worthy pioneer physician of Woodford Country." The document identifies the owner/descendant as George Zeller. Ostendorf has added to verso: "1860 campaign photo--O-25 by Joseph Hill-painted over in oil colors June 1860 (one of two known) / very rare."
Lloyd Ostendorf believed this painted to be a retouched version of Joseph Hill's campaign portrait (O-25), and certainly it was common practice for photography studios to offer painted-over photographs to more traditional buyers leery of the newfangled photographic prints. Our paintings experts, however, can find no trace of the original photograph under the paint, which means either that the original photograph has been completely obliterated, or perhaps that this item is an original painting done after the Hill portrait. Either way, it is a very desirable piece.
Auction information

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