The Standing Lincoln
DID YOU KNOW there is a Lincoln in Grant Park and a Grant in Lincoln Park? Well, there is! There is also a Lincoln in Lincoln Park.
Sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), an Irish immigrant, sculpted the famous Lincoln statue located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The statue is commonly known as “The Man” or the “Standing Lincoln”. It is located on the east lawn of the Chicago History Museum (near Clark Street and North Avenue). The twelve foot bronze figure is mounted on a semicircular pedestal designed by architect Stanford White. Lincoln stands in front of a stately looking chair, with an American eagle on the back, in a pensive position as though he is about to deliver a speech. Several phrases from Lincoln’s speeches are inscribed on the base of the monument.
When Eli Bates, a lumber magnate in Chicago, died in 1881 his will designated funds to create a fountain and a statue of Abraham Lincoln, both to be located in Lincoln Park.
As many as ten thousand people watched the dedication ceremony on October 22, 1887, when Lincoln’s 15-year-old grandson (Abraham Lincoln II) unveiled the statue, and along with Leonard Swett, a longtime friend and presidential advisor, who delivered the address.
In 1860, a young sculptor named Leonard Volk invited Mr. Lincoln to his studio in Chicago, as he wanted to make a portrait bust of the popular Springfield lawyer. To create a facial impression, he coated his face with plaster to create a mold. The end result was a mask that Volk used to create a 3 D bust. When casting his right hand, Lincoln decided to hold a piece of a broomstick handle as he felt this would provoke a stronger and more powerful effect.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was also a master of relief, which is the most difficult form of sculpture. In 1907, Theodore Roosevelt asked him to design some gold currency. He went on to become the first sculptor to design an American coin and many think his twenty-dollar gold piece is the most beautiful coin ever designed.
On the side….