As the nation celebrates the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, leading Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer delves into one of the most unusual and deeply revealing portraits of the sixteenth president. Holzer will speak at the museum on Saturday, April 18, as part of the American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series, made possible though a pioneering partnership among Washington College, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Holzer’s talk will explore this 1860 portrait of Abraham Lincoln by John Henry Brown.
Holzer is author or editor of thirty-one books on Lincoln and the Civil War era. He has received numerous awards, including the 2005 Lincoln Prize, the most prestigious award in the field, for his book Lincoln at Cooper Union (2004), and he was a 2008 recipient of the National Humanities Medal. His latest work is the critically praised Lincoln, President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Writer, 1860–1861 (2008). Currently, Holzer is senior vice president of external affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and co-chairman of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
John Brown’s portrait of Lincoln is on display in “One Life: The Mask of Lincoln.” This exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery shows the changing face that Abraham Lincoln presented to the world as he led the fight for the Union. The exhibition runs until July 5, 2009. It is part of a yearlong Smithsonian-wide celebration of the bicentennial, exploring the life and times of the nation’s most mythic and transformative president.
The lecture takes place in the museums’ Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium and begins at 4:30 p.m., with doors opening at 4:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public; tickets will be released at 3:30 p.m. at the G Street lobby information desk on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit of two tickets per person. More information is available here.
The American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series will conclude on Sunday, April 26, with a talk by internationally recognized New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. She will explore Charles Addams’s famous cartoon Boiling Oil (1946). More information on the series is available on the website of the C. V. Starr Center.
Abraham Lincoln / John Henry Brown, 1860 / Watercolor on ivory / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution