Chapter

Contemplative Statesmanship

James A. Percoco

in Summers with Lincoln

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228959
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823234981 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823228959.003.0004
Contemplative Statesmanship

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Augustus Saint-Gaudens was obsessed with Abraham Lincoln in the autumn of 1883, when he hurried east to Chicago by train from Helena, Montana. As the wheels of the Pullman coach made their syncopated music over the rails, three friends passed the time by playing cards, smoking, laughing, and enjoying one another's company. It was a three-day journey alone from Helena to Saint Paul, Minnesota, the hometown of the youngest of the three, the twenty-four-year-old architect Cass Gilbert. Saint-Gaudens, the senior member of the group, a rising star on the American artistic landscape, was anxious for his next commission, a heroic statue of Abraham Lincoln—a prize commission indeed, particularly for an energetic and ambitious artist. Saint-Gaudens immersed himself in reading Lincoln's writings and available works about the president. Where Saint-Gaudens and Stanford White's collaboration departed from other Lincoln statues, getting it right in Chicago was in the use of the presidential chair as balanced against the pensive figure.

Keywords: Augustus Saint-Gaudens; Abraham Lincoln; Cass Gilbert; statue; Stanford White; Chicago

Chapter.  10635 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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