The story behind H. Stanley Todd‘s lost Lincoln portrait:
The current owner found the Abraham Lincoln painting in storage when he purchased a building in Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1990s. He left it in storage for 20 years, where it apparently had already been for some time. The original property was a Greek revival built in 1836 that was renovated into a restaurant and condominiums. By searching property records, I found that the previous owners were family members of another successful real estate developer. His Long Island home was located 22 miles from the Priory, the estate of artist H. Stanley Todd. The current owner believes the portrait may have been in storage for up to 50 years before he bought the building.
This year, the portrait owner brought the piece out and hoped to sell it. I identified the artist and tentatively established provenance. But between the Fickle Fashionita of Art Memory and the uninformed art dealer, he sees no choice but to return it to storage. Beneath the dirt and dings, I see a finely-wrought representational portrait created a century ago in the best techniques of traditional art ready to be restored and appreciated. But in another 20 years, what will its condition be?
Does this painting deserve such a fate?
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