Memory is a Fickle Fashionista: A Lost Lincoln Portrait and a Forgotten Artist – Part 3

The story behind H. Stanley Todd‘s lost Lincoln portrait:

Abraham Lincoln Portrait

H Stanley, Todd, Abraham Lincoln, 1909?
Oil on Canvas, 40 x 50 inches (unframed)
Private Collection

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.

Abraham Lincoln Portrait (Detail)

H. Stanley Todd, Abraham Lincoln, 1909? (Detail)

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?

 

 

Portrait Abraham Lincoln

H. Stanley Todd, Abraham Lincoln, 1909?
Oil on Canvas, 40 x 50 inches, unframed
Private Collection

 (c) Fine Art Investigations, 2013
All Rights Reserved

About Patricia Moss

Patricia Moss is an art historian, or art detective if you will, who solves mysteries of 19th century American portraits. She located nearly 70 of Bingham’s lost portraits, a feat acknowledged by the Smithsonian’s Research and Scholar’s Center. From expertise with portraits of George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), she developed skills that evolved into a comprehensive system based on the scientific method that conforms to the legal and ethical standards of art authentication. Moss served as a guest curator for the Bingham Bicentennial Exhibit, “Steamboats to Steam Engines: George Caleb Bingham’s Missouri: 1819-1879,” (March 10-September 8, 2011) at the Truman Presidential Museum and curated the opening exhibition, “George Caleb Bingham: Witness to History,” (September 2013 –), Jackson County Art Museum, Independence, Missouri. She is also the principal researcher for Fine Art Investigations.
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1 Response to Memory is a Fickle Fashionista: A Lost Lincoln Portrait and a Forgotten Artist – Part 3

  1. Pingback: Memory is a Fickle Fashionista: A Lost Lincoln Portrait and A Forgotten Artist – Part 2 | Fine Art InvestigationsFine Art Investigations

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