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One Life: The Mask of Lincoln
November 7, 2008 through July 5, 2009
First Floor

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No American has had more written or said about him than Abraham Lincoln. To both his contemporaries and posterity, Lincoln has been an endless subject of mystery and fascination. "One Life: The Mask of Lincoln" will examine how Lincoln used the new art of photography to convey his image to Americans, letting them see in him what they most desired. The National Portrait Gallery will commemorate the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth with this "One Life" exhibition that draws on the Portrait Gallery's extensive collection of Lincoln portraits, a collection that charts Lincoln's passage from a fresh-faced Illinois congressman to his grizzled isolation as president. The exhibition will provide many faces of Lincoln for the public to ponder. It will be one of the rare times that the original cracked-plate portrait of Lincoln by Alexander Gardner will be displayed (in order to preserve the original, most often a facsimile of the photograph is on view). David Ward, historian, is the exhibition curator.


Abraham Lincoln / Alexander Gardner / 1865 / Albumen silver print /National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution


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