In Search of
Abraham Lincoln's Spirit
As a member of the Abraham Lincoln
Association and the Lincoln Forum, and a life long
Lincoln Admirer, I have long desired to create an original portrait tribute to
this great American. As the project developed, I realized that the key to
understanding President Lincoln's personality lay in appreciating his
development as a "Prairie Lawyer." His early political career
and his years of tireless work as an attorney, defending the Constitution and
the common man, laid the foundation of his strong character and political integrity
that would guide President Lincoln through the most difficult period in our
When Mr. Lincoln moved from Springfield to Washington D.C., the
nation was moving into war. During the next four years, the face of
Abraham Lincoln became a mirror of the soul of the nation, indelibly etched with
the turmoil of a struggling democracy. In a very real sense, Mr. Lincoln's
physical, emotional, and intellectual transformation paralleled the
transformation of America. Yet for all these changes, he was still the
same man-the practical prairie lawyer from Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln may have been the only man alive who could have
presided over the Civil War to reunite the nation and abolish slavery. Why
was he different, what aspects of his character gave him the uncanny ability to
weigh the past, present, and future, to clearly see both sides of any issue and
to arrive at a common sense solution? Why, above all others, did he posses
the self reliance and determination to see the job through? What were Mr.
Lincoln's hopes and aspirations, his agonies and torments? These are the
questions I ask myself every time I view his face.
When I tried to capture the spirit and character of this great
man, I realized that since both periods of his life were so intimately
intertwined, two portraits- attorney and president- were necessary to fulfill my
vision of Mr. Lincoln. Only through two portraits could I show the
transition and the struggle, the strength and the triumph, and the mortal cost
of that triumph.
The resulting twin portraits are therefore spiritually,
artistically, and intellectually bonded as a single work. When both
portraits are experienced together, the viewer can feel the pressures and
changes which molded Lincoln's destiny and the destiny of America. I hope
that these portraits will contribute artistically to a more intimate
understanding of Mr. Lincoln. In honor of all all that they represent, I
have called them:
A Portrait of Transition:
"Prairie Lawyer" and "Immortal Conscience."