MastroNet Summer 2004
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
Gardner’s 1863 photograph of Abraham Lincoln never looked as good as it did in the hands of 19th Century German master-lithographer and photographer Franz Hanfstaengl (1804 - 1877). Hanfstaengl worked in Munich as a portrait lithographer and photographer, producing prints of many of the notable figures of the mid 19th Century. His classically trained techniques involved photographic treatments of his own paintings, which were often inspired by famous subjects and photographs of his time. Here his muse took the form of Gardner’s portrait, though Hanfstaengl has improved certain features, like the hair and facial details, and even gone so far as to straighten Abe’s tie! The original photograph measures 7-1/2” x 9-5/8” with a total matted size of 14-1/2” x 19-3/4”. The original mounting’s provenance is evidenced by Hanfstaengl’s embossed seal centered under the portrait. The seal reads “FRANZ HANFSTAENGL MUNICH”. The condition of the piece itself is magnificent, as our 16th President’s gaze is completely unhindered by the effects of time. There is an almost imperceptible, tiny area of distress in the upper left corner, which we mention only out of thoroughness. The surrounding matte shows some age-related discoloring, and on the lower right of the matte’s reverse there is what appears to be a period label identifying the piece: “111 ABRAHAM LINCOLN”. Hanfstaengl has captured the essence of Lincoln’s resolute intensity. In the presence of this work, one feels, if only in a small way, what it must have been like to come face to face with this giant among men. Truly striking.
Circa 1860’s Franz Hanfstaengl Original Photograph of Abraham Lincoln, Based on Alexander Gardner’s Famous 1863 Portrait
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