“Presidente Lincoln,” the only known contemporary artistic tribute to Abraham Lincoln made in Spain, will go on long-term display starting Tuesday, July 17 in the Lincoln Tomb Gallery at the Presidential Museum. Paid Museum admission is required to see the artifact. A number of other items that had not previously been exhibited in the Museum will also be on display with it.
The 1865 print from Barcelona used two engravings to tell its story - one based on an 1860 photo of a beardless Lincoln, the other on an 1865 scene of the 16th President’s funeral along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The printer was the distinguished old firm of Roca y Hermano, with its origins in the 17th century. The print was purchased by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
When Lincoln died, memorial prints were issued from England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Hungary. But as far as researchers at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum have been able to find, this is the only one from Spain, and it was never published in the United States. It was probably not created until at least May 1865 — the transatlantic cable was laid in 1866, greatly expediting all news — and its funeral scene in Washington, D.C. is similar to the first European engraving that appeared in the Illustrated London News of May 20, 1865. The portrait of a beardless Lincoln was based on the photograph by Mathew Brady in February 1860 that had long been turned into a variety of engraved prints, and was still used by some print sellers in 1865 and afterwards.
With this first Spanish Lincoln, the Presidential Library and Museum collection now includes original prints, silks, books, and other tributes from nine foreign nations at the time of his death. More recent imagery and books about Lincoln from every inhabited continent are still being acquired.
Those viewing “Presidente Lincoln” may want to venture to the nearby Treasures Gallery in the Museum, where an original manuscript of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s own hand is on display through September 5.