Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lincoln Benched!

A few weeks ago, a friend and business colleague called me and asked me if I was still doing my "Lincoln thing". I assured him I was. He wondered if I were aware that there was a statue of Lincoln in the lower level of the Village Hall in New Lenox, Illinois. I told him I was not.

I do business with the Village of New Lenox but I don't get to the lower level so I had never seen it. I thanked my friend and told him I would check it out the next time I was in the area.

There does not appear to be any direct connection between Lincoln and the Village of New Lenox. However, New Lenox is located along U. S. Highway 30 - the famous Lincoln Highway.

Perhaps I should start work on a blog post that gives the reader a look at the many Lincoln statues strung out across the USA along Mr. Lincoln's road - the Lincoln Highway.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in the New Lenox area on business and brought my camera and tripod along for the ride. I had suspected that the statue might be one that I was already familiar with.

There are a couple of artists that have sculpted Lincoln sitting on a bench and have made them available at galleries. One such artist is Gary Lee Price from Utah. His work is part of his "Great Contributors" Series which includes Lincoln, Einstein, Mark Twain and George Washington.

I have seen this particular Lincoln at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The other artist that has a number of Lincoln's installed around the country is Colorado sculptor Gary Lundeen. Lundeen's piece has Lincoln sitting on a bench, his hat next to him, and holding notes from the Second Inaugural Address given on March 4, 1865.

Lundeen's most prominent installation of this statue is in Union Square Park in Springfield. Union Square Park, located across the street from the Abraham Lincoln Museum, also contains a large bronze statue by famed Lincoln sculptor John McClarey of Decatur, Illinois.

I made it to New Lenox and found that the piece was the Seated Lincoln by Gary Lundeen. It was installed in 2008 and paid for by a large number of corporate and individual donors.

Lincoln been portrayed many times seated on a bench. Lincoln sitting on a log or a stump is an entirely different genre which I promise to address in the future!

Perhaps the most famous is Gutzon Borglum's statue of Lincoln in Newark, New Jersey. This work was a real departure from how most sculptor's portrayed Lincoln. Instead of the standing, statesman-like Lincoln or the Great Emancipator Lincoln, Borglum's Lincoln features a sad and tired looking Lincoln seated on a bench looking very weary and contemplative. His posture invites the looker to come sit beside him for a few minutes to reflect. It is a very moving work. Borglum, the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore, sculpted this work between 1909 and 1911. His Lincoln was dedicated before a huge crowd on May 30, 1911.

There is a copy of this same piece in front of the Borglum Museum in Keystone, South Dakota.

In 2010, a larger copy of this work was dedicated in Boise, Idaho. Borglum was a native of Idaho. I was privileged to be the guest speaker at the dedication of this new copy of Borglum's masterpiece.

In 1995, a statue honoring Lincoln was placed in downtown Stamford, Connecticut's Veteran's Park and dedicated on July 11. This work, by sculptor John Blair, is an homage to Borglum's Seated Lincoln in Newark. Stamford has a strong connection to Borglum. He lived and worked in Stamford for 10 years in the early 1900's.

There is a statue of Lincoln seated on a bench in downtown Bloomington, Illinois by artist Rick Harney. Harney sculpted another Lincoln for Pontiac, IL that stands next to the historic Livingston County Court House.

If anyone reading my Blog knows of a little known or a new public or accessible private statue of Lincoln please drop me a note and if I haven' t visited it and photographed it, I will and report on it here and publish photos on my photo website.

Check out more pictures of Mr. Lincoln at my photo website at

No comments:

Post a Comment