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Price Realized: $4,500 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
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Sale 2486 Lot 162
BY THE SCULPTRESS WHO DID LINCOLN'S BUST FOR CONGRESS (SCULPTURE.) Ames, Sarah Fisher; sculptor. Bust of Lincoln, based on a sitting she arranged shortly before the Gettysburg Address. Plaster, 10 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 4 inches; apparently painted in dark green, chipped in several spots, and then repainted in white, with a few spots of the green showing through. [Boston?], 1865
Estimate $6,000 - 9,000
Sarah Fisher Clampitt Ames (1817-1901) was a Delaware native who married Boston artist Joseph Alexander Ames. She was a talented artist in her own right, though very few of her works are known to have survived. She was an active abolitionist and during the Civil War served as a volunteer nurse in Washington. There she became acquainted with the president, and won a commission to produce a bust of him for the United States Senate. She convinced him to sit for a series of photographs at Alexander Gardner's studio on 8 November 1863 (Ostendorf O-76 through O-80), just 11 days before he delivered the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln's aide John Hay wrote in his diary "Went with Mrs. Ames to Gardner's Gallery & were soon joined by Nico and the Pres't."
Ames produced at least five large marble busts of Lincoln over the next five years, which can now be seen at the United States Senate, Woodmere Art Museum, Williams College, Massachusetts State House, and Lynn Historical Society. We have traced none at auction. The present example is much smaller than these institutional copies, and notably different in the body--the folds of the robe are different, it is cropped at the shoulders, and does not have a stand. On the left shoulder, it is inscribed in the mold "S.F. Ames 1865," and on the right shoulder "A. Lincoln." The present copy was loaned for the exhibit ''Lincoln From Life: As the Artists Saw Him" at the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, IN in 1999.
"Anyone who ever saw and felt the deep, tender, sad outlook of his tender humanity must thank Mrs. Ames for having reflected and transfixed it in the brows and eyes of this marble"--Mary Clemmer Ames, Ten Years in Washington, page 112.Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $4,500