Abraham Lincoln: The Man, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1887), Lincoln Park, Chicago
Recast of the statue (c. 1920) in Parliament Square, London
Recast of the statue (c. 1964) in Parque Lincoln, Mexico City

Abraham Lincoln: The Man (also called Standing Lincoln) is a larger-than-life size 12-foot (3.7 m) bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. The original statue is in Lincoln Park in Chicago, and later re-castings of the statue have been given as diplomatic gifts from the United States to the United Kingdom, and to Mexico.

Completed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1887, it has been described as the most important sculpture of Lincoln from the 19th century.[1] At the time, the New York Evening Post called it "the most important achievement American sculpture has yet produced."[2] Abraham Lincoln II, Lincoln's only grandson, was present, among a crowd of 10,000, at the initial unveiling.[3] The artist later created the Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State ('Seated Lincoln') sculpture in Chicago's Grant Park.


The sculpture depicts a contemplative Lincoln rising from a chair of state[a], about to give a speech. It is set upon a pedestal and, in Chicago, an exedra designed by architect Stanford White.[5] White's setting includes carved and bronze caste excerpts of Lincoln's writings.[b] Chicago businessman Eli Bates (1806–1881) provided $40,000 in his will for the statue. Saint-Gaudens was specially selected for the commission after a design competition failed to produce a winning artist.[c] Saint-Gaudens, who revered the President, had seen Lincoln at the time of his inauguration, and later viewed Lincoln's body lying in state. For his design, the artist also relied on a life mask and hand casts made of Lincoln in 1860 by Leonard W. Volk.[2] While planning and working on the Standing Lincoln, Saint-Gaudens was first enticed to what would become his home and studio, and an associated artist's colony. To convince him to vacation near Cornish, New Hampshire, a friend told him the area had "many Lincoln-shaped men".[6]

A Stanford White designed exedra (semicircular platform with bench) frames Saint Gaudens' original statute
A Stanford White designed exedra (semicircular platform with bench) frames Saint Gaudens' original statute

Reception and legacy

The sculpture's naturalism influenced a generation of artists.[1] One sculptor Standing Lincoln significantly influenced was Daniel Chester French, who would go on to create the Lincoln statute at the Lincoln Memorial in 1920.[4] The monument was also a favorite of Hull House founder Jane Addams, who once wrote, "I walked the wearisome way from Hull-House to Lincoln Park ... in order to look at and gain magnanimous counsel from the statue."[7] Journalist Andrew Ferguson discusses the statue at length in his book Land of Lincoln, writing that the statue presents "a sort of world-weariness that seems almost kind".[3] The City of Chicago awarded the monument landmark status on December 12, 2001.[1] It is located near the Chicago History Museum and North Avenue.


Replicas of the statue stand at Lincoln Tomb in Springfield, Illinois, Parque Lincoln in Mexico City, and Parliament Square in London.[2][8][9] The Parliament Square statue was given to Britain in July 1920. The American Ambassador made a formal presentation at Central Hall, Westminster, where Prime Minister David Lloyd George accepted the gift on behalf of the people of Britain; after a procession to Parliament Square, the statue was unveiled by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.[9][10] The Mexico City statue was presented by United States President Lyndon Johnson to the people of Mexico in 1964.[6][11] Later, Johnson received a small copy of the bust from the statue, which since then is often seen displayed in the Oval Office of the White House.[6] In 2016, a newly cast replica of the full-height statue was installed in the garden at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish.[12]

Small bust copy from the statue in the Oval Office
Small bust copy from the statue in the Oval Office


From 1910 onwards, Saint-Gaudens' widow, Augusta, oversaw the casting of a number of smaller replicas of the statue, reduced to slightly under one-third the size of the original.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Lincoln's chair-of-state is adorned with an eagle in relief and the motto e pluribus unum. The chair's composition was informed by the ancient Greek Throne of the Priest (c. 330 BCE) from the Theater of Dionysos in Athens.[4]
  2. ^ The statue's "'profound solemnity' was later reinforced as Saint-Gaudens, on the recommendation of his close friend and critical advocate Richard Watson Gilder, poet and editor of the Century Magazine, studied Lincoln’s speeches and writings in preparation for the commission. Excerpts from the Cooper Union speech (February 27, 1860) and second inaugural address (March 4, 1865) were carved into the accompanying sixty-foot-long exedra, while bronze cannonballs flanking the steps have extracts from the Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863) and a letter written to Horace Greeley (August 22, 1862), editor of the New-York Daily Tribune."[4]
  3. ^ At the same time, Saint Gaudens was also commissioned to create the Eli Bates Fountain, Storks at Play near the Lincoln Park Conservatory, assisted by Frederick MacMonnies[4]


  1. ^ a b c Abraham Lincoln Monument. City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division (2003). Retrieved on May 8, 2007
  2. ^ a b c "Abraham Lincoln: The Man". Chicago Park District. 2010. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b Andrew Ferguson. Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2007. 71–72
  4. ^ a b c d e Tolles, Thayer (2013). "Abraham Lincoln: The Man (Standing Lincoln): a bronze statuette by Augustus Saint-Gaudens". Metropolitan Museum Journal. 48: 223–37.
  5. ^ "StandingLincoln". sgnhs.org. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Abraham Lincoln in Cornish". nps.gov. 18 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Influence of Lincoln". Twenty Years at Hull House. Retrieved on August 14, 2007
  8. ^ Lincoln's Tomb.
  9. ^ a b National Archives – United Kingdom, Statue of Abraham Lincoln.
  10. ^ Selden, Charles A. (31 May 1931). "Americans Observe the Day in London; Two British Survivors of the Civil War Lay Wreath at Statue of Lincoln. Exercises at Cenotaph. Ray Atherton, American Charge d'Affaires, Other Embassy Members and Legionaires Attend Services". New York Times. p. 23.
  11. ^ Katz, Jamie. "Why Abraham Lincoln Was Revered in Mexico". Smithsonian. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  12. ^ Curtis, Jack, "Column: Saint-Gaudens’ Deeply Human Lincoln", Valley News, July 1, 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-14.

Coordinates: 41°54′45″N 87°37′49″W / 41.91263°N 87.63026°W / 41.91263; -87.63026