Volk, Leonard. Abraham Lincoln Bust reproduction
A Fine Reproduction of Volk’s Abraham Lincoln Bust
Beautiful plaster bust of Abraham Lincoln; reproduction of a Leonard Volk creation. Commonly known as the “draped” or “Romanesque” rendering. It was the last variation Volk produced from his 1860 life mask.
Volk, Leonard (Sculptor; 1828-1895). In 1857, after studying sculpture in Rome, Volk opened a studio in Chicago. He met Lincoln during the 1858 debates and later persuaded him to sit for a life mask on March 31, 1860. In May, he produced Lincoln’s hands. Both the mask and the hands provided models for many other Lincoln statues by many other sculptors.
In 1860, several months before Lincoln won the presidential election, Chicago sculptor Leonard Volk made the first bust of Abraham Lincoln from life, using his famous life mask of the Republican nominee.
From the mask, Volk made several different versions of busts: a traditional bust placed on a pedestal; the Hermes type (bare shoulders and upper chest, typically above a plain, usually squared lower plinth); and this present example, the Romanesque in neo-classical fashion, “draped” in a Roman robe.
Volk’s other subjects include Stephen Douglas’ tomb (his wife was his cousin) and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Rochester NY. He is buried in Chicago, at Rose Hill Cemetery along with many other Civil War and Lincoln-era personalities.
A powerful and stately piece. Though thoroughly 19th century, it translates as robust and forthright to the modern eye.
SUPERIOR REPRODUCTION OF: Volk, L. W. sculptor. ABRAHAM LINCOLN BUST. No place, no date, but early 20th century. [original Chicago: 1860.] Cast plaster. Signed “Lincoln from life / by L. W. Volk” in the rear. Approximately 28 inches high; 20 inches shoulder to shoulder.
Daniel Weinberg, owner and president of Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, discussed this bust on Facebook Live. Watch it now.