Bissell, George E. Abraham Lincoln Bust
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Bissell, George E. Bronze Bust. New York: Gorham Company Founders, 1898. 6-3/4” tall. Produced in the preferred “lost wax” method and incised with Bissell’s signature and Gorham’s foundry mark, and dated. Rich, dark-brown patina.
Modeled after Bissell’s live-size Lincoln Emancipator Group in Edinburgh, Scotland, subsequently replicated at Clermont, Iowa in 1903. These downsized versions show Bissell’s ability to capture the personality of his subject and to render that subject in a compelling yet delicate fashion.
Handsome and dark patina; a diminutive and well-rendered piece.
George E. Bissell
George Bissell (1839-1920) was a Civil War veteran, serving with the 23rd CT. and as a Navy paymaster with the South Atlantic squadron. Bissell had originally learned sculpting in his father’s marble business and post-war rejoined his father and specialized in public monuments, crafting life-sized statues. Among his other important public works is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Waterbury, CT. and the bronze statue of General Gates on the Saratoga battleground at Schuylerville, NY. Bissell also produced the first Lincoln sculpture erected outside the United States, the well-known (and copied) Emancipation Group (1893) in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Bissell was responsible for Hospitality for the Pan-American Exposition and “both Science and Music for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, winning the silver medal for the latter.
He was known as “Père Bissell” by the younger sculptors who knew him.
Sculptor Loredo Taft stated, Bissell’s work “would seem incredible were it not for the fact that (he) had kept abreast the work of other recognized master sculptors by visiting them frequently and constantly associating with other of skill and attainment. He is a true artist deeply interested in the personalities of his subjects.”
We would add the fact that Bissell, when given his very first commission for a life-size statue in marble, without previous experience, modeled the figure from life and carved it in marble and, as Taft said, “Thus compassing in his first efforts the sculptural and mechanical processes of the art.”