University Museums

Title: Abraham Lincoln
Name: Sculpture
Date: 1933
Medium: Painted plaster.
Dimensions: 25 x 13 x 18 in. (63.5 x 33 x 45.7 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Purchased by University Museums from John Kinley, Superintendent of Gilbert Community Schools. In the Christian Petersen Art Collection, Christian Petersen Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: UM2006.139
More Information
Petersen designed this statue of a seated Lincoln for an art competition sponsored by the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1933. Lincoln was a popular subject in art during the 1930s, but Petersen’s interest in him went even further back. Among his earliest portrait subjects, Petersen depicted Lincoln as a young frontiersman in a studio sculpture dating from the 1920s. Though Lincoln is seated in this sculpture, distinguished and presidential, the figure still shows a dynamism in its posture with a slight twist of the torso -- as if he could quickly rise to his feet. Lincoln’s long list of accomplishments include signing the Morrill Act of July 2, 1962 breathing life into Land Grant universities like Iowa State and bringing the adage of “education for all” from an abstract notion to reality for so many of the nation’s youth. The State of Iowa was the first to accept the terms of the Morrill Act legislation and Iowa State University (then College) was giving the provisions of the Act.