Abraham Lincoln Bust

by Leo Cherne, 1955

About the art

The backstory of this bust is as interesting as the piece itself, thanks to the storied pedigree of its creator. Sculptor Leo Cherne was not an artist first and foremost; he was an economist, attorney, humanitarian, public servant and advisor to nine U.S. presidents. In 1955, he created a bust of President Abraham Lincoln based on a photograph taken in 1865, just hours after the White House learned of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender and only four days before Lincoln was assassinated. (Lore has it that Lincoln was reciting the assassination lines from “Macbeth” while he sat for the photo.) The bust went on to become world-famous, with versions appearing in every White House from Eisenhower through Reagan. Replicas also spread across the world (often as gifts), with copies going as far as India, Africa, Guatemala, the officer quarters of the Abraham Lincoln submarine—and, of course, the Augsburg Park Library.

Donated in memory of John J. Bleedorn