[President Lincoln, United States Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, near Antietam]

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Object Details

Title:

[President Lincoln, United States Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, near Antietam]

Artist/Maker(s):

Alexander Gardner (American, born Scotland, 1821 - 1882)

Culture:

American

Place(s):

Antietam, Maryland, United States (Place depicted)

Date:

October 4, 1862

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Dimensions:

21.9 x 19.7 cm (8 5/8 x 7 3/4 in.)

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Twenty-six thousand soldiers were killed or wounded in the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, after which Confederate General Robert E. Lee was forced to retreat to Virginia. Just two weeks after the victory, President and Commander-in-Chief Abraham Lincoln conferred with General McClernand and Allan Pinkerton, Chief of the nascent Secret Service, who had organized espionage missions behind Confederate lines.

Lincoln stands tall, front and center in his stovepipe hat, his erect and commanding posture emphasized by the tent pole that seems to be an extension of his spine. The other men stand slightly apart in deference to their leader, in postures of allegiance with their hands covering their hearts. The reclining figure of the man at left and the shirt hanging from the tree are a reminder that, although this is a formally posed picture, Lincoln's presence did not halt the camp's activity, and no attempts were made to isolate him from the ordinary circumstances surrounding the continuing military conflict.

Exhibitions
Experimental Photography: The First Golden Age 1851 - 1889 (April 11 to June 25, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 11 to June 25, 1989
Grave Testimony: Photographs of the Civil War (January 14 to March 29, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 14 to March 29, 1992
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA, (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
In Focus: The Portrait (January 27 to June 14, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 27 to June 14, 2009
Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity (April 3 to September 2, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 3 to September 2, 2012
Bibliography

Corcoran Gallery of Art. A Book of Photographs from the Collection of Sam Wagstaff, exh. cat. (New York: Gray Press, 1978) p. 60.

Hargraves, Michael. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Photographs (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999) p. 53.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 294, ill.

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Exploring Photographs

An explanation of three methods of analysis of photographs: description, reflection, and formal analysis.