NYC - Union Square: Abraham Lincoln Statue
One of three sculptural renditions of Abraham Lincoln in New York City’s parks, this larger-than-life bronze by Henry Kirke Brown stands vigil on a busy crossroads at the north end of Union Square Park.
Not long after Lincoln’s death, the statue of Lincoln was sponsored by the Union League Club, a Republican organization, which retained the services of the noted sculptor. Though Brown, like many of his generation, made an obligatory visit to Italy to study, he was part of a group of sculptors attempting to establish a truly American sculptural idiom. In his statue of Lincoln, cast in 1868, and dedicated September 16, 1870, he combines a classically styled pose with a perceptive naturalism, uniting realistic detail with an idealistic stance. Brown also created a similar portrait of Lincoln in Prospect Park (1869), and his nephew and pupil Henry Kirke Bush-Brown crafted the bronze bust for Gettysburg’s Lincoln Memorial.
The sculpture originally stood in the street bed at the southwest corner of Union Square, at the location today occupied by the statue of Mohandas Gandhi. In 1875, Abraham Lincoln was protected by the installation of an elaborate stone and bronze rail fence, into which were inscribed from his second inaugural address, “…with malice toward none; charity toward all.” Union Square Park was completely redesigned in 1930 to accommodate new subway construction, and the statue, minus its fence, was relocated to its current position in axial alignment with the Independence Flagpole (1930) and Henry Kirke Brown’s striking equestrian George Washington (1856) located at the park’s southern plaza. Abraham Lincoln was conserved in 1992.
Union Square National Register #97001678