Lincoln Etching Plate
Original antique etched plate of Abraham Lincoln, c. 1920, hand-etched by Bernhardt Wall (1872-1956). The plate is probably zinc and include its original silk sleeve. It is signed “Bernhardt Wall – Etcher New York City.” The plate was used to print etchings for “Lincoln, Man of the People” by Edwin Markham which was illustrated by by Bernhardt Wall and published in 1922.
Bernhardt Wall was born in Buffalo, New York on Dec. 30, 1872. He studied at the Buffalo Art Student’s League then moved on to study in New York under Henry Reuterdahl and also apprenticed under William Auerbach-Levy. Wall began a career as a lithographic illustrator in 1889 working primarily as a commercial artist in New York and Buffalo. He soon became known as the “Postcard King” and designed over 5,000 comic cards. The year 1915 marked a defining point in Wall’s artistic career. Wall visited Colorado, Nevada and California making etchings of Indians, cowboys and major cities which were later published in a portfolio entitled, “Under Western Skies.” These proved to be very successful and the artist shortly thereafter moved to California permanently. Wall continued to produce many fine etchings of the American West and by 1930 had also become a much respected historian of the region.
Bernhardt Wall was unique in that he not only drew the etchings for his books, but he also printed and bound them. His books are in libraries and universities around the world including the British Museum, Library of Congress, the libraries of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Brown Universities. His works were also in the private collections of J. P. Morgan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry C. Frick and Dr. N.C. Mathewson. Wall etched three sitting presidents of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Taft, and Henry Coolidge. Other prominent individuals etched by Wall include Sam Houston, Mark Twain, Thomas A. Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson.
The portrait of Lincoln here is an exceptional example and the etched plate – especially if framed and shadowboxed – would make unique addition to a Lincoln collection.
3 inches tall
2.5 inches wide
The plate is in excellent condition. The silk sleeve which protected it for a century is torn and tattered.
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