Lincoln’s death occurred as the Civil War was finally reaching its conclusion with Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox just a few days earlier. The outpouring of grief and gratitude for his leadership inspired numerous images in tribute to a revered fallen leader. The other president who inspired similar quasi-religious depictions as a hero undergoing an apotheosis and ascension to heaven was George Washington. One such popular print, Apotheosis of Washington after Rembrandt Peale, is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Indeed, Wiest substantially based the Lincoln composition on another version of The Apotheosis of Washington engraved by John James Barralet after works by Gilbert Stuart, published c. 1800-1802. In the Wiest composition, Washington is replaced by Lincoln and the inscription on the tomb is changed for him.
Daniel T. Wiest was a lithographic artist, who primarily specialized in entomological drawings. He was also the artist for In Memory of Abraham Lincoln: The Reward of the Just published by William Smith. Born in Germany, he was working as a lithographic artist for the Philadelphia firm of Bowen & Company in the mid 1860s.
William Smith was a Philadelphia print publisher during the second half of the 19th century. He was listed in city directories as a picture framer in 1856 but around 1860 began publishing and distributing genre, historical, religious, and portrait lithographs and chromolithographs. He continued in business until around 1891.
Full publication information: Published by William Smith, Printseller No. 702 South Third St. Phila.
Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with light remaining, toning, handling, wear.
Apotheosis of Washington, Metropolitan Museum of Art, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/365795
Holzer, Harold et al. The Lincoln Image: Abraham Lincoln and the Popular Print. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2005. pp. 198-203.
“In Memory of Abraham Lincoln: the Reward of the Just.” The Lincoln Collection. https://www.lincolncollection.org/collection/creator-author/item/?cs=D&creator=D.+T.+Wiest&item=22700 (6 April 2021).
“Smith, William.” The Library Company of Philadelphia. 2020. https://digital.librarycompany.org/islandora/object/digitool%3A79800 (6 April 2021).
“Wiest, Daniel.” The Library Company of Philadelphia. 2020. https://digital.librarycompany.org/islandora/object/digitool%3A85511?solr_nav%5Bid%5D=ffaa10aa52c0d804e3c1&solr_nav%5Bpage%5D=0&solr_nav%5Boffset%5D=2 (6 April 2021).