Oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches / Signed lower left
Durett Stokes was an African-American artist who specialized in landscapes; however, he was quite skilled in portraiture. Known as a Florida artist, he received his training at the Cincinnati Art Academy under noted artists C.A. Lord, O.W. Beck, L.H. Meakin, L.J. Rebisso, C.J. Barnhorn and Vincent Nowottny. For a while he taught art at the Cedarville College (now University) in Ohio. His works are exhibited in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. His striking portrait of Abraham Lincoln is based on the famous photograph by Anthony Berger. The photograph, known as the “Five Dollar Bill” was used on that denomination. What is particularly notable about the original photograph and this painting is that, for an unknown reason, Lincoln had parted his hair on the right during this sitting instead on the left, as is typically depicted. Stokes scholarly portrayal of Lincoln posed in front of a bookcase is believed to have been painted at the time of Lincoln’s 1909 centennial.