Leonard Wells Volk (1828-1895)
Gift of Ronald Rietveld
Leonard W. Volk, a celebrated sculptor and artist, studied his craft in Italy through the generosity of his benefactor, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglass. Douglass introduced Volk to Abraham Lincoln in 1858 and Lincoln sat for Volk in Chicago two years later. To eliminate the need for multiple sittings, Volk created a life mask of Lincoln from which this bust was created. Volk’s life mask of Lincoln continues to serve as the basis for artistic depictions of the Great Emancipator.