Friday, April 10, 2009

American Pictures Series at Smithsonian Features Historian Harold Holzer

Chestertown, MD — On Saturday, April 18, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer will unravel the mysteries of John Henry Brown's "Abraham Lincoln," one of the most unusual and deeply revealing portraits of the 16th president, as part of this spring's American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series.

A joint program of Washington College, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American Pictures series offers a highly original approach to art, pairing great works with leading figures of American culture. This spring's all-star line-up includes Holzer, iconic filmmaker John Waters (who appeared March 21), novelist Jamaica Kincaid (who appeared April 11) and New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, who will appear on Sunday, April 26. Each speaker chooses a single powerful image and investigates its meanings, revealing how artworks reflect American identity and inspire creativity in many different fields. The series director is historian and essayist Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the college's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

A prolific writer, Holzer has authored or edited 31 books, and in 2008 was awarded the National Humanities Medal. His latest work is the critically praised Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860-1861. Holzer is also Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

His April 18 lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, 8th and F Sts., N.W., Washington, D.C., in the National Portrait Gallery's and Smithsonian American Art Museum's McEvoy Auditorium. Tickets are available in the G Street lobby of the Reynolds Center, beginning at 3:30 p.m. No reservations are necessary for the general public.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Washington College may reserve tickets to this and the other American Pictures events on a first-come, first-served basis. The Starr Center is also running free buses from Chestertown to Washington for each talk. For details, please call 410-810-7165 or email For more information on the American Pictures series, visit

About the Sponsors

Founded in 1782 under the personal patronage of its namesake, Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, upholds a tradition of excellence and innovation in the liberal arts. The American Pictures lecture series is a project of the college's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and its Department of Art and Art History. Support for the American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series comes from the Starr Foundation, the Hodson Trust, the Hedgelawn Foundation, and other benefactors.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation's first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The collection captures the aspirations, character and imagination of the American people from the colonial period to today.

The National Portrait Gallery tells the stories of America through the individuals—poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists—who have built our national culture. It is where the arts keep us in the company of remarkable Americans.

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