March 18 • 11:54 AM

Dryden artist makes history

Folk painter Maria Pfropper's work part of Abraham Lincoln exhibit in Chicago

Artist Maria Pfropper has graciously donated a replica of her Abraham Lincoln painting to the Dryden Township Library. The original, commissioned in honor of Lincoln’s 200th birthday, is part of a Chicago Public Library display. photo by Maria Brown.

February 04, 2009
DRYDEN — Illinois may be the 'Land of Lincoln,' but one Tri-City area artist from the Great Lakes state has made her contribution to help mark the 200th birthday of America's sixteenth president.

Folk artist and Dryden resident Maria Pfropper was commissioned by the Chicago Public Library to create a painting of Abraham Lincoln that's now a part of their exhibit, 'Tall Man of Destiny: Images of Abraham Lincoln.'

Graciously, Pfropper has given the Dryden Public Library a reproduction of the painting so local history enthusiasts can see her work too.

Pfropper said it was a pleasure to put paint to the canvas in Lincoln's honor.

"I spent most of my adult life reading about Lincoln...I knew a lot about him," she said, something that's easy to see in the final product.

Fashioned after an heirloom quilt, Pfropper's painting tells Lincoln's life story through a series of small vignettes, including the log cabin he was born in on Feb. 12, 1809 in Kentucky, to the White House. A great deal of his famous speeches and quotes are worked into the design as well. Words from the Gettysburg Address adorn the frame which Pfropper's husband Dieter built and she painted.

What little research she had to do concerned the Civil War era quilt block patterns also incorporated into the painting.

"They come from antique quilts of that period, each one representing popular patterns, from both the North and the South," she said.

Pfropper said this is the first time she's had a commissioned work for a public institution. The Chicago library's curator had purchased some of Pfropper's original work at an art show and later contacted her to participate in the tribute to Lincoln. Pfropper sells her creations under the title 'Festive Folk.'

The Chicago exhibit runs from Feb. 7, 2009 through Feb. 28, 2010. The painting is already on display at the Dryden Library.

To celebrate Pfropper's donation to her local library and Lincoln's birthday, the Dryden Library will host a special preschool story time on Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m. Participants will receive a card featuring another of Pfropper's paintings, which depicts Lincoln and the battle of Gettysburg. Inside, she's inscripted a portion of his second inaugural address:

"With malice toward none, with charity towards all with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds."

For more information about the story time, call 796-3586.

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