Michael Fowler, Calling the Fleeting Breath - Our December Luncheon Speaker on Lincoln in Art

By David J. Kent

Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022



The Lincoln Group of DC returns to Maggiano's for our December luncheon. This year's speaker is Michael Fowler, author of Calling the Fleeting Breath: Glimpses of Abraham Lincoln's Personage Through Art and Material Culture. This in-person event will be held on December 13, 2022, beginning at 11:30 am (note the luncheon time, not dinner).


Fowler is Professor of Design and holder of the Mary Durban Toole Chair in Art at the University of South Carolina Aiken, where he teaches courses in fine art and graphic design. An accomplished artist himself, Fowler has exhibited his work in regional and national shows. His landscape paintings now reside in public and private collections nationally.


The premise of his book is that artwork and artifacts - the material culture made by individuals - often reflect the values, ideas, and assumptions of the community of which they are a part, and as such may be used actively as evidence of a people's beliefs rather than simply as passive illustrations for their subject matter alone. He brings readers, and viewers, toward an aesthetic experience of the role of designed objects in reflecting, and setting, cultural norms. The art he uses runs the gamut from traditional paintings and sculptures to objects d'art.


Fowler will discuss Lincoln through art and material culture using the perspectives of four different time periods. Lincoln's life, especially 1854-1865, comes under "Lincoln Tested." Following his assassination, a battle is fought for how to remember him in "Lincoln Promoted" (1865-1930). In "Lincoln Elevated" (1917-1945), Lincoln reaches heroic, mythical status. Then in "Lincoln Transfigured," (1946-present), Lincoln's memory sees a reevaluation in the context of the civil rights movement, changes in presidential authority. Here Fowler will discuss how Lincoln's enduring legacy is expressed through art.


This is sure to be an eye-opening visual experience and Fowler promises to show us much that we haven't seen before.


As always, this luncheon meeting will be held at Maggiano's restaurant in Chevy Chase, just steps from ample parking and the Friendship Heights Metro station. We'll start at 11:30 am [No happy hour, of course. This is lunch.] Check out the Events page to RSVP and pre-pay. Please join us for the final in-person meeting in 2022! [Don't worry, there will be more in 2023]