Abraham Lincoln subject of Kempton artist's exhibit

Item Photo by Brian Dowlin Jonathan Bond stands next to a portait of former president Abraham Lincoln that depicts Honest ABe in a classic profile view.

Love him or hate him, one cannot dismiss Abraham Lincoln.

With all of the hoopla surrounding the former president, including the Steven Spielberg film and this year’s 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation, Kempton artist Jonathan Bond is likewise drawing attention to Honest Abe with an exhibit of more than 30 original oil paintings honoring Lincoln.

Bond’s exhibit will run from Feb. 16-17 at his Kempton gallery to coincide with Presidents Day weekend.

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“The fact is, Lincoln’s always timely. I think he’s timeless,” said Bond. “He’s one of the most important presidents, maybe the second most important behind Washington.”

Bond said he worked from the iconic photographs of Lincoln from the Civil War era, along with pictures from the former president’s early manhood as a young lawyer, and other pictures from later in his life up until the time of his death. The Kempton artist also added a touch of his own flavor to the paintings.

“He’s a great man to paint,” said Bond. “The striking features, the wart, the big nose, the tussled hair, the gigantic ears. And he had penetrating eyes.”

The works of art produced by Bond showcase Lincoln’s propensity for sporting unkempt hair. According to Bond, since Lincoln was known for his disheveled locks, he aimed to represent this attribute of the man’s appearance in the portraits.

Bond also noted that Lincoln was considered an ugly man, and that his features were discussed at great length when he was described in historical articles. A self-proclaimed history buff and voracious reader, Bond also plans on placing placards with historical information next to each of the paintings in order to disseminate facts while at the same time displaying his artwork.

“I always loved history. one of my favorite classes throughout school,” said Bond. ”I just adored history class. I founded the Albany Township Historical Society because I think there’s a lot of history constantly being lost in this area and I want to have something we can preserve and pass on to the next generations.”

And regardless of a person’s generation or status in society, Bond feels as though individuals of all walks of life can identify with Lincoln.

“Even his political foes, they had a deep respect for him even if they didn’t necessarily agree with him,” said Bond.

The exhibit, A.Lincoln, American Dreamer, will take place Feb. 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m,. and Feb. 17, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bond Customart Studio and Gallery located at 59 Kempton Road, in Kempton. Admission is free and purchases can be made with cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express. For more information, call 610-756-4490 or email bondart@ptd.net.