Original Lincoln Art by Tony Bennett to go on display for Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation (November 21, 2013)

James McPherson, Historians, and FIU Law Professors to Speak


(New York, November 21, 2013)—An original 2001 watercolor of Abraham Lincoln by legendary singer and painter Tony Bennett will go on view on January 25 at HistoryMiami to mark the third annual Lincoln symposium co-sponsored by the museum and The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation (ALBF), together this year with the additional co-sponsorship of Florida International University (FIU) College of Law. The Pulitzer Prize-winning dean of Civil War historians, James M. McPherson, will be the keynote speaker, to be followed by a discussion among a panel of experts on the Constitutional and humanitarian issues that confronted Americans during the Civil War.

The symposium, Abraham Lincoln and the Constitution, will take place at HistoryMiami, 101 West Flagler Street, on Saturday, January 25 from 2:00-4:30 P.M. It is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception made possible by ALBF Board Member Jean Soman of Pinecrest, Florida, and her husband William Soman. Because it is co-sponsored by FIU Law, attendance at the symposium will provide CLE credits to attorneys.

Among the panelists who, following the keynote, will explore the Civil War in the context of constitutional and humanitarian challenges, are: Thomas Campbell, ALBF Treasurer and leading authority on both the legal aspects of the war and the role of Chicago during the conflict; Ediberto Roman, professor at FIU Law; Noah Weisbord, associate professor at FIU Law; and Frank J. Williams, ALBF Board Member, Lincoln scholar, and former chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. ALBF Chairman Harold Holzer will introduce the sessions and moderate the panel.

Tony Bennett, who has been a major star in the entertainment world for more than 60 years, is also an accomplished painter (under his family name, Benedetto), trained at the School of Art & Design in New York. His works grace such collections as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery and the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The United Nations commissioned Bennett to produce a painting for its 50th anniversary.
His works have been widely exhibited throughout the world, and have also been published in the book, Tony Bennett in the Studio: A Life in Art and Music (2007). Mr. Bennett’s striking watercolor of the “Lincoln Memorial” figure against the backdrop of the American flag is in the collection of ALBF Chairman Holzer, who displays it at his office at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and has agreed to lend it to History Miami for the January symposium weekend.

“We are proud to renew our collaboration with HistoryMiami, in both words and visuals,” said Mr. Holzer in announcing the Foundation event, “and to welcome our new partners at FIU to provide expertise to deal with the still-relevant question: ‘How far can and should a President go, within the Constitution and international law, to protect the country during wartime?’ It is a vexing challenge that Lincoln and many of his White House successors have faced, and one which continues to inspire scholarship and arouse debate. We our symposium provides insights into the Civil War era as well as our own. We are especially proud that a historical figure in his own right—America’s leading ambassador of great music, my friend Tony Bennett—has so generously agreed to make his compelling artistic interpretation of our 16th President the signature image of this conference. After all is said and done, we will be able to say proudly that Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but he has left his art in Miami.”

Commented Ramiro A. Ortiz, HistoryMiami President/CEO: “It is a privilege to partner with the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation on this thought-provoking forum. We are pleased to provide opportunities for conversation and dialogue on important historical issues, and to utilize these types of events to promote a sense of civic engagement within the community. I also join Harold Holzer in expressing gratitude to Tony Bennett for his expressive artistic interpretation of Lincoln—and for permission to display the painting at HistoryMiami for this event.”

“FIU Law Dean R. Alexander Acosta remarked: “Lincoln, through the rules of war he commissioned more than a century and a half ago, helped to shape the way war is fought in modern times. This symposium will provide an opportunity to examine how his writings have matured, evolved, and remain relevant today.”

For further information on the conference, call HistoryMiami at 305-375-1601 or visit education@historymiami.org. To learn more about the ALBF, visit the website at www.lincolnbicentennial.org.

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