Abraham Lincoln Portrait Artist Rich Thompson

Posted by Linda Atiyeh - April 27, 2015

Self-taught artist Rich Thompson has always been drawn to American history, specifically President Lincoln. “I love his story,” Rich has said of Lincoln. “He had honesty and integrity. He stuck to his convictions, but he was always compassionate, and he had a great sense of humor.”

The Lincoln Inspiration

In 2008 Rich’s son was given a school assignment on the Civil War, which sparked a rekindled passion in the artist. Rich immediately started creating paintings from photographs of Abraham Lincoln--working at the kitchen counter for lack of a studio. Most of Rich’s work is still inspired by Lincoln photographs, and in addition to meticulously studying the President’s image, Rich has read over 50 books on Lincoln. In fact, Abraham Lincoln is now the only subject that the artist paints, and Rich also creates surreal paintings that feature exaggerated Lincoln caricatures in addition to his strikingly realistic portraits.


Rich Thompson’s work has been featured in the Civil War Preservation Trust magazine, Hallowed Ground and in the playbill for Ford’s Theatre’s production of “The Rivalry.” One of his pieces won the visitors choice award at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia during Lincoln’s 200th birthday celebration, and Rich currently has work on display in the Lincoln Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville, Kentucky, The Lincoln Library and Museum in Harrogate, Tennessee, as well as Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC.

Rich Thompson at Gallery 30

Gallery 30 has an impressive selection of Rich Thompson’s Lincoln portraits, including his original acrylic painting “Mirth and Sadness, Smiles and Tears.” The painting’s title alludes to how this particular image captures both Lincoln’s joy and his pain. The piece is based on a collection of photographs taken on February 5, 1865 in Washington, DC. President Lincoln had approved the 13th amendment just four days prior and the Civil War was drawing to a close, so Rich’s painting reflects a good-humored smile; however, Rich also masterfully captures “the wear and tear of [Lincoln’s] struggle to restore the Union, four years of war resulting in over 600,000 casualties and the death of his son Willie.” This expressive painting is one of the artist’s personal favorites, and it is available exclusively at Gallery 30.

Rich Thompson will be the featured artist at Gallery 30’s First Friday celebration in May. You will have an opportunity to meet the artist, view his paintings and enjoy a wine and cheese reception at Gallery 30 from 5:30 to 8pm on Friday, May 1st.


Linda Atyeh: About the Author

The owner of Gallery 30 since 2007, Linda Atiyeh personally curates Gallery 30’s collection of American fine art and artisan crafts. Linda's inspired vision has empowered Gallery 30 to flourish, while remaining true to the beliefs central to its incredible longevity and success. Over the years, Linda has redefined Gallery 30's artisan craft collection to place a greater emphasis on Pennsylvania and Gettysburg related products, and she has personally selected Gallery 30's exquisite handcrafted jewelry collection - drawn from around the world. Under Linda Atiyeh's direction, Gallery 30 expanded from its original 3,000 square feet location to its new home, a 9,100-square-foot lovingly restored historic property at 26 York Street.

A native Pennsylvanian, Linda Atiyeh takes great pride in her community and is committed to giving back to the region. Linda is on the board of directors of the Adams County Arts Council and the Historic Gettysburg Adams County Preservation Society. She is also a member of Main Street Gettysburg, Gettysburg Area Retail Merchants Association, the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.