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Circa 1866 Robert E. Lee Signed CDV (Mathew Brady Photo)

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Circa 1866 Robert E. Lee Signed CDV (Mathew Brady Photo)

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SKU: 46563 Category:


For his professional achievements in portrait photography, Mathew Brady had realized national acclaim prior to the Civil War. But with the onset of that convulsive chapter in our history, Brady shifted his entire energy to documenting the horrific conflict. He maintained two studios, principally – one in New York and the other in Washington. Though he was a non-combat photo-journalist, nearly all of his work was performed from the Unionist side of the lines. He did photograph a few luminaries of the South, but most of this work was performed following the war. Among the latter was this portrait image of the "Marble Man," Robert E. Lee, which was adapted to a carte de visite.

This particular image bears the renowned photographer’s copyright of 1865, and we readily interpret that it was taken shortly after peace had been restored. At the time, the iconic Lee was a man without a country. Mathew Brady, on the other hand, was flush with optimism as the federal government seemed poised to buy his entire library of Civil War negatives. But as fate would intervene, Bobby Lee was soon offered the president’s chair of Washington College; Brady’s dream of vast riches from the government, however, died on the vine, and he suffered the last three decades of his life in abject poverty.

The central appeal of this cdv is, of course, that it holds Lee’s autograph (signed, traditionally, "R. E. Lee"). As is evident in our photograph, the signing, is without any notation or personalization. The signature is absolutely magnificent, radiating at a strength of "9". The carte is the standard 2-3/8" x 4-1/8", and it’s fashioned on cardboard stock with a glossy finish. On the reverse is a stylized imprint citing Brady’s studio. The upper corners are clipped – symmetrically and not to encroach the image area. Otherwise, this piece is without blemish or crease.

In all its considerations, this is a monumental treasure – one delivered by the Father of Photojournalism depicting the autographed image of the Confederacy’s most celebrated figure.  

1866,Signed  Bobby Lee

Auction End: 06-Oct-08  Post Views: 5209

1500  Price; $0.00 – $4,900.00




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