Houdon in America: A Collection of Documents in the Jefferson Papers in the Library of Congress

Houdon in America: A Collection of Documents in the Jefferson Papers in the Library of Congress

Houdon in America: A Collection of Documents in the Jefferson Papers in the Library of Congress

Houdon in America: A Collection of Documents in the Jefferson Papers in the Library of Congress

Excerpt

An American tribute is paid to the memory of Jean-Antoine Houdon by the Pennsylvania Museum in its inaugural exhibition. A rotunda especially designed for sculpture is dedicated to the works of this Frenchman, who handed down to posterity the features of almost every important compatriot of his day and whose centenary we celebrate this year. He is the artist, who better than any other, recorded the stormy moods of France during the half century which followed the death of Louis XV. Not only did he impress himself upon his contemporaries in France, but his fame spread throughout Europe and across the seas. And it was to commemorate his influence in America in those early years that the Museum formed this exhibition, the most important gathering of his works which has ever been shown in this country. Surrounding a bronze proof of the statue of General Washington from the Richmond state capitol, busts of Benjamin Franklin, Robert Fulton, the Marquis de La Fayette, Thomas Jefferson and John Paul Jones are exhibited on classic pedestals together with Turgot and Condorcet, French philosophers and friends of Franklin, closely identified with the early relations between America and France. The Museum is particularly indebted to the American Philosophical Society and to the National Academy of Design for their coöperation in forming this exhibition. An equally important debt is owed to the Commonwealth of Virginia, who permitted the Museum, through a special act of Assembly, to show the La Fayette bust which was commissioned for Virginia. Simultaneous with the observance in Philadelphia, two memorial exhibitions were held by the French Government, one at Versailles in the Municipal Library and the other in Paris in the Galeries Buvelot, in June, under the high patronage of the President of France and the Queen of Spain. The proceeds of this exhibition were devoted to the French and Spanish Leagues for the Control of Cancer and it was one of the most brilliant features of the Paris season.

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