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Bust of George Washington: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This distinguished bust of President George Washington (1732-99) was created in the 1850s by one of the first great American sculptors, Hiram Powers, who looked for inspiration at a similar bust of Washington done from life in 1785 by the famous French sculptor, John-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828). Here a resolute Washington is portrayed in the popular neoclassical style of the time, draped in a toga giving him the appearance of a noble sage and hero from ancient Greece or Rome.

The bust descended in the Drexel family of Philadelphia until 1929 when it was installed in the Foshay Tower, an obelisk in downtown Minneapolis that was modeled after the Washington Monument and has served as a semi-official memorial to George Washington (the Foshay Tower can be seen from Gallery 300). The Minneapolis Tower Company in Foshay Tower graciously donated the bust to the Institute in 1951.

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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2009