Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Terracotta colored painted plaster
Overall: 21 x 13 x 10 1/2 in. ( 53.3 x 33 x 26.7 cm )
inscriptions: center of back: "Franklin" signed: proper right shoulder: "Houdon f. 1778" stamped: inside of socle: "ATELIERS MOULAGE/R.F. des MUSEE NATIONAUX"
Franklin resided in France from 1776 to 1785 as a representative of the American government. He was a celebrity immediately upon his arrival in Paris, and was portrayed by a number of French artists. In 1778, Houdon produced his first portrait bust of the statesman in plain, modern dress. It was exhibited at the Salon of 1779. The original terracotta is now at the Louvre, and a marble version is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The N-YHS plaster is one of several replicas that Houdon created after the Louvre terracotta.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.