An important carved marble bust: America  Hiram Powers (American, 1805-1873) mid 19th century

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Lot 2415W
An important carved marble bust: America
Hiram Powers (American, 1805-1873)
mid 19th century

Sold for US$ 92,500 inc. premium
Property from the Warner Bros. Studios Collection
An important carved marble bust: America
Hiram Powers (American, 1805-1873)
mid 19th century
The young beauty gazing slightly sinister, her hair tied back in a chignon, adorned in a diadem set with thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original states, a robe draped over her left shoulder, on swept rectangular plinth, inscribed H. POWERS Sculp.
height 27 1/2in (70cm)

Footnotes

  • Arguably, the greatest American sculptor of the nineteenth century, Hiram Powers was first internationally recognized for his near life-size model of The Greek Slave, exhibited at the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

    Begun in 1848, as one of Powers' ideal figures, America was originally worked as a full-size marble figure. Modeled as a standing semi-nude maiden, crushing a chain beneath her feet, America was a political statement from Powers, an opponent of slavery. Powers hoped to receive a commission for a sculpture from the United States government and that America would be chosen for display in the Capitol. However, the commission was given for portrait statues and America was eventually destroyed by a fire.

    In order to appeal to his buying public, in perhaps a less controversial representation, Powers focused on creating bust-length versions of America. He created twenty-eight busts of America between 1850 and 1873. In addition to the present example, marble busts of America are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.
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An important carved marble bust: America  Hiram Powers (American, 1805-1873) mid 19th century
An important carved marble bust: America  Hiram Powers (American, 1805-1873) mid 19th century
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