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Imagining George Washington
The Boglewood Catalog
of Images Published during his Life

Image Source: Jean Antoine Houdon


JEAN ANTOINE HOUDON (1741-1828) was the preeminent European sculptor of the late eighteenth century. Born in Versailles, he was educated and trained as a sculptor and won the Prix de Rome by his twentieth birthday.


Returning to France, he established his fame with his statue of Denis Diderot. Soon he was receiving commissions from a wide range of French and foreign patrons, his travels taking him to Germany, Russia and the United States.

Clay bust (1785)


The Virginia Legislature in June 1784 resolved to erect a life-size marble statue of Washington.  Upon the advice of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, who were then in Paris, the Legislature engaged Houdon.  Houdon arrived in America late in the following year to make a life mask and other studies for the project.  Houdon returned to France and completed the statue in 1792.  In the interim, the life mask was reproduced in multiple copies and displayed at several exhibitions in Paris.

   Print based on Houdon

Boglewood 1902


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