Portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin (Houdon - Nelson-Atkins), 1780
Photo courtesy of Nelson...
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Photo courtesy of Nelson -Atkins Museum of Art, Photograph by Robert Newcombe

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The bust is at the Nelson-Atkins Museum, and is currently attributed to the workshop of Houdon. Special exhibitions in which it has been shown include "Sculpture by Houdon," at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, Jan - Feb, 1964 (illus. in the catalogue p. 61); and "The European Vision of America," shown at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, 1975-1976, where it was illus. No. 190 in the catalogue.
Related Publications

Sellers, Charles Coleman, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture (New Haven: Yale University, 1962) Sellers cites the bust on p. 315, and questions its early provenance, doubting that Franklin would have given such an ostentatious gift to Chaumont, "who was virtually bankrupt in 1780." He goes on to doubt that Chaumont would have been likely to purchase it.

According to records presented to the Nelson-Atkins Museum at the time of acquisition of the bust, its descent was from Franklin to his host Jacques Donatien LeRay de Chaumont, to Charles LeRay de Chaumont, to the Prince de Faucigny-Lucinge of Montecarlo. The museum purchased the bust in 1955 from the Prince's agent, Mrs. Koggeshall Kuhn, of Washington, DC.
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