Portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin (Houdon - Metropolitan), 1778
Photo courtesy of The...
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Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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"Benjamin Franklin and his Circle," Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; 5/11 - 9/13/1936.
"In Pursuit of Genius: Jean-Antoine Houdon and the Sculpted Portraits of Benjamin Franklin," at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 5/13/06 - 9/30/06.
Related Publications

Benjamin Franklin and his Circle: A Catalogue of an Exhibition (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1936) (notes by R.T.H. Halsey, Joseph Downs, and Marshall Davidson) Pp. 40-41, No.32.

Poulet, Anne L., Jean-Antoine Houdon, Sculptor of the Enlightenment (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2003) Pp. 247 - 250, Fig. 1.

Sellers, Charles Coleman, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture (New Haven: Yale University, 1962) pp. 309 - 310, Pl. 18.

The travels of the bust are recounted in detail by Sellers. Houdon shipped it to the United States at the time of his visit (1785), in hope of finding a government buyer. However, it went by a different vessel and arrived after his return to France. Stored in Philadelphia at the studio of the artist Robert Edge Pine, it was sent on Pine's death to Pierre Samuel du Pont of Delaware. Du Pont's son, Eleuthère Irénée, sold it to Nicholas Cruger. Cruger's daughter, Mrs. William Bard, left it to her son, John. John Bard gave it to the museum in 1872. The bust is cited by Sellers as being the first work of sculpture acquired by the museum.
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