French Sculpture Census

photo credit : ph Wikimedia, Albert Herring
artist © : public domain

HOUDON, Jean-Antoine
Versailles, Yvelines 1741 - Paris 1828

George Washington
George Washington


6' 2"
on the front of the base: George Washington
signed and dated on the base's right side: Houdon, Citoyen français [French Citizen], 1788

Richmond, Virginia, Virginia State Capitol


  • 1784, commission of the statue from Virginia's legislature (Virginia General Assembly)
  • 1785, Houdon's trip to Mount Vernon to study Washington by himself
  • (1788, date on the statue)
  • 1791 or 1792, statue completed
  • 1796, statue raised in Richmond's Capitol rotunda, the year Washington published his Farewell Address


  • See very thorough entry on, consulted November 28, 2012
  • 1978 Hallam
    John S. Hallam, "Houdon's Washington in Richmond: Some New Observations", The American Art Journal, vol. 10, No. 2, November 1978, p. 72-80 (accessible on JSTOR:
  • 2003 Noley and Kamerer
    Scott W. Noley, formerly at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, now chief conservator for Fine Art Conservation of Virginia, Richmond, and Tracy L. Kamerer, curator of state art collections for the Library of Virginia in Richmond, "Rediscovering an American Icon: Houdon's Washington", Colonial Williamsburg Journal, Autumn 2003 (acccessible on Colonial Williamsburg's website,

Related Works

While Houdon stayed in Mount Vernon during two weeks in October 1785, he modeled a terracotta bust (still in Mount Vernon), made a life-mask (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York).