French Sculpture Census

photo credit : New-York Historical Society
artist © : public domain

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

Maker: Atelier de moulage des musées nationaux

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

late 19th or early 20th c. cast after a 1778 model
terracotta colored painted plaster

overall: 21 x 13 x 10 1/2
inscriptions center of back: Franklin
signed proper right shoulder: Houdon f. 1778
stamped inside of socle: ATELIERS MOULAGE/R.F. des MUSEE NATIONAUX

Acc. No. : 1937.315
Credit Line : Purchase

New York, New York, New-York Historical Society


  • 1937, Purchase


  • Museum's website, December 16,2012


  • 1992-1993 New York
    Restored Visions: Recently Conserved Paintings from the Collection, New York, New-York Historical Society, November 5, 1992-January 3, 1993


Museum's website, December 16, 2012:
Franklin resided in France from 1776 to 1785 as a representative of the American government. He was a celebrity immediately upon his arrival in Paris, and was portrayed by a number of French artists. In 1778, Houdon produced his first portrait bust of the statesman in plain, modern dress. It was exhibited at the Salon of 1779. The original terracotta is now at the Louvre, and a marble version is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The N-YHS plaster is one of several replicas that Houdon created after the Louvre terracotta.