George Washington

Artist: Hiram Powers (American, Woodstock, Vermont 1805–1873 Florence)

Date: 1838–44, carved after 1844

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 31 x 23 x 14 in. (78.7 x 58.4 x 35.6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Erving and Joyce Wolf, in memory of Diane R. Wolf, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.443.2


One of America's most important Neoclassical sculptors, Powers modeled his bust of George Washington after Jean-Antoine Houdon's portrait made in preparation for a full-length statue during his brief visit to America in October 1785. Powers had at least thirty busts of Washington carved beginning in 1838. In some, the shoulders are clothed in contemporary attire, while in others, as in this example, they are draped in toga-like garments in the Roman Republican portrait tradition.