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Preston Powers Portrait

Preston Powers

Also Known as: William Preston Powers

Florence, Italy 1843

Florence, Italy 1931

Active in:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Washington, District of Columbia
  • Portland, Maine

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

“Preston is trying his hand at modeling, he is quite up to it.” Hiram Powers, father of Preston Powers, in Richard P. Wunder, Hiram Powers, 1989-91

Luce Artist Biography

A sculptor and portrait painter, Preston Powers was the third son of the artist Hiram Powers. Born in Florence, Preston longed to try his fortune in America, but his father prevented him from going until after the Civil War because he feared Preston would be drafted. While in the States, Preston was unable to secure employment and requested more and more money from his father to support his extravagant lifestyle. His father demanded he come home, work as his secretary, and learn sculpture. When Hiram Powers died, Preston’s dissatisfaction with his inheritance created a rift between himself and his family. He ran his father’s studio in Florence for a short time and eventually opened his own across the street. He also worked in the United States, where he accepted several important commissions.