Born: Norfolk, Virginia 1853
Died: Easton, Maryland 1942
marble 37 x 29 3/4 x 16 1/2 in. (94.0 x 75.6 x 41.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the American Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 20B
Hear more about
Luce Center Quote
“I have been strongly impressed with the character of the men as you have expressed it in these portraits.” Morris K. Jessup, President of the American Museum of Natural History, to William Couper, January 1, 1907
Luce Center Label
Between 1904 and 1906, the director of the American Museum of Natural History in New York commissioned William Couper to create twelve heroic portrait busts of internationally famous scientists. Couper hoped that the prominent display of the busts in the museum’s foyer would lead to future commissions. He researched the lives of each scientist carefully and made multiple models until he was convinced that he had captured not only the likeness, but also the spirit of each man. Two years of painstaking work paid off when the director praised the impressive installation. This portrait of Benjamin Franklin remained in the Museum of Natural History until 1960, when Couper’s busts were distributed to other institutions.
Occupation - political - statesman
Portrait male - Franklin, Benjamin - bust
stone - marble
About William Couper
Born: Norfolk, Virginia 1853 Died: Easton, Maryland 1942
More works in the collection by
Blogs, Podcasts, and More
- Eye Level: Thomas Day: Man, Maker, Mogul
- Eye Level: American Muralist Tom Lea
- Eye Level: Happy Thanksgiving from American Art and the ...
- Eye Level: Portraits of Women Artists
- Eye Level: Charles Willson Peale: The Man in Front of the ...
- Eye Level: Five Questions for Basket Collectors Martha Ware ...
- Eye Level: Miami Art Machine
- Eye Level: Gaman: FDR and the Japanese American ...
- Eye Level: In This Case: One More Snow Day
- Eye Level: Five Questions with Michael Maglaras, Director of ...