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James Buchanan

modeled ca. 1859 Henry Dexter Born: Nelson, New York 1806 Died: Cambridge, Massachusetts 1876 painted plaster 24 1/2 x 14 7/8 x 11 7/8 in. (62.2 x 37.9 x 30.2 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum acquisition XX4 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 20B


Luce Center Label

When Henry Dexter set out to create his portrait gallery of the fifteenth U.S. president and all the governors, he began at the White House. Buchanan expressed surprise that a Massachusetts artist would want to sculpt him, since he was unpopular there. The artist reportedly said, “We have some crazy heads,” to which Buchanan replied, “All are.” Buchanan sat for Dexter in a room in the White House daily, and the president treated the ambitious artist with “great cordiality.” This bust was in the collection of Buchanan’s beloved niece and adopted daughter Harriet Lane Johnston at the time of her death.

Keywords

Occupation - political - president

Portrait male - Buchanan, James - bust

sculpture

metal - bronze

plaster

About Henry Dexter

Born: Nelson, New York 1806 Died: Cambridge, Massachusetts 1876

More works in the collection by
Henry Dexter

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