Preston Powers

born Florence, Italy 1843-died Florence, Italy 1931
Media - portrait_image_113414.jpg - 90249
Courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Also known as
  • William Preston Powers
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Active in
  • Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Portland, Maine, United States
  • American

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.