• Hiram Powers, America, modeled 1848-1850, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson, 1968.155.75

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This bust was taken from the full-size statue America. Toward the end of the 1840s, Hiram Powers decided to create a sculpture that would stand in the U.S. Capitol. He did not receive a commission for this, but hoped that when members of Congress saw his design they would request a marble replica. He never found a buyer for the statue, however, and the only marble version he produced was destroyed in a fire in 1865. Powers was frustrated and disappointed at his government's lack of interest, but America eventually brought the artist a number of requests for replicas.

Luce Object Quote
"I am progressing rapidly with my new statue, which I intend to call America . . . I aim at an embodiment of our political creed, and I shall execute it . . . as soon as possible." Hiram Powers, 1848, in Richard P. Wunder, Hiram Powers, 1989-91
modeled 1848-1850
On View
Not on view.
23 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 13 5/8 in. (59.2 x 52.2 x 34.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson

  • Allegory – place – America
  • Dress – historic – classical dress
  • Figure female – nude
  • Study – sculpture model
  • Figure female – bust
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI