• 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. The figure represents America's freedom from tyranny. Her crown is adorned with thirteen stars to represent the original states of the Union.

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
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

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