Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Hiram Powers, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, modeled 1869, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson, 1968.155.98

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Hiram Powers often thought about giving up portrait busts to concentrate solely on his ideal sculptures. Some opportunities were too tempting to resist, however, as with the portrait of the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Powers modeled the sculpture out of respect for the poet and as a valuable addition to his busts of notable people; the sitter’s brother and sister as well as many admirers of his poetry commissioned several replicas. This portrait is an example of Powers’s later work during the 1860s, when he modeled his busts after the classical Greek herm design, with a squared-off, tapering base.

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“Visitors to my studio have found a Homeric character in this bust, and some think it the best I have ever done.” Hiram Powers, 1870, in Richard P. Wunder, Hiram Powers, 1989-91

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
modeled 1869
18 3/4 x 11 5/8 x 7 1/2 in. (47.5 x 29.5 x 19.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums Description
  • Portrait male – Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth – nude
  • Portrait male – Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth – bust
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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