James (Jimmy) Gibson Powers was Hiram Powers’s first child. He died from a brain tumor in 1838, when he was only four years old. Shortly after the boy died, Powers took a cast of his son’s face to preserve his likeness and perhaps use as a model for a bust. Some of the child’s eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair are embedded in the plaster, making the tragedy of his death real to viewers of this piece more than a century later.
“… he died so calmly, that we hardly knew when his little spirit breathed itself away.” Hiram Powers, 1838, in Richard P. Wunder, Hiram Powers, 1989–91
James Gibson Powers
- modeled ca. 1838?
- 11 1⁄4 x 6 1⁄4 x 5 5⁄8 in. (28.7 x 16.0 x 14.4 cm)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson
- Mediums Description
- Portrait male – Powers, James Gibson – child
- Study – sculpture model
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI