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.
Luce Object Quote
“. . . 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