James Gibson Powers

  • Hiram Powers, James Gibson Powers, modeled ca. 1838?, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson, 1968.155.110

Luce Center Label

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?
On View
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

  • Portrait male – Powers, James Gibson – child
  • Portrait male – Powers, James Gibson – head
  • Study – sculpture model
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI