Model for Seated Statue of James Smithson

  • Gutzon Borglum, Model for Seated Statue of James Smithson, 1904, painted plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1967.116

Luce Center Label

In December 1903, Alexander Graham Bell, a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, asked Gutzon Borglum to submit plans for a memorial honoring the institution’s founder. Borglum carefully researched James Smithson’s life before designing a miniature version of the proposed large-scale work. Rather than represent the scientist in a formal pose, he decided to show Smithson seated comfortably as if in the midst of a casual conversation. Not until October of the following year did he present his model to Bell. Borglum’s plan for a finished sculpture to be placed in front of the Smithsonian was never realized and only the model remains as a record of the intended monument.

Luce Object Quote

“Individuality in art . . . is born of sincerity . . . It does not seek to be different; it does seek to be itself---and reverence for our art will ever secure for the whole the sense of good taste.” Gutzon Borglum, 1908

Title
Model for Seated Statue of James Smithson
Artist
Date
1904
On View
Dimensions
27 1/8 x 10 1/8 x 11 1/2 in. (68.9 x 25.7 x 29.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase

Mediums
Mediums Description
painted plaster
Classifications
Keywords
  • Occupation – other – philanthropist
  • Monument – statue – Smithson
  • Study – sculpture model
  • Portrait male – Smithson, James – full length
Object Number
1967.116
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

ca. 1911
bronze on granite base

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