George Washington, ca. 1838–44; this carving, after 1844
Hiram Powers (American, 1805–1873)
Marble; 31 x 23 x 14 in. (78.7 x 58.4 x 35.6 cm)
Gift of Erving and Joyce Wolf, 1982 (1982.443.2)
One of America's most important Neoclassical sculptors, Powers modeled his bust of George Washington after Jean-Antoine Houdon's portrait made in preparation for a full-length statue during his brief visit to America in October 1785. Powers had at least thirty busts of Washington carved beginning in 1838. In some, the shoulders are clothed in contemporary attire, while in others, as in this example, they are draped in toga-like garments in the Roman Republican portrait tradition.