The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor was dedicated on October 28, 1886. But the maquette (model) from which Frederic Auguste Bartholdi made his masterpiece, was cast in 1878. It was approximately nine feet tall. The plaster mold from which the maquette was made has been at the Musee des Art et Meiers in Paris since 1905. It had been gifted to the Museum by Bartholdi’s wife after his passing a year earlier.
In the early 2000’s the art dealer Guillaume Duhamel approached the Museum to make a limited edition of Liberty Enlightening the World. By French law, only a dozen copies could be made. The Museum agreed but not only prohibited the use of the mold itself but also prohibited the mold from even being touched. It wasn’t until 2010 that a solution was found. A solution presented itself in the form of a new digital method of three-dimensional metrology that could make an exact copy from inches away. Precise to within 50 microns — .0019685 of an inch – the digital image of the work is not only a perfect replica of the plaster model, it is even more precise than making a mold directly from the plaster.
The 12 sculptures were cast at the Fonderie Susse, the famous art foundry in Paris. The Artist’s Proofs are numbered I-IV; the limited edition 1-8.
A Wall Street Journal story on October 12, 2011 entitled “A New Lady Lands” talks about the unveiling of Lady Liberty at 667 Madison Avenue in front of the Stern Building in New York City. The author writes “Three other replicas have been released, and they belong to a Paris Museum, a French art dealer and a secretive Swiss collector. This is the first to make its way to the U.S.”
We also know that Liberty Tower in Chattanooga, Tennessee has a copy as does former California Governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cassopolis isn’t Paris. It isn’t New York. It’s not even Chattanooga. But we have #7 of 8.
Lady Liberty is a worldwide symbol of freedom and liberty in which we all take pride.