My Cart


Benjamin Franklin - Item #202

$ 950.00



26 Inches High x 13.5 Inches Wide x 13 Inches Deep

Counting on Franklin's popularity to sell the pieces, Houdon created two busts of Franklin, beginning with this one in 1778. At the time, Franklin was the American minister to the court of Louis XVI, a position he would hold until 1785. This life-size portrait is considered to be the best depiction of Franklin, a stunning fact considering that he never sat for Houdon. It was also the first bust Houdon created in what would be a series of American portraits. The bust, in many variations, was widely reproduced. Two original marble copies with slight differences are located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania.


Artist: Jean-Antoine Houdon

Museum: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY and The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, USA

Time Period: Modern- Neoclassical, 1778

1911 Catalog ID # - 5446A



"Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)." The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

"Bust of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)." Philadelphia Museum of Art,

Hirayama, Hina. "Busts of Franklin and Lafayette by Jean-Antoine Houdon." Acquired Tastes: 200 Years of Collecting for the Boston Athenæum, edited by Stanley Ellis Cushing and David B. Dearinger, The Boston Athenæum, 2006, pp. 261-265. Boston Athenæum,