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A Significant Incident in the History of French and American Relations Re
called by the Recent Death of the Eminent French Sculptor
By RUTLEDGE RUTHERFORD
ARTHOLDI, the great French voted to its creation—but twenty years sculptor, died last month. But is a short time in which to win immorso long as the colossal statue of tality.
“Liberty Enlightening the Born in 1834, Bartholdi was already World” stands on Bedloe's Island, at approaching middle age when the first the entrance to New York harbor, his idea of his masterpiece came to him. One fame among men will be secure. He evening the sculptor, Lafayette, Henri needs no other monument, and no man Martin, Rémusat, De Tocqueville, and could ask a nobler.
several other Frenchmen eminent in litIt was in the imagination of this Al erature, statecraft, and art, dined tosatian Frenchman that the great dream gether at the country seat of M. Lawas born ; it was due largely to his ar- boulaye near Versailles. It was at a time tistic skill and craftsmanship that the when the impulse for freedom beat high stupendous conception finally took form in the veins of France. At the table the and permanence in bronze and copper. company talked of human liberty, and of Nearly twenty years of his life were de- the new republic which promised so LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD. Colossal Statue, by Bartholdi, Erected on Bedloe's Island, New York Harbor. A Gift of the French People to the
American Nation. Dedicated in 1886. Total height, 305 feet. Height of statue without pedestal, 151 feet.
much for their own beloved country. symbolic monument. There remained Among them was the descendant of that its realization, involving the raising of Lafayette who shared with Washington large sums of money, and technical difthe struggles and the dangers out of ficulties without precedent and almost inwhich came the Republic of the United numerable. States. In that republic the War of the As soon as the sculptor returned to Rebellion was but lately over, and a new France, he laid his plans before his era of prosperity was about to open. friends. In support of his proposals, they
After dinner the party went out into at once formed the Franco-American the conservatory to smoke their cigars. Union, to which flocked hundreds of the There, while the
enlightened men smoke wreaths
of France. This rose and the
union set at once talk grew lof
about raising the tier and more
necessary funds. inspiring, Bar
At a banquet tholdi spoke.
given by the "Let us, the Re
Union in 1875, publicans of the
the city of Paris new France," he said, “ do some
subscribed $2,thing to recognize
000; and during fittingly the ex
the next five ample and the in
years the sum spiration of the
of $250,000 was great republic across the water,
raised by popuwhich has again
lar subscription dedicated the two
throughout the Western conti
republic. But nents to human liberty."
Bartholdi did Those who
not wait until heard him were
the money was quick to recog
subscribed. He nize the great
set to work possibilities of
shortly after his the idea. They
return from rose with en
America. First thusiasm to his
he made a model proposal. First BARTHOLDI, THE SCULPTOR.
of the proposed of all, Bartholdi Born in 1834. Died October 4, 1904,
statue about went across the
four feet in water to see for
height. On this himself what fitting form the memorial the sculptor lavished all the skill of his might take. Let Bartholdi himself tell art, for upon it he depended to awaken what happened :
popular interest in the plan, as well as to
sound the keynote for the creation of the “My statue was born at the moment when I gigantic statue. It was called “The awakened off the harbor of New York and, in Model of the Studio," and many copies the pearly radiance of a beautiful morning, of it were sold to art lovers, the prolooked out upon the marvelous picture which ceeds going into the treasury of the presented itself. There lay the immense city
Union. in the arms of its twin rivers, each festooned with masts and flags as far as the eye could The next step in the work was the reach. Here, I said to myself, at this gate- modeling of a second figure, almost an way to the continent, shall be raised the Statue
exact reproduction of the first in everyof Liberty, grand as the idea which it embodies, looking out radiant over the two worlds."
thing but size. It measured a little over
eight feet in height. This statue, which So far, the conception of the great was executed with rigid precision, was
Ce n'y rendons l'esprit, c'est fait eru l'orce.
reproduced four times as large by the made of plates of thin, hammered copper, ordinary processes. This resulted in a this material offering less resistance to gigantic figure thirty-six feet in height, the necessary conditions of working than already fitted to take rank with the any other. That decision made, the 36largest productions of the sculptor's art. foot model was removed to the center But the plan for the figure which was of a huge work-room specially built for destined to stand at the entrance of New the purpose. The model was divided by York harbor, called for a total height of lines into a great number of sections, 151 feet, or again four times as large as each of which was to be reproduced septhe completed model. Here began those arately on an enormous scale. Changes technical difficulties for the final over- for the sake of artistic betterment were coming of which the artisans and en- no longer possible. The sculptor and gineers employed deserve as much credit his assistants could aim only at very great as does Bartholdi for the nobility and ar- precision and care in the enlargement of tistic merit of his design.
the various sections, which had now beConsider the problem for a moment. come enormous. It called for the erection of a statue much Four men worked at the same time, larger than any ever before erected at each busy with the reproduction of a
single section of the model. To aid them
in their work, the particular sections of de fiesteldi 6e 13 de det
the model on which each man was em
ployed was arranged within a frame bela forme mustetane est tout, et likutrien, fore his eyes. The frame was marked in
inches, and crossed and criss-crossed
from side to side by wires, each of which 1 Vinter Hugo was also divided into plainly marked
inches. M. Bartholdi le 13 Mai 1885
On the side of the wall of the workLa forme au statuaire c'est tout, et ce n'est rien. Ce room hung a similarly marked and wired n'est rein sans l'esprit, c'est tout avec l'idée.
frame, in which every dimension was Victor Hugo
multiplied by exactly four. Against this MR. BARTHOLDI, May 13, 1885.
frame, and guided by the measurements, The form of statuary is everything, and it is nothing:
the workman built up in wood and plaster It is nothing without the spirit, it is everything with the
Victor Hugo. an exact reproduction of his section of
the model, multiplying every detail by LETTER WRITTEN BY Victor HUGO TO BARTHOLDI ON
four as he went along. He worked with COMPLETION OF THE STATUE.
compasses, rules, and other instruments
of precision, finally going over the outer any place or time in history. The Colos- plaster surface of his reproduction with suis of Rhodes ranked as one of the seven the tools of a sculptor in order to give wonders of the world. But beside the the necessary flowing and graceful outStatue of Liberty, as Bartholdi planned lines. it, this ancient wonder was a dwarf. It From the gigantic sections made in this towered 100 feet above the water; but way, moulds of solid wood were conthis new Liberty raised its torch to a structed ; and over these the thin sheets height of 305 feet, the figure alone, with- of copper were fitted and beaten into out the pedestal, measuring 151 feet. In shape with hammers, all the measurethe construction of the figure, the hand- ments being later verified on the comling of no less than 400,000 pounds-or pleted copper plates. Each plate was 200 tons-of iron and copper was in- furnished with iron braces which gave volved.
it strength and solidity. It was necessary not only that artistic When finished, the plates were carried symmetry be preserved, but that the into the mounting court, there to be fasstatue should be made in small sections, tened to the immense truss-work of iron so that it could easily be transported beans serving as a support for the whole across the ocean. In the first place, then, envelope of the statue. This truss-work it was decided that the statue should be was designed and executed by the em
inent constructing engineer, M. Eiffel, The statue was constructed in the celewho later gave his name to the Eiffel brated house of Gaget, Gauthier & Comtower. The copper plates, kept in shape pany, of Paris. The copper sheets are by iron bands, are supported by iron one-tenth of an inch thick. braces which are clamped onto the cen- In concluding his account of the contral core. They do not bear at all upon struction of the statue, M. Bartholdi the central plates; and their weight is says: always independent of all that is above The other colossal statues which have been and below.
constructed up to the present time are far
Exhaustive mathematical calculations were made upon the resisting power of the iron pieces, upon the center of gravity, and upon the action of high winds The calculations were made by taking as a base the most powerful hurricanes which have been recorded either in America or in Europe. As regards preservation of the work, it may be said that since all the elements of its construction are visible on the inside in all their details, it will easily be kept in good condition.
from the proportions of the Statue of Liberty. The statue was born for the place which inspired its conception. May God be pleased to bless my efforts and my work, and to crown it with the success, the duration, and the moral influence which it ought to have! I am happy to have been able to concentrate the best years of my life to being the interpreter of the noble hearts whose dream has been the realization of this monument to the French-American union.”
The first fragment of the completed statue—the arm and uplifted torch—was exhibited at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876. The head was next