By DARLA MCCAMMON
Lakeland Art Association
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi made several early models of the Statue of Liberty. All were females and were robed in a long gown and cloak similar to those on Roman goddesses. From the beginning Bartholdi insisted that one arm would be raised holding a torch, reaching toward the sky. He wished to show a peaceful scene. Bartholdi chose to eliminate a not-so-peaceful looking helmet on her head but rather, adopted a crown with seven rays he said represented a halo, the sun, the seven seas, and seven continents.
Bartholdi designed the Statue of Liberty and he helped supervise the construction of his design but he did not build it. The construction of the lady statue at first fell to his friend Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, an architect and engineer. Le-Duc planned for a brick pier inside the statue which was otherwise hollow. The skin of thin copper sheets, more slim that two stacked pennies, chosen as the metal they would use, could be attached to this pier. The metal was shaped with a process called repoussé. This method meant the sheets of copper underwent heating to make them more pliable. They would then be struck with wooden hammers to form them to the desired shape. This method would keep the statue fairly light compared to the volume of the composition. The overall size was considered a “colossal” at 151 feet tall.
Bartholdi had to become a salesman at this point in order to obtain the support of both the United States as well as the people of France in order to acquire necessary funds for the project. He made trips to the United States and on March 3, 1877 President Grant agreed to sign a resolution that allowed the President to accept the statue and also to choose a site where the statue would have a home. President Hayes took office shortly thereafter and selected Bedloe’s Island, a site that Bartholdi had found and proposed, which is today called Ellis Island. It was agreed that French citizens would provide finances for the statue while American citizens would collect funds to provide and build the huge pedestal that would be erected on the island to support the behemoth structure.
Returning to Paris, Bartholdi focused, with his friend Le-Duc, on finalizing the head of the piece. The head was finished enough to place on exhibit at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878 where it was used to engender funds to complete the massive project (photo provided). Raising the needed money was difficult in both countries and Bartholdi traveled back and forth to raise support for his beloved project. He continued to find support from Laboulaye who announced the formation of the Franco-American Union as the vehicle that would be used for fundraising in both countries. Some French were angry that the United States had not sent aid to them during the Prussian war. But by and large, the French citizenry were enthralled with the idea and funds began coming in, even from school children and local cities.
- Marilyn Kruger art exhibit now open through Oct. 28 at Warsaw City Hall Gallery
- Creason & Friends from now through the end of September at Lakeland Art Gallery.
- Free Art program at LAA gallery 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw, Sept. 26 at 7pm.
- Oct. 1, Saturday 9a.m. to 3 p.m. QUILT show! More info next week.
- Oct. 1 to Nov. 9, Honeywell Center Photography Show opens at Clark Gallery.
- Robert Hudson and Jennifer Caudill-Penaherra exhibit opens Oct. 5th.