Jean-Antoine Houdon

Jean-Antoine Houdon (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃n‿ɑ̃twan udɔ̃]) (25 March 1741 – 15 July 1828) was a French neoclassical sculptor.

Houdon is famous for his portrait busts and statues of philosophers, inventors and political figures of the Enlightenment. Houdon's subjects included Denis Diderot (1771), Benjamin Franklin (1778-09), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1778), Voltaire (1781), Molière (1781), George Washington (1785–88), Thomas Jefferson (1789), Louis XVI (1790), Robert Fulton, (1803–04), and Napoléon Bonaparte (1806).

Jean-Antoine Houdon
Jean antoine houdon-rembrandt peale
1808 portrait by Rembrandt Peale
Born25 March 1741
Died15 July 1828 (aged 87)
EducationAcadémie royale de peinture et de sculpture
Known forPortrait sculpture
Spouse(s)Marie-Ange-Cecile Langlois
AwardsPrix de Rome


Paris art deco boilly houdon
Jean-Antoine Houdon at work in his atelier, 1804, by Louis-Léopold Boilly, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

He was born in Versailles, on 25 March 1741. In 1752, he entered the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, where he studied with René-Michel Slodtz, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, and Jean-Baptiste Pigalle.[1] From 1761 to 1764, he studied at the École royale des élèves protégés.[2]

Houdon won the Prix de Rome in 1761, but was not greatly influenced by ancient and Renaissance art in Rome. His stay in the city is marked by two characteristic and important productions: the superb écorché[3] (1767), an anatomical model which has served as a guide to all artists since his day, and the statue of Saint Bruno in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome. After ten years stay in Italy, Houdon returned to Paris.

He submitted "Morpheus" to the Salon of 1771.[4] He developed his practise of portrait busts. He became a member of the Académie de peinture et de sculpture in 1771, and a professor in 1778. In 1778, he modeled Voltaire, producing a portrait bust with wig for the Comédie-Française; one for the Palace of Versailles, and one for Catherine the Great.[5]

In 1778, he joined the masonic lodge Les Neuf Sœurs, where he later met Benjamin Franklin, and John Paul Jones.[6] For Salon of 1781, he submitted a "Diana" which was refused without drapery.[1]

Houdon's portrait sculpture of Washington was the result of a specific invitation by Benjamin Franklin to cross the Atlantic in 1785, specifically to visit Mount Vernon, so that Washington could model for him. Washington sat for wet clay life models and a plaster life mask. These models served for many commissions of Washington, including the standing figure commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly, for the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.[1] Numerous variations of the Washington bust were produced, portraying him variously as a general in uniform, in the classical manner showing chest musculature, and as Roman Consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus clad in a toga. A cast of the latter is located in the Vermont State House.

In the 1780s Houdon produced two semi-nude sculptures, Winter and Bather.[7]

Perceived as bourgeois for his connections to the court of Louis XVI, he fell out of favour during the French Revolution, although he escaped imprisonment. Houdon returned to favor during the French Consulate and Empire, being taken on as one of the original artistic team for what became the Column of the Grande Armée at Wimille.[1] He was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, on 17 December 1804.[8]

Houdon died in Paris on 15 July 1828,[1] and was interred at the Cimetière du Montparnasse.


On 1 July 1786, he married Marie-Ange-Cecile Langlois;[9] they had three daughters: Sabine, Anne-Ange, and Claudine.[10]

Legacy and influence

George Washington 1890 Issue Lake-2c
American Bank Note Co
Issue of 1890

Houdon's sculptures were used as models for the engravings used on various U.S. postage stamps of the late 19th and early 20th centuries which depict Washington in profile.[11]



Bust of Washington based on a life mask cast in 1786, (National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.)

P1020216 Musée Angers Houdon marbre Voltaire rwk

Bust of Voltaire, 1778. (Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Angers, France.)

Jean-Antoine Houdon, Voltaire, 1778, NGA 1266

Voltaire, 1778, National Gallery of Art

Marble bust of Voltaire, 1870-1900 CE. From France. After Jean-Antoine Houdon. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Marble bust of Voltaire, 1870-1900 CE. From France. After Jean-Antoine Houdon. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Virginia State Capitol complex - Houdon's Washington, seen from the front

George Washington in Virginia State Capitol complex

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ Murray 2004.
  3. ^ "Jean-Antoine Houdon: l'Ecorche (Flayed Man)".
  4. ^ Herbermann 1913.
  5. ^ Hart & Biddle 1911, p. 36.
  6. ^ Marshall, Kaufman & Johnston 2005.
  7. ^ "Jean Antoine Houdon (1741–1828)". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  8. ^ Hart & Biddle 1911, p. 264.
  9. ^ Hart & Biddle 1911, p. 274.
  10. ^ Hart & Biddle 1911, p. 256.
  11. ^ Smithsonian National Postal Museum


External links

1828 in France

Events from the year 1828 in France.

Anne Poulet

Anne L. Poulet (born March 20, 1942) is a retired American art historian. Poulet is an expert in the area of French art, particularly sculpture. In her career, she organized two major monographic exhibitions on the French sculptors Clodion and Jean-Antoine Houdon, respectively.

Armand Thomas Hue de Miromesnil

Armand Thomas Hue de Miromesnil (15 September 1723 - 6 July 1796) was a minister of the French Ancien Régime who served as Keeper of the Seals under Louis XVI. He was brought into the ministry by his patron Maurepas following the ascension of Louis XVI and the dissolution of the Maupeou ministry, taking office alongside Turgot and Malesherbes.

Cabinet Room (White House)

The Cabinet Room is the meeting room for the cabinet secretaries and advisors serving the President of the United States. The body is defined as the United States Cabinet. The Cabinet Room is located in the West Wing of the White House, adjoining the Oval Office, and looks out upon the White House Rose Garden.

Though completed in 1934 the room is built in the Georgian style. The neoclassical ceiling molding with triglyphs was installed in 1934. A series of French doors topped with arched lunette windows are located on the east side of the room. The light switch can be found on the wall, to the right by said doors. A fireplace, flanked by two niches is located on the north side of the room. Busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Antoine Houdon fill the niches. Above the mantel hangs a painting titled The Signing of the Declaration of Independence by Charles Édouard Armand-Dumaresq, (French, 1826–1895). Additional portraits along the west wall are chosen by an incumbent president. The large elliptical mahogany table was a gift from President Richard Nixon in 1970. The president and the cabinet secretaries' chairs are copies of a late-eighteenth century design. The president's chair is centered on the table on the east side of the room. The back of the president's chair is two inches taller than those of the cabinet secretaries. Engraved brass plates with the names of the cabinet positions are attached to the back of the chairs. The president's simply says "THE PRESIDENT." The chairs are purchased by the cabinet members, who may keep the chair as a souvenir after they leave office. Some cabinet members have had their chairs returned to the cabinet room for several positions and administrations.

In 2006 the room was refurbished somewhat similarly to its appearance during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt when the West Wing and current Cabinet Room were largely rebuilt following damages from a fire at the end of the Herbert Hoover administration. This includes Art Deco style wall sconces with spread eagles supporting internally lit globes. Three overhead Moderne style glass pendant lights were recreated from old photographs and a similar surviving example in a hallway between the Oval Office and Roosevelt Room. The room is painted an off-white color called deauville. A custom made carpet, in shades of carmine, old gold, sapphire and fern green with a pattern of overscaled stars and olive leaves was woven for the room.

The refurbishment of White House rooms is jointly undertaken by the Curator of the White House, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, and White House Historical Association. Costs relating to construction are often funded by the White House Endowment Trust. The purchase of fine art, historic furniture, or the recreation of period decorative arts, is frequently paid for by the White House Acquisition Trust.

George Washington (Houdon)

George Washington is a statue by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon from the late 18th century. Based on a life mask and other measurements of George Washington taken by Houdon, it is considered one of the most accurate depictions of the subject. The original sculpture is located in the rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, and has been copied extensively.

The date given for the sculpture varies. It was commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly in 1784, begun in 1785, signed "1788", completed in 1791 or '92, and delivered in 1796.

George Washington (copy of bust by Houdon)

George Washington (bust by Houdon) is a public artwork that is a limited edition copy of an original work by French neoclassical sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon that is on display inside the Indiana Statehouse, which is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The artwork was cast a solid piece of plaster that has been painted white.

Henri-Joseph Ruxthiel

Henri-Joseph Rutxhiel (1775 in Lierneux, Belgium – 1837 in Paris, France) was a Belgian sculptor. He belonged to the neoclassicism movement.

He was first shepherd, then sculptor in his late life. In 1800, he became the pupil of Jean-Antoine Houdon, then that of sculptor Philippe-Laurent Roland and the painter Jacques-Louis David. In 1809, he won the Prix de Rome for sculpture with a relief Dédale attachant des ailes à son fils Icare and then went to the Villa Medici.


Jean Antoine is a French given name. Notable people with the name include:

Jean-Antoine Carrel (1829–1890), Italian mountain climber

Jean-Antoine Constantin, (1756–1844), French painter

Jean-Antoine Dubois (1765–1848), French Catholic missionary in India

Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828), French neoclassical sculptor

Jean-Antoine Marbot (1754–1800), French general and politician

Jean-Antoine Nollet (1700–1770), French clergyman and physicist

Jean-Antoine Panet (1751–1815), Canadian notary, lawyer, judge and political figure

Jean-Antoine Petipa (1787–1855), French ballet dancer

Jean-Louis Couasnon

Jean-Louis Couasnon (1747-1802) was a French sculptor who specialized in portraits of living people.

Lafayette dollar

The Lafayette dollar was a silver coin issued as part of the United States' participation in the Paris World's Fair of 1900. Depicting Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette with George Washington, and designed by Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber, it was the only U.S. silver dollar commemorative prior to 1983, and the first U.S. coin to depict American citizens.

Beginning in 1898, prominent Americans sought to erect in Paris a monument to Lafayette, a Frenchman who fought in the American Revolutionary War. Among these supporters was Chicago businessman Ferdinand Peck, whom President William McKinley chose as commissioner-general to the exposition. Peck made the monument proposal a part of the American plans for Paris, and appointed the Lafayette Memorial Commission to raise funds for it. A part of this fundraising was the one-dollar commemorative coin, approved by Congress on March 3, 1899.

Conjoined busts of Washington and Lafayette appear on the obverse. Barber stated that the bases for his work were a sculpture of Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdon, and an 1824 medal of Lafayette by François-Augustin Caunois. For the reverse, he used an early sketch of the planned monument, designed by Paul Wayland Bartlett, whose last name appears on the base of the statue on the reverse. The coins did not sell out, and 14,000 were later melted by the United States Treasury. The Lafayette dollar is valued from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands, depending on condition.

List of artworks in the Frick Collection

This is an incomplete list of artworks in the Frick Collection in New York City, United States, which mainly holds European artworks from before the 20th century.

List of artworks on stamps of the United States

This article lists people whose artwork has been featured on stamps of the United States. For this purpose "featured" is not limited to complete works but includes any identifiable representation of their works. Thus the "Geophysical Year" stamp of 1958 is considered to feature the work of Michelangelo because it shows two hands from his The Creation of Adam. The "issue year" refers to the year when that person's work listed appeared on a stamp of the United States. Many artists have had the same work appear on different U.S. postages stamps and many artists have had multiple works appear on U.S. postage stamps.

The list does not include artists who were commissioned by the U.S. Post Office Department (or its successor, the United States Postal Service) to specifically create artwork for a postage stamp. Scenes from American history, famous Americans, and traditional Christmas images are postage stamp themes frequently employing original artwork.

The main references for the list are: National Postal Museum online database "Arago: Philately", the Colnect Worldwide Stamp Catalog, and the US Stamp Gallery.

List of memorials to George Washington

This is a list of memorials to George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and first president of the United States;

Marguerite J. A. Houdon

Marguerite-Julie-Antoinette Houdon (1771 – 1795) was a French painter.

She was the first cousin of the sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon and her self-portrait was included in the 1905 book Women Painters of the World.

Musée Cognacq-Jay

The Musée Cognacq-Jay is a museum located in the Hôtel Donon in the 3rd arrondissement at 8 rue Elzévir, Paris, France. It is open daily except Monday; admission is free. The nearest Metro stations are Saint-Paul and Chemin Vert.

The museum's collection was formed between 1900–1925 by Théodore-Ernest Cognacq (1839–1928) and his wife Marie-Louise Jay (1838–1925), founders of La Samaritaine department store. At his death, Cognacq gave the collection to the City of Paris, which in 1929 inaugurated the Musée Cognacq-Jay at 25 boulevard des Capucines, a building especially conceived for it by the Cognacq couple, who wished to display the collection in the intimacy of a seemingly inhabited home, without the conventions of a museum. In 1990 however, the City, arguing that the Boulevard des Capucines was not part of a "cultural circuit", sought the approval of the legal heirs (the owners of La Samaritaine), and, under silent disagreement of the Cognacq-Jay family, moved the collection to the ill-fitting Hôtel Donon (c. 1575) in the Marais, where the collection is displayed in twenty paneled rooms (four floors) in the styles of Louis XV and Louis XVI. The renovation work of the Hôtel Donon was led by Paris' chief architect Bernard Fonquernie, whilst the interior renovation was done by Reoven Vardi.

The museum contains an exceptional collection of fine art and decorative items, about 1200 items in total, with an emphasis on 18th century France, ranging from European and Chinese ceramics, jewels, and snuffboxes, to paintings by Louis-Léopold Boilly, François Boucher, Canaletto, Jean-Siméon Chardin, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Hubert Robert, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and Jean-Antoine Watteau; sculpture by Jean-Antoine Houdon, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, and Jacques-François-Joseph Saly; and fine furniture attributed to Jean-François Oeben and Roger Vandercruse Lacroix. 17th century is also represented, notably with two paintings by Rembrandt while 19th century is represented with works by Camille Corot, Paul Cézanne and also Edgar Degas.

The Cognacq-Jay Museum is one of the 14 City of Paris' Museums that have been incorporated since 1 January 2013 in the public institution Paris Musées.

Musée Lambinet

The Musée Lambinet is a municipal museum in Versailles telling the history of the town. Since 1932 it has been housed in the hôtel Lambinet, a hôtel particulier designed by Élie Blanchard, built in the second half of the 18th century by a part of the Clagny lake (drained in 1837) and left to the town of Versailles by the heirs of Victor Lambinet (a cousin of the painter Émile Lambinet) in 1929. It has been classed as a monument historique since 1944. Its garden façade has a sculpted pediment representing an allegorical figure of architecture.

The museum has 35 rooms, some with period decor, in which collections on the town's history are displayed, such as furniture, ceramics and objets d'art as well as historic plans of the town and paintings, sculptures and other works of art by artists from the town (notably works by Jean-Antoine Houdon).

Presidential Issue

The Presidential Issue, nicknamed the Prexies by collectors, is the series of definitive postage stamps issued in the United States in 1938, featuring all 29 U.S. presidents who were in office between 1789 and 1928, from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge. The presidents appear as small profile busts printed in solid-color designs through 50¢, and then as black on white images surrounded by colored lettering and ornamentation for $1, $2, and $5 values. Additional stamps in fractional-cent denominations offer busts of Benjamin Franklin and Martha Washington, as well as an engraving of the White House. With its total of 32 stamps, this was the largest definitive series yet issued by the U. S. Post Office.

In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt, himself a serious stamp collector, fostered the idea of a set of stamps honoring all the deceased past presidents of the United States. A national contest was held in 1937 to choose a designer for the first stamp of the series, the 1-cent George Washington issue. More than eleven hundred entries were submitted, some from famous artists. An artist from New York, Elaine Rawlinson, won the contest. Her design for the 1-cent stamp showed Washington in profile, modeled after a bust by the famous sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, and became the template for the new definitive series issued in 1938.

Winter (sculpture)

Winter is a bronze statue of a young woman. Cast by Jean-Antoine Houdon in 1787, the statue is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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