Public Art

George Washington

By Jean-Antoine Houdon
Category: Statue


The George Washington monument, placed near the Benton statue, is a copy of Houdon’s famous life-size marble portrait of Washington that was made for the rotunda in the Virginia capitol at Richmond in 1796. It is the most physically accurate portrait of Washington, since Houdon visited the president in Mount Vernon, took careful measurements of him, and made a face mask of his face. The St. Louis version is one of six bronze casts that were made in 1869 using a mold taken from the original marble.

Like the original, the cast was not made for outdoors. As early as 1934, there was a movement to have the statue moved indoors to the public library to stop the deteriorating effect of airborne coal soot. The statue remains in Lafayette Park.

Dimensions: 6′ 2″ x 3′ x 3′
Year Completed: 1788
Material: Bronze
Owner: City of St. Louis
Donor: Lafayette Park Neighborhood Association

About the artist: