Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Bartholdi, Frederic Auguste
BARTHOLDI, Frederic Auguste, French sculptor, b. in Colmar, Alsace, 2 April, 1834. He studied painting with Ary Scheffer in Paris, but afterward turned his attention to sculpture, which has since exclusively occupied him. Among his works are “Francesca da Rimini” (1852); “Monument to Martin Schongauer” (1863); “LeVigneron” (1870); and “Vercingetorix” (1872). His statue of “Lafayette arriving in America” was executed in 1872, and in 1876 was placed in Union square, New York. He was one of the French commissioners in 1876 to the Philadelphia centennial exhibition, and there exhibited bronze statues of “The Young Vine-Grower”; “Génie Funèbre”; “Peace”; and “Genius in the Grasp of Misery,” for which he received a bronze medal. “Liberty enlightening the World,” the colossal statue on Bedlow's island, in New York harbor, is his work. Soon after the establishment of the present form of government in France, the project of building some suitable memorial to show the fraternal feeling existing between the two great republics was suggested, and in 1874 the “French-American Union” was established. Among its members were Laboulaye, De Rémusat, Waddington, Henri Martin, De Lesseps, De Rochambeau, Lafayette, and Bartholdi. The plan of Bartholdi having been approved, more than 1,000,000 francs were raised by subscription throughout France for the building of the statue. On 4 July, 1880, it was formally delivered to the American minister in Paris, the event being celebrated by a great banquet. Meanwhile the United States had set apart Bedlow's island as a site for the monument, and funds were collected throughout this country for the building of the pedestal, about $300,000 being raised. In October, 1886, the structure was presented to the nation as the joint gift of the French and American people. This statue is 151 feet and 1 inch high, and the top of the torch will be at an elevation of 305 feet 11 inches from mean low-water mark. It is the largest work of its kind that has ever been completed.
The famous “Colossus of Rhodes,” according to the proportions which the legends attribute to it, was but a miniature in comparison. The “Lion of Belfort,” a colossal statue, erected in commemoration of the siege sustained by that city during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-'1, was made by Bartholdi and exhibited in plaster at the salon of 1878. His “Gribeauval,” exhibited in the same year, is the property of the French nation, from whom he has received the cross of the legion of honor. See “Bartholdi and the Great Statue” (New York, 1886).