Statue of Liberty souvenir, New York, New York, 1885
Statue of Liberty
metal (overall material)
overall: 6 in; 15.24 cm
Government, Politics, and Reform
This is one of the first models of Liberty cast in the United States. Often described as the American Committee Model, this statuette was produced in the tens of thousands. It was sold to subscribers to finance the construction of a pedestal for the full-size statue in New York Harbor.
Based upon the design of the French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, with Bartholdi’s full cooperation, the miniature statues were produced in six- and twelve-inch sizes. A national newspaper campaign advertised statuettes at one dollar for the six-inch model seen here or five dollars for a twelve-inch version. Richard Butler, a New York–based rubber manufacturer, chaired the American Committee of the Statue of Liberty and oversaw the models’ production.
The campaign disseminated likenesses of Liberty throughout the United States and the world, turning the figure into a household souvenir while raising more than enough money for the construction of the monumental stone pedestal. The finished monument, Liberty Enlightening the World, was dedicated October 28, 1886.
Gift of Richard Butler, Secretary of the American Committee on the Statue of Liberty, 1885
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
Like many immigrants to the United States, Gregorio Marzan considered the Statue of Liberty an important symbol of freedom. He created many versions of the statue and in this piece portrayed Lady Liberty in heavy make-up and gaudy clothing. Marzan’s use of found objects, including the glue caps in the crown, relates to the Latin American tradition of creating personal shrines and totems from everyday objects.