Since its inauguration in 1886, the statue of liberty has stood proudly in New York Harbor. The freedom symbol of the United States: Lady Liberty. Created by Auguste Bartholdi and constructed in France, Its frame was designed in Levallois (Parisian suburb) at Gustave Eiffel workshops and its limbs shaped in Paris. As the Liberty Enlightening the World was born in our beautiful capital, it is quite logical that Paris possesses a few replicas.
Join us in discovering this emblematic masterpieces, their histories, and locations in the city of lights! Indeed, each Statue of Liberty Paris gives us precious pieces of information about this symbolic monument.
Statue of Liberty Paris Arts et Métiers museum: two-in-one
Back in 1865, the French politician Edouard de Laboulay tells Bartholdi he has an idea, offering the United-States of America a majestic work of art in order to celebrate the centenary of their independence in 1876. The enthusiastic artist drew a few sketches of the Liberty Enlightening the World. Unfortunately, the project started to fall behind schedule.
The plaster that was needed to create the model was only finished in 1878. By 1907, Bartholdi’s widow donated the plaster to the Arts et Métiers museum where you can still visit and see it. Go to the former Saint-Martin chapel to meet it! Enter its base to discover a charming view of the bay of New York.
Since 2010, the museum has possessed a second Lady Liberty. The latest is located in the small garden at the entrance of the museum and is a bronze’s replica of the plaster.
Liberty statue visible in the garden of the Arts et Métiers museum in Paris
Rue de Chazelles, where Lady Liberty is born
Let’s travel back to 1878 and visit the universal exhibition in Paris. During this specific event, you could admire the statue’s torch and visit its empty head (that’s the reason why some mockers used to say that liberty as no brain!).
Regarding the other limbs, they were shaped from 1881 to 1884 at rue de Chazelles, number 25th, in the foundry firm Gaget Gauthier. In 1885, Lady Liberty was dismembered to cross the Atlantic ocean. Arriving safe and sound, the Statue of Liberty was put back together and inaugurated in New York in 1886.
Even if Lady Liberty has finally left rue de Chazelles, there is still a plaque there reminding us of its initial home. Moreover, you will learn a little information regarding this crazy story (unfortunately in French…)!
Statue of liberty Paris 15th district
The famous monument adventures didn’t end there. The committee of Americans in Paris wanted to thank France by offering Parisians a replica of the Liberty Enlightening the World. The money needed was put together and the Foundry Les Frères Thiébaut started to create a miniature of the statue.
This little sister of the New York lady was inaugurated on the Grenelle bridge on July the 4th 1889 (during the Independence Day and the centenary of the French Revolution). Contrary to Bartholdi’s wish, it was initially oriented in the direction of the bridge, with New York City in its back for a really simple reason. During the inauguration, the statue was not supposed to present its back to the audience and especially to French president Carnot! In 1937, the bronze definitely changed its orientation, finally looking at the New World.
After the rebuilding of the Grenelle bridge in 1968, the work of art was moved to the extremity of the île aux Cygnes (the swan island in French) where you can still contemplate it while taking part to this immersive treasure hunt in the Eiffel Tower district!
Statue of Liberty Paris: replica on the île aux Cygnes close to the Eiffel Tower
The Liberty Statue at musée d’Orsay
Lady Liberty definitely has the fidgets! In 1889, Bartholdi ordered the foundry Les Frères Thiébaut another miniature of the Statue of Liberty Paris. Measuring 287 cm high (113 inches), the dimensions of this new statue are close to the plasterwork preserved at the Arts et Métiers museum (283 cm – 111 inches). When Bartholdi designed this new sculpture he probably wanted to show the Parisians the “model of the study of the Liberty Enlightening the World”. That’s for sure the name given to this umpteenth copy exhibited to the Grand Palais during the universal exhibition of 1900.
The French States later purchased the work of art. It has stood at the entrance of the Luxembourg museum since 1906. In accordance with Bartholdi’s widow the sculpture in the round decorated the beautiful Palace garden. Following the theft of its torch in 2011, the bronze was moved again in 2012 to join the collections of the musée d’Orsay where you can still admire it as part of this breathtaking team building tour in the museum!
Statue of Liberty visible at the musée d’Orsay and dating from 1889
Statue of Liberty Paris: the Luxembourg garden
Lady Liberty left for the Orsay museum, a copy was melted down in order to fill the emptiness in the Luxembourg garden. You can discover it along the lawn, between the entrance “FLEURUS” and “CROQUET”, that are oriented in the direction of the rue Guynemer. An umpteenth Statue of Liberty Paris!
Statue of Liberty in the Luxembourg garden
Attention to detail!
In Paris, there is a final Statue of Liberty, a tiny reproduction included in a larger work of art: Centaur by Cesar artist. This bronze, completed in 1985, a century after the original version, is located in Place Michel-Debré, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Keen observers should look for this celebrity on the creature’s torso!
The smallest Parisian replica is included on the statue of Centaur by Cesar in the 6th district
More than a century after it’s creation, the Liberty Enlightening the World has still several functions. The emblem of New-York, a source of artistic inspiration, an allegory of Liberty, a symbol of the friendship between France and the United States… Its flame is not about to be extinguished!
Photo credit: Booster2Success
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