A restored French “Statue of Liberty” was unveiled at the Orsay Museum in Paris last week after having been on display in the Luxemburg Gardens for over a century. The piece was purchased in 1900 for an undisclosed fee and was displayed in the Luxemburg Museum until 1906 when the artist’s widow asked that it be moved to the Senate gardens.

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi created the 9.5 foot bronze statue, Liberty Enlightening the World in 1889, three years after installing the larger Statue of Liberty in New York. The bronze was cast from a plaster prototype of the original statue to honor the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

The Orsay Museum in Paris had lobbied, since its opening in 1986, to inherit the piece symbolizing the friendship between France and America, but for over 25 years the Senate ignored the request. In September 2011, after the statue’s torch was stolen and Senate elections shifted power, the Orsay finally acquired Liberty Enlightening the World.

After over 100 years of outside exposure, the statue has been restored to its original patina and had the stolen torch replaced. A second copy of the piece was also made for the Luxemburg Gardens to replace the relocated original.

Bartholdi took years to build the Statue of Liberty, but failed to finish it in time for the 1876 American Centennial. The statue was finally installed in 1886. The metal base of the Statue of Liberty was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1886.

Our next post: Restoring and caring for your bronze.

Source: Agence France Presse

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