Rare bust of George Washington to be auctioned in London shortly after US Independence Day

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rare bust of George Washington to be auctioned

LONDON — Art lovers looking for a way to mark U.S. Independence Day may want to consider a rare bust of George Washington being auctioned by Sotheby’s in London.

But this is not a July 4 knickknack.

Experts believe it will fetch more than 300,000 pounds ($490,000) when it is auctioned on July 9. Until then it will be on display at Sotheby’s.

The bust of America’s first president comes from the workshop of Jean-Antoine Houdon, a French sculptor who was commissioned by the U.S. Congress and the Virginia Legislature to produce a life-size sculpture of Washington.

Houdon traveled from France to Philadelphia in 1787 to make a series of studies of Washington, then produced a small series of sculptures when he returned to his Paris studio.

Sotheby’s specialist Carolyn Miner called it a “superb rendition of George Washington.”

Other examples of Houdon’s Washington series are on display at the Louvre in Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

will not be displayed