This bust is an inspired adaptation. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the Statue of Liberty and around the time of her centennial in 1986 all kinds of literature and unpublished photos came out.
Among the photos were rarely seen views of Liberty’s bust being displayed at the 1878 Paris Exposition in the gardens of the Tocadéro Palace. Another item that caught my eye was a hitherto unknown souvenir bust of Liberty that was sold during that time to help raise funds for the construction that was mass-produced by the French foundry Avoiron et Cie.
As much as I wanted one of those über-rare souvenir busts from 1878, few ever came up other than at Sotheby’s Auctions or eBay and the price of those examples were far out of my reach. I’m aware of a few in private collections and in the museum in the base of the Statue of Liberty.
I decided yesterday to create a rough version of the bust of the Statue of Liberty based loosely on the souvenir bust but still visually closer to the actual finished head of Liberty. I turned to a small-scale copy of a limited edition by the French foundry Thiébaut frères since I do not have access to any of the souvenir busts from 1878.
While Bartholdi had licensed others to reproduce the Statue of Liberty in France during his lifetime, he reserved the right to cast Liberty in bronze for himself. He usually turned to Thiébaut frères when he wanted to commission a high quality Statue of Liberty bronze. My copy dates from much later and is a much-reduced version in resin with a simulated bronze finish. It is much coarser in detail but if anyone gets to Liberty Island and visits the museum, they can see a cast bronze copy of a Thiébaut frères Statue of Liberty and see how the artist would have envisioned her at a more human scale.
The biggest difference between the souvenir bust and the finished head of the real Liberty was the depiction of the curls behind her ears. In the Avoiron et Cie produced souvenir bust, they are shown as hanging snugly against her neck, whereas in the full-sized finished head they were separate and dropping further out on her shoulders.
My guess is that since the souvenir bust shares the same curls features as the full figures made in varying sizes by Avoiron et Cie during the 1880s, it was likely a practical decision to make the creation of molds a little easier. I doubt anyone besides Frederic Auguste Bartholdi would have noticed the difference.
As is usual, this 3D file is somewhat rough and could use a gentle touch to bring out the details and restore whatever details are missing (like the delicate lines across the top of the head depicting the waves of her hair or the slight ridges that encircle each curl, or the finer details of her pupils and lips).