France is slated to send a new Statue of Liberty to Washington DC next month, according to French media outlets.
A much smaller version of the original model, the bronze cast is 9.28 feet tall, and will arrive in New York on July 4, Independence Day. It is expected to come to DC on July 14.
There are a dozen authorized casts of the original 1878 plaster model by French sculptor and painter Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, and the one coming to the District is the first of them. Bartholdi enlarged the model 16 times to make the 151-foot-tall iron and copper statue in New York City.
French art dealer Guillaume Duhamel made a deal with the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris in the 2000s to cast the model, which was granted to the museum by Bartholdi’s widow in 1907, three years after the sculptor’s death.
According to the agreement, Duhamel would pay to cast 12 sculptures, the maximum number of casts allowed by French law, and would be able to sell 11 of them while the first one would stay at the museum.
Duhamel had noticed the original plaster model at the museum during a field trip with his son’s elementary school class and realized it had never been cast.
The museum declined loan requests in the past citing the model’s fragility, saying it wouldn’t be safe to transport it.
A digital scanning technology was used by French company 7Dworks to create a digital model, which was used to cast the bronze statues.
The one coming to DC is the first bronze statue that has been on display at the entrance of the Musée des Arts et Métiers since 2011. It will remain in the gardens of the French ambassador’s residence in DC for 10 years.
The Statue of Liberty in New York was a gift from the French people commemorating the alliance of France and the United States during the American Revolution.
“We wanted to reconnect with this Franco-American history,” the French ambassador to the US Philippe Etienne said, calling the statue “a double symbol, of liberty, but also of welcome.”