In 2016, the Art Center was fortunate to acquire an original plaster portrait by the famed French Enlightenment sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828). The subject, Abbé Jean-Jacques Barthélemy (1716–1795), an historian and numismatist, is today all but unknown. He was, however, one of the most famous men and popular authors of his era and worthy to stand with the likes of some of Houdon’s other sitters such as Diderot, Voltaire, and Washington. This focused exhibition will illustrate the life of Barthélemy and also provide insight into Houdon’s sculptural technique by bringing together the Vassar plaster with an unfinished marble version of the portrait that today is in the Smith College Art Museum.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.