Born on August 2, 1834 into a family of notables at Colmar (Haut-Rhin), Auguste Bartholdi became fatherless at the age of two. His mother, Charlotte, was always an essential part of his life as his loving but possessive confidante.

Bartholdi was not a particularly bright student at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. However, the young man had a real artistic talent; after trying his hand at painting and photography, sculpture, in particular monumental sculpture allowed Bartholdi to fulfill his potential and to make a name for himself.

After an initiatory voyage in the East, he worked on his first commission, a statue of General Rapp a high-profile figure in Alsace. Inaugurated in 1856 at Colmar, it secured him a certain fame.
A patriot and a republican, Bartholdi was deeply upset by the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine by Prussia in 1870, following the defeat at Sedan. To honor the inhabitants of Belfort, who had courageously withstood a siege during the conflict, he sculpted the Lion.
His most outstanding work was conceived in the same context. Built to commemorate American Independence and to celebrate French-American friendship,
la Liberty Enlightening the World occupied the sculptor for nearly fifteen years. The monumental work, erected at the entrance to New York Harbor, has celebrated the values of liberty and democracy for more than 110 years.
After designing and constructing numerous public commissions, Bartholdi passed away on October 4, 1904 in Paris, at the age of 70.

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Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904)