Napoleon, by Houdon
ean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828) was the foremost exponent of Neoclassical sculpture in France during the Enlightenment. He is better known in America for his statues of early American heroes, including Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and the Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones (1747-1792). His George Washington, which stands in the state capitol at Richmond, Virginia, was commissioned by the Virginia Legislature at the urging of Thomas Jefferson in 1791.
either Meriwether Lewis nor William Clark was memorialized in sculptures until 1904 when two obscure artists, Charles Lopez and F. W. Ruckstuhl, created the captains' images for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1905 the sculptures were transferred to the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon. It is thought they were made of "staff," a temporary material of plaster and wood fiber painted to resemble marble. Evidently they were destroyed after the closing of the Oregon exposition.
Also in 1904 a bronze bust of Clark by an unknown sculptor was placed at the base of a stone monument at his gravesite in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis. In 1927 lifesize bronze sculptures of the two captains by James Earle Fraser were unveiled in the Great Hall of the state capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri.