Thanksgiving Hours

The Museum will close early at 3 pm on Wednesday, November 22, and will be closed all day on Thursday, November 23. The Museum will be open on Friday, November 24, 10 am to 8 pm. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

Object Number: 
X.436
Date: 
1867
Medium: 
Plaster
Dimensions: 
Overall: 19 in. ( 48.3 cm )
Marks: 
inscriptions: on front of base: "USG photosculpture" inscribed: on back of base: "Pat. Aug 27, 1867"
Description: 
Portrait (full-length)
Gallery Label: 

While traveling in Paris as an art broker, James Steele MacKaye (1842-1885) encountered photosculpture, a mechanical method of three-dimensional prototyping invented by artist Francois Willeme in 1859. MacKaye purchased the U.S. patent in 1867 and co-founded the American Photosculpture Company of New York City.

Subjects posed on a circular platform that was marked off into twenty-four sections; twenty-four surrounding cameras took photographs simultaneously. Clay, similiarly centered on a rotating circular platform, could then be sculpted by serially tracing the photograph silhouettes using a pantograph outfitted with a clay saw.

General Ulysses S. Grant was friends with MacKaye's father, Colonel James M. MacKaye, and the connection led to him being the first sitter. During the two years it was in business, the company also created photosculptures of Admiral David Farragut and Horace Greely.

Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. Lewis Gouverneur Morris
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group