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Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi passes away in 1901.

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was a French sculptor.

Bartholdi was born on August 2nd, 1834 in Colmar, France. When his father passed away, Bartholdi's mother moved the family to Paris. There Bartholdi attended Lycee Louis-le-Grand a public secondary school, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1852. He went on to attend École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the distinguished National fine arts school located in Paris. While there he initially studied painting. Before long he discovered sculpting and that would become his exclusive medium.

In 1870, Bartholdi served in the Franco-Prussian war as a squadron leader of the National Guard.

In 1871, Bartholdi made his first trip to the United States to scout locations for his most famous creation, Liberty Enlightening the World, also known as the Statue of Liberty. It can be said that Bartholdi was obsessed with the ideas of liberty, independence and self determination. This more than likely sprang from the troubles in his ancestral home of Alsace which had lost independence under French control and then was passed into German control after the Franco-Prussian war. It was his obsession with liberty that led him to Edouard de Laboulaye and the project known as the Statue of Liberty.

In France, Bartholdi joined the Union Franco-Americane, which worked to raise funds to for the building of the statue. After 1875, building the statue would become all consuming in his life, with the notable exception of his marriage to Jeanne-Emilie Baheux Puysieux in Newport, Rhode Island in December of 1875. When the statue was completed it was the tallest structure in New York City for four years. In Paris there is a replica of the statue facing west. It is claimed that the two statues face each other. It was rumored in France that the statue had the face of Bartholdi's mother. On July 4th, 1880 the statue was "delivered" to the American minister in Paris.

Bartholdi passed away from tuberculosis on October 4th, 1904.

Bartholdi joined Lodge Alsace-Lorraine in Paris in 1875.