The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel.
Bartholdi was inspired by a French law professor and politician, Édouard René de Laboulaye. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the U.S. provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.
French sculptor moved forward with fabrication of the right arm, bearing the torch, and the head. Work began at the Gaget, Gauthier & Co. workshop. Bartholdi decided to build the statue in France and have it disassembled and transported to the United States for reassembly in place on Bedloe’s Island.
The Statue of Liberty was completed in 1884, and in 1886 the 225-ton sculpture was dismantled into 350 pieces and shipped to New York.
Featured Image: Gaget, Gauthier & Company workshops. Construction of the Statue of Liberty. Paris. 1881 / Image: Pierre Petit, Musée Bartholdi/Christian Kempf