About Frederic Auguste Bartholdi


Born in Colmar, in the Alsace region of France, to Jean Charles Bartholdi (1791–1836) and Augusta Charlotte Bartholdi (née Beysser; 1801–1891), Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) was the youngest of their four children, and one of only two to survive infancy, along with the oldest brother, Jean-Charles, who became a lawyer and editor.

When Bartholdi’s father died, his mother moved the family to Paris, while still maintaining ownership and visiting their house in Alsace, which later became the Bartholdi Museum.

He attended the Lycee Louis-le-Grand in Paris, and received a BA in 1852. He then went on to study architecture at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts as well as painting under Ary Scheffer in his studio in the Rue Chaptal, now the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Later, Batholdi turned his attention to sculpture, which afterward exclusively occupied him.

Bartholdi served in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 as a squadron leader of the National Guard, and as a liaison officer to General Giuseppe Garibaldi, representing the French government and the Army of the Vosges. In 1875, he joined the Freemasons Lodge Alsace-Lorraine in Paris. In 1871, he made his first trip to the United States, to select the site for the Statue of Liberty, the creation of which would occupy him after 1875.

On December 15, 1875, Bartholdi married Jeanne-Emilie Baheux Puysieux in Newport, Rhode Island. They had no children.


Bartholdi was one of the French commissioners in 1876 to the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. There he exhibited bronze statues of “The Young Vine-Grower”, “Génie Funèbre”, “Peace” and “Genius in the Grasp of Misery”, for which he received a bronze medal.

Bartholdi, who received the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1886, died of tuberculosis in Paris on 4 October 1904.