The only replica of the original Statue of Liberty sculpture in America has been acquired by Leonard Stern.
The veteran property owner and developer unveiled the statue along with French Ambassador Francois Delattre and Commissioner Marjorie B. Tiven of the New York City Mayor’s Office last week in a public plaza at 667 Madison Avenue, where it will be permanently displayed.
For more than 100 years, the original Statue of Liberty plaster sculpture by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi resided in a small French museum and could not be reproduced for fear that it would be damaged in the process.
New digital imaging technology recently made it possible to cast the original plaster model in bronze by the same foundry and using the same lost wax method as the 151-foot Statue in New York Harbor.
The Statue of Liberty is celebrating its 125th anniversary, but will be closed for repairs for one year beginning this November.
The 667 Madison Statue will be lit 24-hours a day and provide an opportunity to see the ornate details of the original from a close-in perspective impossible to achieve from Liberty Island.
The unveiling holds personal significance to the Stern family, as Leonard recalls his father Max telling him of his thought when he first entered New York Harbor, looking at Lady Liberty from the bow of the Hamburg American Line ship on which he emigrated: “Now I am going to be free to achieve as much as I am able.”
The tony boutique office building 667 Madison is already home to several important works of art, including a 17th Century Gobelin tapestry and three suits of armor form the 16th century.
The Statue will include a plaque that reads: “This statue, cast in bronze from the from the original plaster sculpture, was enlarged 16 times by the artist to create. The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, perhaps the most recognized symbol of freedom in the world.
“It was presented as a gift to the American people and paid for by the citizens of France. The statue celebrates the core values of both countries: freedom, democratic government and the equality of man. It also celebrates the bonds of friendship between our two countries and the vital financial and military assistance that France gave our Revolutionary Army commanded by George Washington during our young nation’s hour of greatest need.”