Liberty Enlightening the World Lithograph and Inauguration of the Statue of Liberty Invitation, Circa 1883

This collage features an 1883 lithograph of the soon-to-be completed Statue of Liberty and her pedestal. Underneath the lithograph is an invitation to the inauguration of the statue, dated October 28, 1886. On either side are published early comparisons of the statue’s height to other nations’ monuments around the world. This collage is beautifully presented and protected in an archival frame and mat.

This lithograph was produced two years before the Statue of Liberty had even arrived in New York City. In 1885, the statue was dismantled in Paris and crated aboard the French Military Frigate the Isere for arrival in the United States. Construction of the statue's pedestal and assembly was finally completed in 1886. The printing of this lithograph was sponsored by the Travelers Insurance Agency, located in Hartford, Connecticut. The print was designed to be placed in schools across America for informational purposes, though it may not have attained widespread production, as few examples survive today.

Officially named “Liberty Enlightening the World” by the artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the statue originally symbolized the everlasting friendship between the United States and France that began during the American Revolution. Funding for the statue was a joint effort between the U.S. and France. France was responsible for the production of the figure of Liberty and transporting it to New York while America funded the construction of a grand pedestal. Bartholdi based the face of Liberty on his own mother and placed a tablet in her hands. It reads, “July 4, 1776” to represent the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress. Liberty’s crown has seven spikes to signify not just the seven continents but the seven seas as well, intending freedom to spread across the world.

Originally the statue and pedestal were meant to be completed by 1876, in time for the centennial of the birth of the U.S., however financial limitations set both France and America back a decade. Eventually, on 28 October 1886, President Grover Cleveland held an inauguration for “Liberty Enlightening the World” on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. Invitations such as the one presented here were gifted by the White House to celebrate the long-awaited symbol to officially be dedicated. And reads, “You are invited to be present on the occasion of the inauguration by the President of the United States of the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, on Bedloe’s Island, New York Harbor, on Thursday, October 28, 1886.”

As time passed, however, Lady Liberty came to represent much more than a symbol of friendship, promising freedom, democracy, and opportunity to immigrants coming through Ellis Island. Today, the Statue of Liberty remains one of the most iconic monuments in the world.


Overall very good condition. The 1883 engraving has one crease at the bottom right and some discoloration from age. Otherwise, the engraving has no tears, loss, and the writing is clearly legible. The invitation has no notable damage and has clear, dark ink. The two comparison elements are slightly discolored and have some creasing. The collage has been framed according to archival standards with UV protective plexiglass to protect the pieces from future damage.

Framed dimensions: 58" H x 30" W x 2" D

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