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Hold Your Hats! It's Art, by George

December 15, 1987|Associated Press

CHICOPEE, Mass. — A plaster bust of George Washington that occasionally served as a hatrack at the city library is now believed to be the work of one of the nation's leading sculptors, officials said.

The bust appears to be the original working model for the sculpture by 19th-Century artist Hiram Powers that is on permanent display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

An appraiser at Christie's fine art auction house in New York said the model could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Reference librarian Annette Dulude said she at first believed the bust was the work of Horatio Greenough, known for his seated figure of Washington at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, but a Greenough expert told her it was probably by Powers. Dulude said the bust occasionally held the hats of visitors.

A researcher at the Metropolitan Museum said the bust appeared to be the work of Powers, and his appraisal was confirmed by a Christie's expert.

The auction house recently sold a replica of Powers' "Greek Slave" statue for $240,000.

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