Gourin: The American capital of Brittany
Gourin and the surrounding towns in the Morbihan have a strong connection to the United States as the region was part of the largest story of emigration in Western France over the last 120 years. Over 100,000 Bretons from the area crossed the Atlantic in search of the America dream with numbers peaking between 1950-1960. For many newcomers to Gourin the memories of this American history and connection were fading at the same rate as a small resin Statue of Liberty that no longer could weather the Breton winters. This original resin statue had been given by Air France to the city in 1986. In 2019, a crowdfunding campaign on Kengo was launched to finance a new bronze version of Lady Liberty that would renew Gourin’s reputation as the American capital of Brittany. Over 300 donors generously participated in financing the 70k euros needed to caste a bronze statue of America’s greatest symbol of democracy, justice, freedom and friendship with France.
June 24, 2020, Gourin
Installation of this bronze statue of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
National Museums and Chapon Foundry
The making of the statue was supervised by the Louvre and National Museums molding workshop (stamp on the back of the plinth, right). The statue which stands on the Place de la Victoire de Gourin was cast in 2020 by the Foundry Chapon de Bobigny (stamp on the back of the plinth, on the left). This project was started thanks to a partnership between Bretagne TransAmerica and the town of Gourin.
Reproduction of the statue from the Orsay museum
The Gourinoise statue is an identical reproduction of the Statue of Liberty from the Orsay Museum in Paris, 2.90 m high. That one, donated by Bartholdi in 1889, was installed in the Jardin du Luxembourg in 1906. It was moved to the Orsay Museum in 2012 and replaced by a copy.
November 15, 1889, Paris
Date inscribed on the tablet of the Gourinoise statue. It recalls the day of the inauguration of the Statue of Liberty on Île aux Cygnes in Paris (11.50 m high), cast by the famous Thiébaut Frères Foundry (stamp on the plinth, left side). It was offered by French citizens living in the USA, as part of the centenary of the American Revolution, on the occasion of the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris.
October 28, 1886, New York
Inauguration of the New York Statue of Liberty. Donated to the USA thanks to funds raised by the French people, it symbolizes the friendship between the two countries and a desire to magnify freedom, expressed, at her feet, by the broken chains of slavery.
On the tablet of the New York monument, we can read “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), date of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.