A Monument to Frédéric Bastiat (1878)

A monument erected in memory of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) in Mugron (1878); partly destroyed by the Nazis in 1942
[Gabriel-Vital Dubray, "Frédéric Bastiat" (1878)]

This engraving from the magazine Le Monde illustré appeared shortly after the inauguration of the monument in Mugron on 23 April 1878 and accompanied a report of the event. The well-known sculptor Gabriel-Vital Dubray (1813-1892) had been commissioned to design and create the monument. As the engraving above indicates, Dubray created an elaborate monument with the classical figure of "Fame" leaning against the pedestal and writing with her pen the titles of the three books for which Bastiat was best remembered and for which he deserved to be famous: the work in which he first introduced the French to the ideas on free trade of Richard Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law League Cobden and the League (1845), his best selling collection of witty and clever articles debunking the economic myths of the protectionists Economic Sophisms (1845, 1848), and his incomplete magnum opus on economic theory Economic Harmonies (1850). In 1942 during the occupation of France by the Nazis any statues containing bronze were seized and broken up for their metal content. This was the unfortunate fate of the Bastiat monument - the bust of Bastiat and the figure of Fame were taken for scrap for war matériel. The bust could be reconstituted after the war because the original mold had survived, but the figure of Fame was lost forever. It is both sad and ironic that this would be the fate of Bastiat's monument as Bastiat had dedicated himself to the cause of peace and opposition to war as his writings and his participation in the Peace Congresses of the late 1840s attest. [More]
[See other works by Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)]