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New York 22, N.Y.
April 4, 1962

My dear Sir:
This is but an exploratory letter to inquire whether the Ford Foundation would be interested in helping to publish a catalogue raisonné in three volumes of the oeuvre of Jean-Antoine HOUDON, the foremost French sculptor of the 18th century, by Professor Louis REAU, Membre de l'Institut of France. Thus far, no such work has ever been undertaken.

As you well know, HOUDON executed the full length marble statue of George Washington in Richmond, as well as the bust of Benjamin Franklin, among other leading American historical figures.

Louis REAU, who for many years had been professor at the Ecole du Louvre and had also been head of the French Institutes in St. Petersburg and in Vienna, wrote many reference books of great merit (the list of these would be too long to be included herein) among them, books on two other important sculptors of the 18th century - FALCONET and LEMOYNE - sculpture, having been a field particularly dear to him.

Professor Louis REAU had worked practically all his life on this opus on HOUDON, and completed it just a short time before his death, last year. Several French publishers have, I understand, already pledged themselves but further financial support would be necessary to carry out this project.

Should such an undertaking hold your attention, I would immediately communicate to you the letter I received from Mme. Réau - widow of the art historian - because of the friendly relationship which had always existed between her husband and me, which letter would give you further indications and allow you to correspond directly with her.

You will realize of course that I have no personal interest in this matter, only a desire to at last see a scientific catalogue raisonné published of the great Houdon's oeuvre - badly needed - and thus also to give life to the valuable work Louis Réau, with love and devotion, gave his time, efforts and years.

Trusting I may hear from you,
Sincerely yours,
Germain Seligman

Mr. William McNeil Lowry
Director of the Departments
of Humanities and the Arts
The Ford Foundation
477 Madison Avenue
New York 22, N.Y.

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