A torch of fate
You may know some of these amazing facts about the Statue of Liberty, but you may not know that the sculpture almost found a home in Egypt back in the mid-1800s. Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor who designed Lady Liberty, set his plans on sculpting an incredible lighthouse for the Suez Canal. According to the National Park Service, Bartholdi had already completed his creative vision of a robed woman holding a torch—which he called Egypt (or Progress) Brings Light to Asia, before the Egyptian government rebuffed their deal. Fortunately, Bartholdi found a new home for the statue in New York Harbor. He named her “Liberty Enlightening the World,” and she was unveiled by President Cleveland in 1886. Lady Liberty may have almost had a different home, but these iconic American landmarks almost had completely different looks.
Although this fiery hue has been used as a sign of power or good luck, it was not a celebrated shade for the Guggenheim Museum landmark, according to some of its toughest critics. In a New York Times article, Hilla Rebay, the art adviser to Solomon R. Guggenheim, approached architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a museum, but when he voiced his vision to create the museum exterior with red-marble and long-slim pottery red bricks, Rebay rejected his plan. According to sources, Rebay told Wright in a 1945 letter, “Red is a color which displeases S. R. G. as much as it does me.” Ouch! The Guggenheim has gone through a series of renovations and color refreshers since then, but it has never been any shade of red.