Object w/ mount: 62.9 x 65.1 x 36.8cm (24 3/4 x 25 5/8 x 14 1/2")
Socle footprint: 65.1 x 36.8cm (25 5/8 x 14 1/2")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of David F. Dykaar, 1929
Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell studied speech from an early age. While trying to improve the telegraph, Bell discovered that the voice could be transformed into electric current and transmitted over a wire. He exhibited his telephone at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, where the startled emperor of Brazil exclaimed, "I hear, I hear!" Bell's invention revolutionized communication, leading to the establishment of the Bell Telephone Company. Upon learning of the inventor's death, his friend and competitor Thomas Edison observed: "[he] brought the human family in closer touch."
On loan from the artist and after his death in 1933, from his estate, 1926-1968; gift of artist’s son, David E. Dykaar to the National Collection of Fine Arts (now Smithsonian American Art Museum) 1968; transferred to NPG 1969