Frederick William MacMonnies (1863-1937)
Property from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Graham Gund
Frederick William MacMonnies (1863-1937)

'Nathan Hale'

Frederick William MacMonnies (1863-1937)
'Nathan Hale'
inscribed 'F MacMonnies 1890' and 'H. ROUARD Fondeur Paris' and stamped 'MADE IN FRANCE' (along the base)
bronze with brown patina
28 in. (71.1 cm.) high
By descent to the present owner.
L. Taft, The History of American Sculpture, New York, 1903, pp. 336, 339, pl. X, another example illustrated.
W. Craven, Sculpture in America, New York, 1968, p. 456, another example illustrated.
F. Fried, New York Civic Sculpture: A Pictorial Guide, New York, 1976, p. 13, another example illustrated.
J. Conner and J. Rosenkranz, Rediscoveries in American Sculpture: Studio Works, 1893-1939, Austin, Texas, 1989, p 126, 128, 129, another example illustrated.
M. Smart, A Flight with Fame: The Life and Art of Frederick MacMonnies (1863-1937), Madison, Connecticut, 1996, pp. 64, 85-9, 91, 99, 102-5, 116, 136-37, 157, 188, 201, 210, 256, 270, other examples illustrated.
T. Tolles, ed., American Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born before 1865, vol. I, New York, 1999, pp. 434-36, another example illustrated.

Lot Essay

Nathan Hale was a captain during the American Revolution who was executed by the British in New York in 1776. His now famous, final words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." In 1889, Frederick W. MacMonnies was invited by the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution to compete for a statue commission of Nathan Hale to be placed in City Hall Park, Manhattan, New York. He was to submit a three foot plaster model adhering to the following guidelines, "a well-built young man of American type, dressed in simple costume of the end of the last the moment immediately preceding his execution by the British." (M. Smart, A Flight with Fame: The Life and Art of Frederick MacMonnies, Madison, Connecticut, 1996, p. 86) As no portrait of Hale is known to exist, MacMonnies was left to his creative devices to render an image of the national hero. He chose to present him as an idealized, defiant figure. MacMonnies won the competition and produced an approximately 8 feet tall bronze. The present work is one of several reduced size models that MacMonnies produced.

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