Collections: American Art: Nathan Hale

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    Nathan Hale

    At at time when many groups were laying claim to the colonial past, Frederick MacMonnies was commissioned by the Sons of the American Revolution to create a sculpture of the American Revolution to create a sculpture of the American patriot Nathan Hale for Manhattan's City Hall Park. They required that is represent "a well-built man of American type, dressed in a simple costume of the end of the last Century . . . at the moment immediately preceding his execution by the British."

    MacMonnies researched the life of Hale, a young schoolteacher who infiltrated British camps in occupied Brooklyn and New York, and he was determined to produce a forceful memorial for an increasingly diverse urban audience: "I wanted to make something that would set the bootblacks and little clerks around there thinking something that would make them want to be somebody and find life worth living."

    • Artist: Frederick William MacMonnies, American, 1863-1937
    • Medium: Bronze
    • Dates: 1890
    • Dimensions: 28 3/4 x 10 x 7 in. (73 x 25.4 x 17.8 cm)  (show scale)
    • Signature: Inscribed on proper left side of base, in script: "F. MacMonnies 1890"
    • Collections:American Art
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Centennial Era, 5th Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 1995.63
    • Edition: Foundry original
    • Credit Line: Purchased with funds given by Sol Schreiber in memory of Ann Schreiber and the Hannah and Leonard Stone Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Frederick William MacMonnies (American, 1863-1937). Nathan Hale, 1890. Bronze, 28 3/4 x 10 x 7 in. (73 x 25.4 x 17.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Sol Schreiber in memory of Ann Schreiber and the Hannah and Leonard Stone Fund, 1995.63. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 1995.63_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Statuette of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale. Male figure standing on low rectangular base, gazing proudly to proper right; arms and feet bound with rope; wears long coat, vest, loose shirt with ruffled collar, breeches, and stockings; wavy hair tied into ponytail with ribbon. Statuette has extrusion posts protruding from cuffs, indicating that it is a founder's original. Condition: Good, dark green-brown patina.
    • Record Completeness: Best (84%)
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