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Nathan Hale

Frederick William MacMonnies

American Art

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 patriot Nathan Hale for Manhattan's City Hall Park. They required that it 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."

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 not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 1995.63
EDITION 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
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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 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1995.63_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1995.63_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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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.
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