Frederick William MacMonnies (American, New York 1863–1937 New York)
1895–96, cast 1901
29 3/4 x 23 1/2 x 13 3/4 in. (75.6 x 59.7 x 34.9 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1922
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700
MacMonnies’s best groups have an exuberance resulting from his affinity for contemporary sculpture in France, where he spent much of his career. Modeled in Paris, “Boy and Duck” depicts a laughing boy delighted at having captured a prize duck. When the work is installed as a fountain, the duck and ducklings spout water from their open beaks, and the implied noise and confusion of the moment are vividly evoked. The theme of a nude boy struggling with a feisty animal dates back to ancient works of art, some of which MacMonnies had admired on a trip to Italy in 1894. The tradition was revived in Italian Renaissance art and carried further in nineteenth-century French and American sculpture.