In 1890 MacMonnies won a competition for a statue of Nathan Hale (1755–1776), the Revolutionary War hero who was captured infiltrating British lines and hanged as a spy. The bronze was erected in Manhattan’s City Hall Park in 1893. MacMonnies had no images of Hale to consult, so he portrayed him as a quintessential American patriot. Hale appears moments before his execution on September 22, 1776, having just uttered his famous words, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” He is clothed as a schoolmaster, which was his actual profession; his bound arms and feet are somber reminders of his impending fate.
Signature: [top of base, right]: [cursive] F. MacMonnies 1890
Marking: [foundry mark, back of base, stamped]: E. GRUET / JEUNE / FONDEUR / 44 bis AVENUE DE CHATILLON • PARIS •