Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Nathan Hale

Artist:
Frederick William MacMonnies (American, New York 1863–1937 New York)
Date:
1890, cast by 1904
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
28 x 7 3/4 x 6 in. (71.1 x 19.7 x 15.2 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Bequest of Mary Stillman Harkness, 1950
Accession Number:
50.145.38
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 770
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 •
Mary Stillman Harkness, New York, until d. 1950
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