Nathan Hale

Frederick William MacMonnies American
Cast by E. Gruet French

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.

Nathan Hale, Frederick William MacMonnies (American, New York 1863–1937 New York), Bronze, American

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