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Seeing America

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Nathan Hale (1755 - 1776)

1890
28 3/8 x 9 1/2 x 5 13/16 in. (72.1 x 24.1 x 14.8 cm)

Frederick W. MacMonnies
American (Brooklyn, NY, 1863 - 1937, New York, NY)

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Bronze
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1986.4
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

In the final decades of the nineteenth century, representations of the American Revolution and its heroes were romanticized. Here, Frederick MacMonnies depicts doomed patriot Nathan Hale (1755 – 1776) moments before his execution by the British as punishment for spying. Hale’s ruffled shirt hangs dramatically open, framing and exposing his bare chest and neck, soon to hold the hangman’s noose. With his arms tied back at the elbow, Hale’s hands are left free to gesture as he uttered his famous last words, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

[Gallery label text, 2010]

Marks
Artist's signature, right side of base: F MacMonnies 1890

Foundry mark, top of base, on left: JA BOEUF 7 ROUARD
FONDEURS A PARIS/R. DE L'ASILE POPINCOURT


Provenance
Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1938; Private Collection; Graham Gallery, New York; purchased by the Gallery in 1986

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Web Links See links to web pages and lesson plans
Seeing America Inservice Materials from a teacher in-service presentation Spring 2008
Seeing America Chapter on Frederick W. MacMonnies' Nathan Hale, written by Christopher Clarke.


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