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Frederick MacMonnies Portrait

Frederick MacMonnies

Also Known as: Frederick William MacMonnies, Frederick W. MacMonnies

New York, New York 1863

New York, New York 1937

Active in:

  • Giverny-par-Vernon, France

Photo Caption:
Frederick MacMonnies, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001962


Sculptor. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was a skilled carver who, by the age of 18, was invited to work in Augustus Saint-Gaudens' studio. One of his numerous public commissions was Baccante and Infant Faun (1893) for the Boston Public Library; the sculpture became a cause célèbre when citizens objected to its nudity and demanded its removal.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Frederick MacMonnies was one of the most prolific American sculptors of his generation. He grew up in Brooklyn, and at seventeen began a four-year apprenticeship with the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In two years he was promoted to assistant, and Saint-Gaudens encouraged him to go to Paris, where he studied at the Académie Colarossi and the École des Beaux-Arts. His success in Paris led to many commissions in America, particularly for his popular fountain sculptures. But because of the controversy that his nudes created, he stopped doing public work and focused on private portraits, reliefs, and oil painting for the remainder of his career. Although he was a smart businessman, MacMonnies suffered from the stock market crash of 1929 and died in relative obscurity eight years later.