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Young Faun with Heron

On view

Young Faun with Heron

Artist: Frederick William MacMonnies (American, 1863 - 1937)

Date: 1894
Medium: Cast bronze
Dimensions:
Overall: 27 1/4 x 15 x 12in. (69.2 x 38.1 x 30.5cm)
Signed: Front of base: 'Frederick MacMonnies / copyright 1894 Paris 1890' On back of base: 'E. Gruet / Jeune / Fondeur'
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 93.22
Label Text
MacMonnies was commmissioned in 1887-88 by the architect Stanford White (1853-1906) to design this lively and lighthearted composition for a fountain niche at Naumkeag, the "shingle style" summer home White designed in the mid-1880s for Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph H. Choate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In modeling the original clay version in Paris around 1889-90 MacMonnies effectively contrasted the rough texture of the oversized heron's wings with the boy's smooth, supple skin. The figure's sinuous pose and slightly erotic display of youthful, supple flesh recalls the Italian Renaissance sculptor Donatello's (1382/86-1466) famous bronze "David" (ca. 1430-32, National Museum, Florence).

MacMonnies exhibited plaster version of the sculpture in Paris in 1890. Soon thereafter the nearly lifesize bronze version was shipped to Naumkeag where it remains to this day. In 1890 the artist also engaged the French foundry, of E. Gruet Jeune to produce smaller bronze copies of the work that could be sold to the public in retail establishments. The copyright mark on the Museum's cast suggests it was made by Gruet sometime after 1894. Similiarly-sized casting also were made in Paris by Jaboeuf and Rouard and, in New York City, by the Roman Bronze Works. These retail castings, which were apparently produced in an unlimited edition, provided considerable income for MacMonnies over the years.

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MacMonnies was commissioned in 1887-88 by the American architect Stanford White (1853-1906) to design this lighthearted sculpture for a fountain niche at Naumkeag, the "shingle style" summer home White designed in the mid-1880s for Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph H. Choate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In modeling the original clay version in Paris in 1889-90 MacMonnies effectively contrasted the rough texture of the oversized heron's feathers with the smooth supple skin of the young boy. The figure's sinuous pose recalls the Italian Renaissance sculptor Donatello's (1382/86-1466) bronze "David" (ca. 1430-32, National Museum, Florence).

A plaster version of MacMonnies' sculpture was exhibited in Paris in 1890 and soon thereafter the nearly life-sized bronze version was shipped to Naumkeag where it has has remained and is now displayed in the "Afternoon Garden." In 1890 MacMonnies engaged the French foundry of E. Gruet Jeune to begin producing smaller bronze "reduction" copies of the work for the retail trade. The copyright inscription on the Museum's casting suggests that it was made by Gruet sometime after 1894. Other, similarly sized castings were made in Paris by Jaboeuf and Rouard and, in New York City by the Roman Bronze Works. Over the years these statuettes generated considerable income for MacMonnies.

PDS
April 2005
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions.