Artist Name

birth9/28/1863 in Brooklyn Heights, NYPicture of MacMonnies
death3/22/1937 in New York, NY
parentsWilliam and Juliana Eudora West MacMonnies
educationNational Academy of Design
Art Students League of New York
Ecole des Beaux Arts
awardsNational Academy of Design (1884)
Prix d'Atelier (1886)
Honorable Mention, Paris Salon (1889)
Second Medal, Paris Salon (1891)
First Class Medal, Antwerp Salon (1894)
Grand Prix of Honor, Paris Exposition (1900)

Frederick William MacMonnies, sculptor and painter, was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., September 20, 1863, the son of William and Juliana Eudora (West) MacMonnies. His ancestors were natives of Dumfries, Scotland. The name is an old Galloway name, also spelled MacMunzies (pronounced (MacMunyies), and the family is credited as a sept of Clan Menzies. His mother was a niece of the painter, Benjamin West.

Mr. MacMonnies was admitted to the studio of Augustus Saint Gandens in 1880, where he worked for four years; studying at night in the life classes of the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League, New York. He completed his art education abroad at Munich and in the atelier of Falguière, in the École des Beaux-Arts, also in his private studio with Antonin Mercie. He received the first prize at the National Academy of Design, 1884, and the Prix d'Atelier, the highest prize opened to foreigners, 1886, and in 1887 established his own studio in Paris. From then on he resided in Paris with the exception of occasional visits to the United States. He received Honorable Mention for his first figure of Diana, Paris Salon, 1889; Second Medal, Salon 1891, for statues of Nathan Hale, and James Samuel Thomas Stranahan ; First Class Gold Medal, Antwerp, 1894; Grand Prize of Honor, Paris Exposition, 1900; also First Medals at expositions at Atlanta, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Boston: for painting, Honourable Mention, Paris Salon, 1902; Third Medal, 1904. He was decorated Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by the French Government, 1896; Chevalier of the Order of St. Michael of Bavaria, Munich, 1897; and was a member of the National Academy, 1906, American Academy, 1915, National Institute of Arts and Letters, National Sculpture Society, Architectural League, and many clubs and organizations.

After the death of Saint Gaudens, Mr. MacMonnies ranked as America'‘s first living sculptor. His reputation abroad was equal to or even greater than that acknowledged him at home. His conceptions were always delicate and refined. MacMonnies’' principal works are: three life size bronze angels at St. Paul'’s Church, New York, 1899; Nathan Hale, City Hall Park, New York, 1891; James Samuel Thomas Stranahan, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 1891; Pau of Rohallion, 1890; Faun with Heron, 1892; Sir Henry Vane, Boston Public Library, 1893; Colossal Fountain, World’'s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893; Bacchante with Infant Faun, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Luxembourg Gallery, Paris, 1894; two pediments Bow-cry Bank, New York, 1894; four spandrils Washington Arch, New York, 1894; Venus and Adonis, 1895;. Cupid, 1895; figure of Victory for bronze doors and statue of Shakespeare, Congressional Library, Washington, D. C., 1898; Army and Navy groups and bronze quadriga for Soldiers and Sailors Arch, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 1900; two groups of horses, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 1900; equestrian statue of General Slocum, Brooklyn, 1900; equestrian statuette of Theodore Roosevelt, 1905; equestrian statue of General G. B. McClellan, Washington, 1906; two fountains, Knickerbocker Hotel, New York, 1906; Pioneer Monument, Denver; marble portrait group for George J. Gould, Esq., 1906; bronze group, Fax Victrix, 1906; statues of Inspiration and Philosophy, New York Public Library, 1915. In later years he devoted himself chiefly to painting, in which he achieved marked success.

Mr. MacMonnies married in Paris, September 30, 1888, Mary Fairchild. He married in Lucerne, Switzerland, March 23, 1910, Miss Alice Jones, daughter of John P. Jones. He had two daughters.

Frederick William MacMonnies died of pneumonia in 1937, aged 73.


Sourced from Electric Scotland, Scots and Scots Descendant in America

You can click on the medals to see the reverse.

Charles A. Lindbergh 1931
by Frederick William MacMonnies

This medal was chosen as the fourth issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1931. The obverse bears a likeness of Charles Lindbergh wearing flight gear, goggles dangling over his chest, with the inscription "CHARLES AUGUSTUS LINDBERGH" and Frederick MacMonnies' monogram FM / 1931 / ©

The reverse bears an allegorical scene together with the inscription "LONE EAGLE."

Lindbergh's non-stop transatlantic flight from Long Island to Paris took place between May 20th and 21st 1927. Not only did he win $25,000 in prize money for the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris, he also captivated the imagination of an entire generation. Upon his arrival at the airfield of Le Bourget, just outside of Paris, a 100,000 strong crowd gave him a hero's welcome. His achievement was commemorated in countless stamps, medals, and commemorative issues of all kinds.

MacMonnies created this medal four years after the flight and late in his career. He tried to convey Lindbergh' spirit and courage on the obverse. LindberghIn MacMonnies' own words:

"To attempt to commemorate Lindbergh's mighty achievement within the tiny compass of a three inch medal is preposterous, and if one does not succeed in represeting even a faint suggestion if the sublime courage that faced appaling odds - the fascinating problem is compensation enough. In the head of Lindbergh I have tried to catch something of the inner belief and nobility of vision of the boy, together with the experience of the master airman."

MacMonnies likely based his obverse design on the iconic photo of Lindbergh shown here.

Struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York, this medal measures 73mm in diameter. The reported production quantity is 1,989 in bronze and 250 in silver though there were two additional 32mm-diameter editions in bronze and silver.

References: Marqusee 249

73.0mm (2.87in)
73.0mm (2.87in)
73.0mm (2.87in)
Glossy ebony brown patina
32.0mm (1.26in)
Golden bronze with tan patina
BRONZE (c) FW 1977A
M mintmark
73.0mm (2.87in)
32.0mm (1.26in)
SOM-4 Romance Brochure #1 SOM-4 Romance Brochure #2 SOM-4 Romance Brochure #3
  • Statue of Diana

    Diana (1889)

    The sculpture depicts the Roman goddess of the hunt in mid-stride, balanced on the ball of her right foot apparently having just released an arrow from the bow she is holding in her left hand. In her hair she wears her attribute, the crescent, signifying her role as goddess of the moon. The image is from a casting that is located in the De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA.

    A larger and uncropped version of this image is available at Wikipedia.

  • Statue of Nathan Hale

    Nathan Hale (1890)

    Nathan Hale was a Captain in George Washington's army during th Revolutionary War. He volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission into British-controlled New York City, where he was captured and sentenced to death. He was the first American to be executed by the British for spying on behalf of his country. He is famous for his last words: "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."

    The original of this statue is in City Hall Park in New York City but many copies exist in other locations. The image is from a model that is located in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

    A larger version of this image is available at Wikipedia.

  • Statue of James Samuel Thomas Stranahan

    James S. T. Stranahan (1891)

    Stranahan was a member of congress, President of the Brooklyn Park Commission, trustee and President of the Brooklyn Bridge Company and promoter of Brooklyn's consolidation with New York.

    This statue is located in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY.

    Original image from Wikipedia.

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Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.

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