Frederick William MacMonnies
He is credited with about a dozen public monuments in New York, most notably the three statuary groupings (“Quadriga” on top of the arch, the “Spirit of the Army” on the left leg, and the “Spirit of the Navy” on the right) on the Soldiers and Sailors Arch in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza.
He also is credited with the monument to the Civil War general Henry Warner Slocum, also in Grand Army Plaza; the statue of James S. T. Stranahan in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park; and the statue of Nathan Hale in Manhattan’s City Hall Park.
A story in the July 7, 1900, editions of The Times hints that MacMonnies must have had a nervous breakdown around that time. The story reports that he was planning to return to America from France for “a much-needed rest.” The idea of a collapse is introduced with cunning obliqueness in the story’s final paragraph. After listing more than a dozen sculptures MacMonnies had completed during the previous decade, the reporter, John W. Wallace, who had not mentioned a breakdown in the story to that point, writes:
All sorts of silly stories have been circulated by pretended friends of Mr. MacMonnies, attributing his breakdown to cigarettes, &c. The story of his breakdown is easily read in the foregoing list of what he as done since 1890, and is, of course, the only true one.
MacMonnies was born on Sept. 28, 1863, in Brooklyn Heights, and died on March 22, 1937, in New York City. He was the first American to earn a gold medal at the Paris Salon.