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Frederick William MacMonnies papers

MacMonnies, Frederick William, 1863-1937  Search this
Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (France) -- Students  Search this
World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Barnard, George Grey, 1863-1938  Search this
Bion, Paul  Search this
Booth, Edwin, 1833-1893  Search this
Flanagan, John F., 1865-1952  Search this
MacMonnies, Alice  Search this
MacMonnies, Berthe  Search this
MacMonnies, Betty  Search this
MacMonnies, Marjorie  Search this
MacMonnies, Mary Fairchild, 1858-1946  Search this
McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885  Search this
Smart, Mary, 1915-  Search this
White, Stanford, 1853-1906  Search this
7 Linear feet
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
The papers of sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies date from 1874 to 1997 and measure 7.0 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material, a diary, correspondence, personal business records, project files, two sketchbooks and sketches, writings, printed material, and photographs. Well over one-half of the collection consists of Mary Smart's research files for her biography of MacMonnies, A Flight with Fame, as well as clippings regarding her research and a copy of the book.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies date from 1874 to 1997 and measure 7.0 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material, a diary, correspondence, personal business records, project files, two sketchbooks and sketches, writings, printed material, and photographs. Well over one-half of the collection consists of Mary Smart's research files for her biography of MacMonnies, A Flight with Fame, as well as clippings regarding her research and a copy of the book.

Biographical material consists of a student card to the École des Beaux-Arts, a certificate of registration as an American Citizen, the wills of MacMonnies and his second wife, Alice, and a biographical note by Alice MacMonnies.

The most significant item in the collection is MacMonnies' diary that documents his first voyage to Europe where he was anxious to pursue his studies in sculpture. His well-described activities during his first year of study in Paris, Munich, and in Italy illustrate the excitement and challenges faced by serious art students in the mid-1880s.

Correspondence includes letters exchanged between MacMonnies and colleagues including George Grey Barnard, Paul Bion, and John Flanagan. There are also letters from MacMonnies to his second wife Alice and to his daughters, Berthe Helene (Betty) and Marjorie MacMonnies.

Personal business records include deeds for land in Long Island, New York, certificates of copyright for MacMonnies' art work, and a rental agreement for and inventory of MacMonnies' studio in Giverny, France.

Project files are found for the Fountain Barge of State at World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and other sculpture pieces. There is also a sheet of preliminary sketches for the statue General George B. McClellan.

Art work consists of two sketchbooks, drawings, and plaster casts of sketches for planned sculpture projects for the New York Public Library, a memorial statue for Edwin Booth, and a drinking fountain.

Writings include a manuscript by MacMonnies concerning the adverse effects modernity was having on beauty in art, a typescript concerning George Grey Barnard's statue of Lincoln, and memoirs by Mary Fairchild MacMonnies Low in which she describes her early life, her first encounter with MacMonnies, and their life together in Paris and Giverny, including a visit from Stanford White and his wife.

Well over one-half of the collection consists of Mary Smart's research files for her biography of MacMonnies, A Flight with Fame. Printed material includes clippings and a copy of Mary Smart's book.

Photographs are of Frederick MacMonnies, family members, his studio, a horse used as a model for The Horse Tamers, and art work.
The collection is arranged as 10 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1884-1921 (Box 1; 5 folders)

Series 2: Diary, 1884-1885 (Box 9; 1 folder)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1880-1971 (Box 1; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1874-1931 (Box 1; 6 folders)

Series 5: Project Files, 1891-1935 (Box 1, 9-10; 27 folders)

Series 6: Art Work, 1910-1914 (Box 1, 8-9; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 7: Writings, 1912-1917 (Box 2; 12 folders)

Series 8: Mary Smart's Research Files, 1908-1997 (Box 2-6, 9; 4.2 linear feet)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1896-1996 (Box 6-7; 13 folders)

Series 10: Photographs, 1889-1911 (Box 7, 9; 8 folders)
Biographical Note:
Frederick William MacMonnies (1863-1937) of New York City, was a well known sculptor of the Beaux-Arts School, equally successful in France as in the United States. He was also a highly accomplished painter and portraitist.

Frederick William MacMonnies was born on September 28, 1863 in Brooklyn Heights, New York, the son of Juliana Eudora West and William MacMonnies. From an early age, MacMonnies showed skill in fashioning figures from wax. Because the Civil War put an end to his father's prosperous importing business, MacMonnies had to leave school at a young age in order to earn money to support the family.

With the help of a stone carver friend of his father, MacMonnies became a studio assistant to Augustus Stint-Gaudens in 1880. MacMonnies also studied at night at Cooper Union. In 1882 Saint-Gaudens promoted MacMonnies to apprentice and encouraged his development as an artist. MacMonnies began studying drawing at the National Academy of Design and occasionally attended classes at the Art Students League. It was during this time that he became better acquainted with Saint-Gaudens' important patrons and colleagues including John LaFarge, Charles F. McKim, Stanford White.

In 1884 MacMonnies left for Paris to study first at the Académie Colarossi and later at the École des Beaux-Arts under Jean Alexandre Falguière. In 1888 he opened a studio in Paris where he mentored artists including Janet Scudder and Mary Foote. He married a fellow artist, Mary Louise Fairchild in 1888. They had two daughters, Berthe Hélène and Marjorie. They were divorced in 1909, and Mary married painter Will Hicok Low later that year. MacMonnies married his former student Alice Jones in 1910.

MacMonnies executed commissions for Stanford White and John La Farge. In 1889, he won a competition to complete a statue of Nathan Hale for City Hall Park. He won a medal in the Paris Salon for his statue of Hale and a second medal for his statue of James T. Stranahan, earning status as a master artist. In 1891, he was commissioned to produce the central fountain for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Even though MacMonnies travelled annually to the United States, he maintained his primary residences and studios in Paris and Giverny, France. He was also an occasional painter and had a solo exhibition at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in the United States in 1903. In 1905 his Bacchante and Infant Faun statue became the center of controversy when it was rejected by conservative groups in Boston. It was later acquired by the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. In 1915 he returned permanently to the United States.

MacMonnies was an Academician of the National Academy of Design, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France and hors concours at the Paris Salon allowing him to submit works directly to the Salon without initial scrutiny by judges.

Frederick William MacMonnies died of pneumonia on March 22, 1937 in New York City.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are four letters from MacMonnies to Allan Marquand cataloged separately, and a typescript "The Form of the Princeton Monument" lent by Elric Endersby in 1976 and microfilmed on reel 1094.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reels D245 and 3042) including five scrapbooks and letters from Augustus Saint-Gaudens to MacMonnies. Lent materials were returned to the lenders and are not described in the collection container inventory.
The bulk of Frederick William MacMonnies papers were donated by the artist's granddaughters Louise Wysong Rice and Marjorie Vander Velde in 1988 and 1998. Some, but not all, of the papers were originally loaned for microfilming and were later included in the donations. A small addition to the papers was transferred from the Smithsonian's Museum of American Art Library in 1981.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Frederick William MacMonnies papers, 1874-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Frederick William MacMonnies papers
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Archives of American Art
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Paul Wayland Bartlett papers

Bartlett, Paul Wayland, 1865-1925  Search this
American Art Association of Paris  Search this
American Club of Paris  Search this
Exposition universelle de 1889 (Paris, France)  Search this
Exposition universelle internationale de 1900 (Paris, France)  Search this
Gorham Company (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers  Search this
Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904: Saint Louis, Mo.)  Search this
Alexander, John White, 1856-1915  Search this
Avery, Samuel Putnam, 1822-1904  Search this
Bartlett, Truman Howe, 1835-1923  Search this
Clark, William A. (William Andrews), 1839-1925  Search this
Elwell, F. Edwin (Frank Edwin), 1858-1922  Search this
Flannagan, John Bernard, 1895?-1942  Search this
French, Daniel Chester, 1850-1931  Search this
Hartley, Jonathan Scott, 1845-1912  Search this
La Farge, John, 1835-1910  Search this
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834 -- Monuments  Search this
Loring, Charles Greely, 1828-1902  Search this
MacMonnies, Frederick William, 1863-1937  Search this
McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885 -- Monuments  Search this
Pearce, Charles Sprague, 1851-1914  Search this
Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926  Search this
Rodin, Auguste, 1840-1917  Search this
Ruckstull, F. W. (Fred Wellington), 1853-1942  Search this
Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907  Search this
Ward, John Quincy Adams, 1830-1910  Search this
5 Linear feet ((on 4 microfilm reels))
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence with family, artists, and others, 1887-1925; legal and financial documents, 1887-1925; printed materials, 1888-1925; sketches, drawings, and blueprints, undated 1916-1920; and certificates, 1915-1918.
Correspondence consists of a chronological series, 1887-1925, containing letters and postcards from John White Alexander, Samuel P. Avery, William A. Clark, Frank Edwin Elwell, John Flanagan, Daniel Chester French, Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company, Gorham Company, J. Scott Hartley, John LaFarge (undated), Charles Loring, Frederick MacMonnies, Charles Sprague Pearce, Auguste Rodin, Frederic Wellington Ruckstull, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and scattered letters from other nineteenth century artists regarding the execution of works, commissions, exhibitions and expositions in Paris and the United States, among them the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904) and the Exposition Universale (1899-1900), and Bartlett's illness and death in 1925.
The remainder of the correspondence, arranged by subject, includes letters from Bartlett's father, Truman Howe Bartlett, 1899-1913, many written from Boston where he taught in the architecture department of MIT, or from New Hampshire where he kept a studio, and letters to Paul regarding his father's entry in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1925; correspondence with the American Club of Paris, 1903-1906, regarding Bartlett's membership; correspondence with the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, 1905-1907 (some from Joseph Pennell) regarding exhibitions; correspondence regarding commissions, including Lafayette, McClellan, General Warren, Library of Congress and other statues; postcards from artists, 1892-1895; and miscellaneous letters.
Legal documents relate to the Lafayette statue, 1900, and also include Bartlett's death certificate. Financial records, 1899-1922, consist of bank statements, checkbooks, bills and receipts for casting, photography, dues and rent. Clippings and a scrapbook deal with Bartlett's Lafayette statue. Other printed material includes articles on various Bartlett sculptures and other sculptors, exhibition catalogs, passes and announcements, yearbooks from the American Club of Paris, 1905-1909, and material from the American Art Association of Paris, including a 20 p. booklet by Bartlett giving the history of the group, and an invitation, 1906, to an auction to benefit the victims of the San Francisco earthquake.
Also included are sketches by Bartlett and his father, undated and ca. 1913; oversized drawings, plans and prints for monuments, statues, and the Capitol ceiling, undated and 1916-1920; postcards depicting Bartlett's sculpture; and certificates from the National Academy of Design and the Panama Pacific International Exposition.
Biographical / Historical:
Sculptor and portraitist; Paris, France and Washington, D.C. Bartlett was born in Connecticut and raised in France where he entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts and also studied under Emmanual Fremiet and Auguste Rodin. His early sculpture focused on animals and his piece "Bear Tamer" was presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1891 and exhibited in the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. After 1895, he produced a number of public monuments, sculptures, and historical portraits including the figures of Columbus and Michelangelo for the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress, the Lafayette statue presented to France, and the pediment for the House wing of the U.S. Capitol. Bartlett died in Paris of blood poisoning on September 20, 1925.
Related Materials:
Additional Paul Wayland Bartlett papers also located at: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.
Lent for microfilming by the Tudor Place Foundation, Inc., 1994. The Tudor Place Foundation inherited the papers in 1994 with the estate of Armistead Peter III of Tudor Place. Peter III was married to Caroline, the daughter of Bartlett's wife by her first marriage to Mahlon Odgen-Jones. After Bartlett's death in 1925, Suzanne cared for his papers, and donated the bulk of them to the Library of Congress in 1954. The papers she retained passed on to Caroline, and at her death to Armistead Peter III.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Sculptors -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Sculptors -- France -- Paris  Search this
Sculpture, American  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 19th century  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Monuments -- France -- Paris  Search this
Monuments -- United States  Search this
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art

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