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About This Artwork
Bacchante with Infant Faun, modeled 1894, cast after 1894
h. 86.3 cm (34 in.)
Signed on base: "F. MacMonnies, 1894"
Foundry (stamped): "Jaboeuf & Rouard / FONDEURS/A/PARIS/10 & 12/R DE L'ASILE POPINCOURT"
Restricted gift of Brooks and Hope B. McCormick Foundation, 1984.571
As one of the nation’s most important sculptors of the Gilded Age, Frederick William MacMonnies garnered many public and private commissions at the turn of the 20th century. Bacchante with Infant Faun, however, was not created on commission. Instead, MacMonnies gave the life-size version of the bronze to his friend the architect Charles McKim. The sculpture was soon at the center of a public scandal when McKim attempted to give it to the new Boston Public Library. Some among Boston’s elite chafed at the mythical figure’s nudity and her drunken dance. MacMonnies’s naturalistic modeling—bones, muscles, and even teeth convincingly rendered—challenged Victorian sensibilities. McKim eventually gave the statue to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bronze reductions, such as this one, nevertheless remained popular with the public.
— Permanent collection label
Maine Antique Digest (Oct. 1985), p. 11b (ill.).
Art Institute of Chicago, Brushstrokes (Fall 1988), ill.
Marvin D. Schwartz, “The Art Institute’s New Wing,” Antiques and The Arts Weekly (Nov. 4, 1988), pp. 1, 60–62 (ill.).
Judith A. Barter et al, American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 278-280, no. 139.
Eric Silver, Forest Hills, New York, by 1984; sold to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1984.