Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MacMonnies 'Civic Virtue' To Be Taken In by Green-Wood?

Our friend Frederick MacMonnies is back in the news. Though he is long dead, the artist's 1922 sculpture "Civic Virtue" just keeps making headlines. The piece, which depicts an enormous male figure standing over prostrate female figures, was intended for the fountain in City Hall, but was exiled to Queens. There were complaints as to how women were portrayed — trampled under foot as the symbols of vice and corruption.

Renewed calls that the statue has no place in the city's civic space prompted Green-Wood Cemetery to speak up on its behalf. They have expressed interest in taking the sculpture and restoring it.

"We could not stand by idle and see a major work by one of America's greatest sculptors be allowed to turn to dust," Green-Wood President Richard Moylan told the Daily News.

Maybe the move will help New Yorkers bury the hatchet once and for all. Several of MacMonnies' family members are interred at Green-Wood, which would make it a suitable home for the piece. It would be quite an addition to the cemetery's already exceptional sculpture collection.


Paul Mc said...

I'm glad to see that "Uncle Fred" is still causing trouble from beyond the grave :)

If Queens want to get rid of it that much and are willing to pay for the shipping then I would love to have the statue in my back garden here in the UK!

Paul McMonnies

brooklynbeforenow said...

So cool to hear from a relative! I have to tell you I'm a big fan of MacMonnies' work. I live near Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and his sculptures atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument are daily inspiration.