was born in 1863 in Brooklyn Heights, New York. MacMonnies, who studied at both the National Academy of Design and The Art Students' League, also studied under Jean-Alexandre-Joseph Falguiére, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercie. In 1884 he went to Paris to study sculpture at the École de Beaux-Arts, and in 1886 won the Prix d’Atelier, which was the highest award given to foreign students.

Working out of his studio in Paris in 1890, MacMonnies completed many American commissions that included the Nathan Hale monument for City Hall Park in New York. In France he exhibited at the Salon and was the first American sculptor to be awarded a Medal of the Second Class (1891). In 1893 he created the Grand Barge of State for the central fountain at the Chicago World’s Colombian Exposition and was awarded the Grand Prize at the 1900 Paris Exposition. MacMonnies returned to New York where he worked again for Saint-Gaudens for a year and then returned to Paris. Among other honors he received in France, MacMonnies was appointed a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and a Chevalier of the Legion d' Honor. He remained in Paris until the start of World War I when he came back to the United States, remaining there until his death in 1937. 

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