“Bacchante and Infant Faun” epitomizes the dramatic French Beaux-Arts style that dominated American sculpture during the late nineteenth century. An exuberant pagan reveler with grapes in her raised right hand holds an eager infant in the crook of her left arm. Her twinkling eyes, joyous mouth, spiraling form, lively silhouette, and richly textured surface combine to produce one of the most vibrant images in American art. MacMonnies gave this cast to the architect Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909) as thanks for a fifty-dollar loan. When McKim’s plan to install it in the courtyard of his new Boston Public Library set off an angry storm about its dubious moral tone, he instead presented it to the Metropolitan.
Signature: [top of base, right]: [cursive] F MacMonnies / 1893
Marking: [foundry mark, back of base, bottom edge]: THIEBAUT. FRERES. Fondeurs. PARIS
the artist, until 1894; Charles Follen McKim, New York, 1897