Boy and Duck

Artist: Frederick William MacMonnies (American, New York 1863–1937 New York)

Date: 1895–96, cast 1901

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: 29 3/4 x 23 1/2 x 13 3/4 in. (75.6 x 59.7 x 34.9 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1922

Accession Number: 22.61


MacMonnies’s best groups have an exuberance resulting from his affinity for contemporary sculpture in France, where he spent much of his career. Modeled in Paris, “Boy and Duck” depicts a laughing boy delighted at having captured a prize duck. When the work is installed as a fountain, the duck and ducklings spout water from their open beaks, and the implied noise and confusion of the moment are vividly evoked. The theme of a nude boy struggling with a feisty animal dates back to ancient works of art, some of which MacMonnies had admired on a trip to Italy in 1894. The tradition was revived in Italian Renaissance art and carried further in nineteenth-century French and American sculpture.