Monaghan, Theodore

Monaghan, Theodore (1890-1984)

Theodore Monaghan was born in Zurich, Switzerland on March 30, 1890. His parents were Irish. Monaghan was orphaned when both of his parents died in Hamburg, Germany. He was brought up in Germany, attending public schools in Hamburg. From a young age he could draw and model in clay. He began his formal art education with four years at the Hamburg Art School and went on to spend a short time at the Berlin Academy. In 1919 he married Frida Lehfeldt and had one son. He visited San Antonio, Texas in 1928 and liked the U.S. so much that he stayed. He moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1932 and became a naturalized citizen in 1937. Before the WPA Federal Arts Project, he worked for the Public Works for Art Program. He then worked for the WPA starting in 1935 and completed 16 works. One of his most notable achievements is the design and modeling of 22 life size figures for the Nativity Set in Bushnell Park first displayed in December 1938. His other work was allocated to the Hartford County Courthouse, the Hartford Park Department, the Hartford Superior Court Bar Library, East Hartford Town Hall, West Hartford Board of Education, Edward Morley School in West Hartford, Undercliff Sanatorium, and the Lawrence Street School in Hartford.


Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; WPA Biography; Social Security Death Index; Elizabeth W. Wolcott, “Nativity at Bethlehem; A Traditional Biblical Scene is refitted for Bushnell Park,” Hartford Courant, December 12, 1954.

Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Theodore Monaghan:

Judge William Scoville Case: hammer and copper
Judge William Hamersley:  
Plaque: Mark Twain: plaster
3 Scale Models: Thomas Hooker Plaque :Aaron White Memorial: plaster
Portrait: Judge Case: oxidized bronze
Portrait Plaque: Aaron White: oxidized bronze
Relief Lunette: Justice, Law Enforcement, Enlightenment: plaster
Portrait Plaque: William H. Hall: plaster
Landscape: watercolor
6 Bas Reliefs: The House that Jack Built: plaster
22 Life Size Figures for Nativity (designed and modeled): plaster
Mark Twain: plaster
Redesigning and Repainting of Nativity Set: plaster
The Cow Jumped Over the Moon: plaster
All Around the Mulberry Bush: plaster
Scale Model: Nativity Set:: plaster
Monaghan, Theodore