Archive for MacNeil PostCard
WE ASSURE FREEDOM TO THE FREE”. Abraham Lincoln
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Philadelphia By Hermon A. MacNeil was dedicated in 1927. Two 60 foot granite pylons mark the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The period automobiles and newly planted trees line the Parkway. This beautiful boulevard leads from Logan Circle through the rolling Parkway Gardens on up the hill to the Philadelphia Art Museums.
February is “MacNeil Month at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com
Feb 27th, 2012 is the 146th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth.
Hermon MacNeil’s “Coming of the White Man” sculpture in Portland, OR, appears to be the most popular postcard of all his statues.
Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Coming of the White Man” in Portland Oregon has an interesting story of the boulder-like stone that forms its base. This postcard image from Gib Shell shows the enormous granite stone on which MacNeil placed the statue.
The story, as I read it from a newspaper interview from about 1905, went like this. MacNeil was very particular about how his sculptures were mounted. Many of them were placed on bases that he made as a special part of the piece. The Marquette-Jolliet-Illini grouping in Chicago, the “Confederate Defenders” statue in Charleston each have stone bases with carvings, words, and art details that compliment the piece.
MacNeil wanted a stone base that fit into the wooded setting of Washington Park (Plaza Park) in Portland,Oregon. The site for the statue, I am told, overlooks the Columbia River to the East. The Native American pair [a Chief of the Multnomah, and the Medicine Man (scout)] look into the river valley and spy the first White explorers coming to their region. MacNeil portrays the Chief as tall, proud, and serene, while the Medicine Man is aroused, eager, and excited. [See: " If MacNeil’s “Chiefs” Could Speak, What would They tell us Today? ].
MacNeil considered the cost of shipping a stone from New York. He decided it would cost too much. But he knew what he wanted in a stone. So he made a plaster model (that is what sculptors do). The model was 1/3 the size of the stone that he wanted. Then he shipped it with the statue to Portland. He sent instructions that a stone be found sufficient for a base.
When the statue arrived in Portland, Hermon came and found that no one had looked for a stone as he requested. So he took his 1/3 plaster model, put it in a boat and traveled up the Columbia River to a granite quarry about 20 miles up river. Leaving his plaster model in the boat, he went to the quarry and found a piece of granite sufficient to shape for a natural looking base. Finding a suitable stone, he had it transported to a barge and them brought up the river. At the foot of the hill where the statue was to be placed, it took a four horse team to pull the stone up the hill (this was 1904 remember).
MacNeil must have sculpted the base on site. It bears the name of the statue and the information on the donor. When looking at a sculpture I seldom take time to consider the base, pedestal, or the setting in which the sculptor, artist, architect may have placed it. I hope MacNeil’s story adds to your curiosity and appreciation of his work.
Happy 2012 from the Friends of Hermon Atkins MacNeil!
On Christmas Eve Day I had the pleasure of having breakfast in Kansas City, Missouri with Mr. Gibson Shell, one of Hermon’s biggest fans.
No stranger to HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com “Gib’s” photos and postcards have graced our pages for the last year.
Neither is he a stranger to those of you who frequent Coins Shows in the KC MO region and beyond.
Gib is an avid photographer and collector of Beaux Arts images (photos, postcards, souvenirs). Gib has documented what he calls ‘MacNeil’s French Connection,’ namely, the works of Chapu and Falguière, MacNeil’s teachers in Paris. Gib has gathered Sculptor Studies in MORE than a dozen Notebooks.
I enjoyed my tour through his Hermon MacNeil Notebook he is holding in this photo. MacNeil studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Julien Academy as a pupil of Henri M. Chapu and Alexandre Falguière. Gib has an extensive collection of French postcards of their sculptures that MacNeil would have known and been influenced by.
I also was able to enjoy his Notebook of Daniel Chester French’s sculptures. (French’s “Minuteman” statue at Concord elevated him into public prominence in 1875 at the tender age of 25. His seated ‘Lincoln’ in the Lincoln Monument is his most famous work. French was on the Roman Rinehart Committee that awarded to Hermon MacNeil the first Rinehart scholarship in 1895. He also worked with MacNeil on the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. See Gib’s photos below of D. C. French’s “Republic” statue from the Fair ).
Next time I can see some of Gib’s other notebooks on Beaux Arts sculptors. I wanted you to see this “friend of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com”
Thanks Gib for being a contributor! He sent this photo of Daniel Chester French’s “Republic” to herald in 2012. So once more:
We discovered that Gib lives 6 blocks from where my “Aunt Jane” McNeil Boody lived in Kansas City. Jane and my mother, Ollie Frances McNeil both called Hermon MacNeil, “Uncle Hermon” all their lives.
Second MacNeil Postcard
we have selected a re-run of this very old
color rendered photograph of the
“Coming of the White Man.”
Photo file courtesy of Gil Shell
This monument in Portland has a twin on the east coast in NYC that is in the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens, NYC.
This second statue is just down the street from Hermon A. MacNeil Park and the site of his old home and studio in Queens. The sculpture was donated by Mr. MacNeil to this Cultural Center in his community. It occupies an honored place in the stage-right corner of the auditorium.
See that twin photo here