WELCOME to the “Hermon A. MacNeil” — Virtual Gallery & Museum !

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School. MacNeil led a generation of sculptors in capturing many fading Native American images and American history in the realism of this classic style. World's Fairs, statues, public monuments, coins, and buildings across to country. [Hot-links (on the lower right) lead to photos and info about these works by MacNeil. ]

~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil's birth on February 27,

Take a Virtual Journey

This website seeks to transport you through miles and years with a few quick clicks of a mouse or keyboard or finger swipes on an iPad.

Perhaps you walk or drive by one of MacNeil's many sculptures daily. Here you can gain awareness of this artist and his works.

For over one hundred years his sculptures have graced our parks, boulevards, and parkways; buildings, memorials, and gardens; campuses, capitols, and civic centers; museums, coinage, and private collections.

Maybe there are some near you!

Archive for June, 2010

Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s four bronze relief panels depicting the life of Father Marquette contain great detail.  The pictures in this album offer example of that.  They are also from our recent visit to the Chicago loop to document this art for the website.

Below you will find our Brief Videos of each of the four panels follow along with photos from the building:

[Click here Panel 1 for video]

“To follow those waters … which will hence forth lead us into strange lands.”

Photo of Panel 1

Panel 1 ” To follow those waters …”

[Click here Panel 2 for Video]

“In vain I showed the calumet …  to explain that we had not come as enemies.”

Photo of Panel 2

Panel 2 "In vain I showed the calumet …”

[ Click here Panel 3 for Video]

“Passing two leagues up the river we resolved to winter there … being detained by my illness.”

Photo of Panel 3

Panel 3 "Passing two leagues up the river ..."

[Click here Panel 4 for Video]

“The de Profundis was intoned … the body was then carried to the church.”

Photo of Panel 4

Panel 4 - "The de Profundis was intoned ..

"The de Profundus was intoned ..." from Panel 4 (right)

The Chicago Historical Society has recorded a brochure from the early 1900s describing Chicago as a Tourist point and Summer Resort.  The paragraph on the Marquette building and MacNeil’s art is as follows:

A block further south on Dearborn Street, on the west side, near the
corner of Adams Street, is the main entrance to the Marquette, a memorial
office building commemorating the great missionary and explorer of that
name. Over the lintels, on the outside, are statuary and descriptive bronze
tablets as follows, the accompanying legends being quotations from
Marquette's journal: 

Marquette and Joliet launching their canoe on the headwaters of the
Wisconsin River "To follow those waters * * * which will henceforth
lead us into strange lands." 

Marquette and Joliet attacked by Indians on the Mississippi "In vain I
showed the calumet * * * to explain that we had not come as enemies." 

Arrival of Marquette at the Chicago River "Passing two leagues up the
river we resolved to winter there * * * being detained by my illness."
 
Burial of Marquette at St. Ignace (Dablon's Narrative) "The De Profundis
was intoned * * * the body was then carried to the church. " 

Inside the portal one is in a compact but beautiful and unique rotunda
of-carrara marble, in which are exquisite Tiffany glass and mother-of-
pearl mosaics,further depicting the career of Marquette. These consist of
panels showing the armour and weapons of the period, the heads of Marquette
and Joliet, an Indian chief, a French man-at-arms, a courier-de-bois, and
the following three principal panels, the legends thereon being from
Marquette's journal:
 
Departure of Marquette and Joliet from St. Ignace on their first voyage to the
Illinois "Firmly resolved to do all and suffer all for so glorious an enterprise."
 
The meeting with the Illinois "They answered that they were Illinois, and in
token of peace presented the pipe to smoke. ' ' 
The Death of Marquette (Dablon's Narrative) "To die as he had always asked in a
wretched cabin amid the forest, destitute of all human aid." 

http://libsysdigi.library.uiuc.edu/OCA/Books2009-11/chicagofortouris00illi/chicagofortouris00illi_djvu.txt

H.A. MacNeil "Fan Club" Members examine the Marquette Building - 140 S. Dearborn Ave.

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Our Photo journey to this statue produced more pictures than we expected, so here is an album of shots and close-up details to enjoy.  MacNeil depicted an Illini Indian in the grouping.  The stone base contains the name of various tribes in the area including Ojibwa, Huron, Ottowa, Menominee, Potawatomi.  Many tribes were united in peaceful federations with each other.  Several weblinks below offer further information.

In 1673, Father Jacques (Pere) Marquette, the French Jesuit missionary priest, along with explorer Louis Joliet, were the first Europeans to enter what is now the State of Illinois at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.  Indian tribes in the area were the Hopewell and Illini. MacNeil’s grouping of Marquette and Joliet with and Illini Indian depicts the journey up these tributaries to Lake Michigan in present day Chicago. Native Americans controlled the Mississippi valley with their flourishing fur trade centered on the Illinois River until the French and Indian wars of 1760. The British took over in 1763, and the area became the State of Illinois in 1818.

Chi-MarquetteStatue

MacNeil statue of Marquette, Jolliet, and Illinois Indian in Chicago

History of Great Lakes of Woodland Tribes available at:

http://greatlakeswoodlandalliance.webs.com/greatlakeshistory.htm

Further reading on the Great Lakes Tribal Alliance is available here:

http://astore.amazon.com/glwa-20

MacNeil's bronze sculpture of Marquette with an Ilinois Indian on his right hand.

Today we took a short trip south from our daughter’s home in Logan Square here in Chicago.  We drove south down through Douglas Park on Sacramento Blvd to Marshall Blvd as it becomes West 24th Blvd. There we found the 85 year old bronze grouping of Pere Marquette, Louis Jolliete, and an Illinois Indian that faces the greenway of the boulevard.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil completed this sculpture in 1926 under a commission by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson Monument Fund.  Between 1905 and 1931 the Fund placed ten sculptures throughout various parks and beltways of Chicago.

Benjamin Franklin Ferguson, an Chicago lumber baron, left a million dollars in his will of 1905 for the purpose of  “The erection and maintenance of enduring statuary and monuments, in whole or in part of stone, granite or bronze in the parks, along the boulevards or in other public places.”

The massive scale of the trio grouping of about 12 feet on a 6 foot pedestal is visible as one approaches the Monument along Marshall and 24th Avenue Boulevards.

Chicagoans pass by the Marquette Monument daily as it towers over the Boulevards.

The bronze rests on a stone base which has aged (along with the neighborhood) in the eighty-five years since the monument was placed along the busy parkway.

Moccassin detail of Illinois Indian.

MacNeil chose to portray a clean-shaven Marquette.  The many images commemorating the French priest vary in their depiction of his appearance.  Hundreds of monuments and statues stretch  across the path of Marquette’s 17th century missionary exploration of the central U.S. frontier.

Detail of Illinois indian's leg and mocassin shows the sculptor's attention to the human form.

While conducting research for her master’s thesis, Ruth Nelson fell in love with the story of St. Ignace founder Father Jacques Marquette and his exploration of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. That admiration for Fr. Marquette history has led her around the Midwest learning things long forgotten by many. Her goal is to share what she learns with the many towns connected to Fr. Marquette.

As an art history major at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ms. Nelson wrote her master’s thesis on the artwork in the lobby of the Marquette Building in downtown Chicago, focusing on the mosaic and bronze artwork centralized around Fr. Marquette and his travels.

Bibliography: Ruth Nelson: “Conflict and Resolution on Gilded Age Grandeur: The Artistic Program of the Marquette Building Interior,” University of Illinois at Chicago, Master’s Thesis, 2007

As mentioned in the May 22nd posting on this website, the MacNeil Relief Panels in the Marquette Building in Chicago Loop have been restored and reinstalled in the building edifice on Dearborn Street.

The Mackinaw Island Town Crier quoted Ms. Ruth Nelson as observing:

“We really don’t know what Marquette looks like, everyone has a different interpretation.”

In her years of research, Nelson has found that different statues of Fr. Marquette around the Great Lakes feature him differently.  “Some depict him clean-shaven or with a beard, bald or with a full head of hair, and still others feature him with a stern-looking facial expression or a calm demeanor.”

MacNeil chose a young Marquette, clean-shaven and gentle faced in the Reliefs for the Marquette building.  This second sculpture cast in 1926 bears a similar resemblance, particular to MacNeil’s conception of Jesuit priest.

The Marquette and Joliette faces of MacNeil’s 1899 bronze reliefs at the Marquette building in the Loop resemble those likenesses he placed in this larger statue grouping of 1926. {The priest did seem to lose some hair in the 27 year interval.}

The Marquette and Joliette faces of MacNeil's 1899 bronze reliefs at the Marquette building in the Loop resemble those likenesses he placed in this larger statue grouping of 1926. {The priest did seem to lose some hair in the 27 year interval.}

MacNeil's Jolliete image of 1926.

We can thank the B F Ferguson Monument Fund, now administered by the Art Institute of Chicago, for its ongoing completion of Mr Ferguson’s vision of an art-full Chicago.  The MacNeil work comes from the earliest quarter century of the Fund’s comissions, and represents a heroic style of commemoration common to the era.

Only by standing before the sculpture can its massive scale and detail be appreciated as it towers over the boulevards.   This reminder of history and the heroic figures was central to the early wish of BF Ferguson in his 1905 bequest to the Arts in Chicago.

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Only by standing before the sculpture can its massive scale and detail be appreciated as it towers over the boulevards. Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at the foot of the Monument.

WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Nearby or far away, there is no ONE place to go and appreciate this wide range of art pieces. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and hidden, these creations point us toward the history and values in which our lives as Americans have taken root.

Webmaster: Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
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PHOTOS WANTED: Be a WEBSITE contributor

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS of MacNeil's work! Here's some photo suggestions:
1. Take digital photos of the entire work from several angles, including the surroundings.
2. Take close up photos of details that capture your imagination.
3. Look for MacNeil's signature, often on bronze works. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of yourself and/or those with you standing beside the work.
5. Add your comments or a blog of your adventure. It adds personal interest for viewers.
6. Send photos to HAMacNeil@gmail.com Contact me there with any questions. ~~ Webmaster