Archive for January, 2011
Yesterday my order for the new MacNeil Commemorative came in the mail. Within 3 hours of the postman’s arrival, I had the print framed and displayed.
The actual print of Charles Daughtrey’s work is more imposing than any computer image can convey. The art piece is the seventh in Daughtrey’s series of coin designers.
I am very pleased with the piece.
One month from today, February 27, 2011 will mark the 145th Anniversary of the birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil. We here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com will be celebrating February as MacNeil Month.
We will be with posting information about the sculptor’s early life history (such as is available).BIRTH: Hermon was born in 1866. Most sources say in Chelsea, Massachusetts, now an inner urban suburb of Boston, the capital city. Chelsea borders Boston Harbor only about three miles from what is now Logan International Airport. The Chelsea area is much like the little peninsula of College Point in Queens, New York where Mac Neil would later set up his New York studio home in about 1904.)
In a 1924 interview with Hermon at the College Point studio, J. Walker McSpadden stated that the sculptor was born “at Plattville near Chelsea.” Plattville is 40 miles south of Chelsea and 35 miles south of Boston. Even more sources associate “Hermon MacNeil” with ‘Everett’ Massachuesetts. Just Googling those 3 words gave me 6 hits for Everett MA as his birthplace. Whether he was born in Plattville and moved shortly after is unclear. There are MANY MacNeil’s in this area of Massachusetts and surrounding New England (or should I say ‘New Scotland?’). Perhaps Hermon was born at the home of grandparents or other relatives. What is clear is that for the next 26 years he would live, grow, and study in immediate area of Chelsea/ Boston .
At the age of 20, he received his first formal training in the arts at the Normal Art School in Boston in 1886. According to the timeline for MassArt on Wikipedia this was the same year that the new art school building was opened:
- 1886: The new Massachusetts Normal Art School building is constructed at the corner of Newbury and Exeter Streets ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_Normal_Art_School )
A current Google Streetview of this corner shows a quaint old city neighborhood. The old stone building on the northeast corner of the intersection says “First Spiritual Temple,” a Spiritualist church. According to wikipedia:
On the corner of Exeter and Newbury Street—the address is given both as 181 Newbury Street and as 26 Exeter Street—is a striking building designed by Boston architects Hartwell and Richardson in the Romanesque Revival style. It was originally built in 1885 as the First Spiritual Temple, a Spiritualist church. In 1914 it became a movie theater, the Exeter Street Theatre.
NEXT WEEK: MORE ABOUT MacNeil”s EARLY YEARS AT HOME AND BOSTON.
In the meanwhile find more about MacNeil on our website at:
Here is a Google Map of the corner of Newbury and Exeter Streets in Boston. Enjoy lookin’ around!