Archive for March, 2011
“ONE COUNTRY, ONE CONSTITUTION, ONE DESTINY”
This Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated in 1927. The Monument consists of two 60 foot granite pylons. These pillars mark the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This beautiful boulevard leads from Logan Circle through the rolling Parkway Gardens on up the hill to the Philadelphia Art Museums.
- Find the Soldiers panel and Civil War history HERE.
- The Soldiers pylon is pictured below =>
- CLICK HERE for the Ben Franklin Parkway view.
- For DIRECTIONS to this Monument see the Google Map below.
We hope to have our own photos to post at a future date.
Meanwhile, thanks to the citizens and public officials of Philly for this tribute to American history and the work of Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
Happy Birthday Rachel!
The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition ~ St. Louis World’s Fair, commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase.
At the 1270 acre Forest Park location and the campus of Washington University the Fair was constructed and the Olympic Games were held.
“Fifteen major exhibition Palaces radiated in fan pattern from central Festival Hall in “setting of lagoons, boulevards, gardens, fountains and sculpture” (1,200 pieces of statuary). Electric light, sign of progress then, used “lavishly” for both decoration and illumination. Featured were motor car, aeronautics and wireless telegraphy–all at their earliest, most exciting stage of development; spotlight on auto which had traveled from New York City to St. Louis, then “an unprecedented feat and a hazardous journey.” Olympic Games held during Exposition in first concrete stadium built in U.S.”
For the event, MacNeil exhibited three sculptures: “The Moqui Runner,” “A Primitive Chant,” “The Coming of the White Man” (pictured here from period postcard showing the Portland, Oregon setting.)
On a prominent hill of the Forest Park location, Cass Gilbert designed and build the Palace of Fine Arts. This one permanent building remains 106 years later as the home of the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM).
It also became one of many collaborations of Gilbert and MacNeil over the next 30 year. The most famous of these would be the last in 1932 – the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Gilbert designed the front entrance of this Palace of Fine Arts to bear six Corinthian columns. The four central columns frame the three MacNeil reliefs sculptures above the three entrance doors. Inscribed on his center panel are the words “ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM “roughly meaning, “The art of all arts.”
That panel is pictured here.
This link below on the SLAM website also offers more detail images of all three panels and the building entrance:
The MacNeil work was a part of that “Palace of Fine Art” and his abilities in the Beaux Arts style seemed to seal his collaborative link to many projects grown from Cass Gilbert’s genius. The inscription “ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM” translates literally from the Latin as “the Art of all Arts.”
Above the columns of the Saint Louis Art Museum are inscribed the words, “DEDICATED TO ART AND FREE TO ALL – MDCDIII.” That Free to All spirit remains today in that admission is free through a subsidy from the ZMD.
A New York Times article offers editorial on “free art” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/22/arts/design/22admi.html?_r=1
Other works completed by MacNeil for the fair were the “Fountain of Liberty” and the massive sculpture “Physical Liberty.” The artist rendition below shows both. “Physical Liberty” is the large Buffalo sculpture on the right. A young woman on the other side accompanies the powerful beast. Detail photos of the fountain are difficult to attain. Hopefully, more to Come!
In the meanwhile, Enjoy!
“Looking Good, Mr. Lincoln! The Lincoln Bust Gets Restored”
The University of Illinois has sent MacNeil’s “Abe Lincoln” to Chicago for 3 month for a restoration of the statue’s patina original. Now the bust is on display at the Spurlock Museum.
The webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com gets a 20 second voice-over (2:40 to 3:00 min.) in this video. Our webmaster is a bit tongue-tied, but he is quite sincere.
For the whole story of this “Land of Lincoln,” “Love of Lincoln,” “Lincoln Lore” saga, CHECK out these previous posts on the topic:
- “Honest Abe” On Public Display ~ MacNeil Month #7 (15.4) At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released…
- Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln! ~ MacNeil’s Sculpture Released from Vault ~ MacNeil Month #4 (14.3) Abe Lincoln will be a little late for his 202nd…
- MacNeil Bust of Lincoln Stored in Vault (13.5) Hermon Atkins MacNeil would probably be amused to know that…
Between 1893 and 1905 Hermon Atkins MacNeil and his sculptures were involved in four World’s Fairs. The Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (1901) was the second of these events. Popularly known as the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo NY, over 8 Million people attended the exhibition.
University of Deleware ~ Special Collections website offers this description;
The most unusual aspect of the Pan-American was the color scheme of its buildings. Unlike the pristine design of the “White City,” the architectural plan of the Pan-American was to build a “Rainbow City.” The buildings were done in a Spanish Renaissance style and were colored in hues of red, blue, green, and gold. The Electric Tower, the focal point of the fair, was colored deep green with details of cream white, blue, and gold. At night, thousands of electric lights outlined the buildings.
In the year 1900, MacNeil returned to the United States after three years in Rome and a fourth back in Paris. He settled in New York City. Within a year, MacNeil set up a home and an adjoining studio in College Point, Long Island (now Flushing, Queens ). His studio became his work place for the next four decades.
MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” and the “Moqui Runner” were both exhibited at the 1901 Fair. The “Sun Vow” had received a silver medal at the Paris exhibition of 1900. It was exhibited again at the Columbian Exposition of 1904 — the Saint Louis World’s Fair. As the years passed, it would become his best known work. (Webmaster’s Note: It recently graced the cover of the 2010 Denver Art Museum publication, “Shaping the West: American Sculptors of the 19th Century”)
At the Buffalo Exhibition he was asked to do the pediment sculptures for the Anthropological Building, as well as a grouping known as “Despotic Age.” Craven described the work as follows:
The spirit of despotism with ruthless cruelty spreads her wings over the people of the Despotic Age, crushing them with the burden of war and conquest and draging along the victims of rapine (plunder), a half savage figure sounds a spiral horn in a spirit of wild emotion. (Craven, SIA, p. 518)
MacNeil designed the official gold medal (displayed here in silver) struck in celebration of the Pan American Exhibition. His commissioned design bears a youthful woman standing beside a buffalo on the obverse side. She represents the triumph of the intellect over physical power. The reverse depicts two Indians with a sharing a peace pipe. One, a North American Indian, extends the extends the pipe to the South American Indian. Craven notes that
MacNeil chose to portray the theme of “Pan-American friendship through images of the red man, not the white man.” (Craven, SIA, P. 519). We can also observe that this choice extended MacNeil’s selection of native people into a second continent. [Photo credits CCya at http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=25738]
President William McKinley was assassinated at the fair. On Sept. 6, 1901, Leon Czolgosz shot President McKinley in the Temple of Music, a pavilion of the Buffalo, New York, Pan-American Exposition. Eight days later, on Sept. 14, McKinley was dead. We do not know if MacNeil was present at the Fair when the President was attacked. In some sense, President McKinley’s overshadowed the rest of the Exposition. Buffalo promoted the event in order to be seen as a prosperous, modern, technologically-advanced city,. Instead Buffalo became seen as the city of the assassination.
In the years following The Buffalo Exhibition, a series of important commissions would raise him to prominence as a major American sculptor. One of those was, oddly enough, was the McKinley Monument Statue and Plaza at the front of the Ohio State Capitol Building where McKinley served two terms as the governor of the state.
The only remaining building of the fair is the New York State Pavilion. It is now the home of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. (see map) A boulder marking the site of McKinley’s assassination was placed in a grassy median on Fordham Drive
1901 Pan-American Exposition links: (active as of this posting date)
- Buffalo History – Black Faces at the Pan American Exposition of 1901, Buffalo, New York Pan American Exposition of 1901, Buffalo, New York – with Map
- Illuminations Revisiting the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition of 1901 – Costs of the Pan-American Exposition Compared to other International Exhibitions
- Pan-American Exposition – Buffalo 1901 Souvenir Textile
- The Pan American Exposition — Buffalo in 1901
- Pan Am World Fair Buffalo
- Schiller Institute- President Wm. McKinley- Assasinated 1901
- The Last Speech of William McKinley
The Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries were filled with hundreds of World’s Fairs. Hermon Atkins MacNeil began his career as a sculptor in the 1890s. He worked on five of these events that were in the U.S. between 1901 and 1915. He helped design buildings, outdoor art, plazas, exhibits, and entered sculptures in many of these expositions.
MacNeil’s works were entered in the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo (1901); the Charleston Exposition in South Carolina (1902); the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (1904); [MacNeil Sculpture “Meets Me in St. Louis” (7.3) On a recent trip to Saint Louis, Missouri to visit…] the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon (1905); and the Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in (1915)
In future postings we will gather information on these events and MacNeil’s involvement in expos that became extravaganzas of art and sculptures. So more on Chicago, Buffalo, Charleston, Saint Louis, Portland, and San Francisco fairs. Most of the fairs that MacNeil worked on were built in the peak era of the Beaux Arts style of architecture and sculpture in the U.S. He was part of a the American Renaissance from 1890 to 1920, the last phase of Neoclassicism in United States. (See also Beaux Arts link above).
Below is a Wikipedia list of World Fairs from 1700 to the present. Modern Expos tend to be held in outside of the USA in nations with developing economies and growing world trade.
List of World’s Fairs: Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world%27s_fairs#1890s
Photo Credit: http://www.slam.org/
CHICAGO YEARS: Partners and Colleagues
When Hermon MacNeil came home to the United States from Paris, he did not return to Cornell. He stopped in New York to consult with Augustus Saint Gaudens about finding work as a sculptor. Saint Gaudens referred him to Philip Martiny, a former student and assistant, who was doing preliminary sketches for the Chicago Worlds Fair (World’s Columbian Exposition) to take place in that city in 1893.
So MacNeil chose to settle in Chicago where this collosal World’s Fair was “being born.” This decision proved momentous in many ways. In his ‘Chicago Years’ he met people who would remain professional colleagues and friends for the next four decades. These included Frederick MacMonnies, Lorado Taft, his pupil, Carol Louise Brooks (who MacNeil was to marry in 1895), Daniel Chester French, as well as architects Daniel Burnham, Stanford White, and Charles Follen McKim. The rest of MacNeil’s career would become a repeated succession of partnerships with these colleagues on projects, monuments, buildings, and memorials that were joint efforts of many Beaux Arts trained scupltors and architects associated with the American Academy in Rome.
The Chicago World’s Fair celebrated the 400 Anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World and was officially known as the Columbian Exposition. Hundreds of buildings and dozens of architectural Palaces of Art, Transportation, US Government Building, Horticulture, Fisheries, and the Electricity Building were created for the event. The temporary sculptures were decorated with allegorical figures, cherubs, and statues that numbered in the thousands. They accompanied fountains, waterways, plazas, and acres of unimaginable features that became known as The White City.
The sculptures, which were carried out in staff, a weather-resistant plaster, were destroyed with the exhibition buildings, but the successful effect they produced led to further similar commissions at the Pan-American Exposition, [[Buffalo, New York (1901) and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis, (1904). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Martiny
This secession of World’s Fairs celebrated the dawn of a 20th Century of Progress, as well as, an emerging image of the United States as the world’s foremost nation of progress, the inheritor of the cultural images and art of the European World. An emerging national identity, pride, and arrogance are all visible in the history of these endeavors. The video links at the end of this post capture these and other aspects of the magical extravagance and promotion of these global endeavors.
It is difficult in our day to get a feel for what these Expositions were. They were comparable to a new Disneyland being built every three or four years. Incidentally, Walt Disney’s father, Elias Disney worked in construction for the Chicago Fair. Some evidence exists that these fairs inspired Disney:
He was a construction worker for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, an event which author Erik Larson cites as a source of inspiration for his son Walt and the Disney kingdom he would eventually create. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elias_Disney)
The links to videos below give additional perspective of the detail and scope of these Expositions. Take time to enjoy these modern reviews of this gilded time.
MacNeil would win the Rinehart scholarship, passing three years (1896-1899) in Rome and eventually spend another year in Paris.
List of World’s Fairs: Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world%27s_fairs#1890s
Video Links on Chicago World’s Fair ~ Columbian Exposition
- Brief overview The White City. (1:17)
- 1893 Chicago World\’s Fair (Columbian Exposition) Documentary (9:13) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBpBl1Nqjyc&NR=1
- Expo: Magic of the White City Magic of the White City Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEi3S1HRRoA&NR=1
- The World’s Columbian Exposition – architectural animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3izaIpXcBU4&feature=related
- Composite panorama photo: http://newsburglar.com/2008/10/17/one-last-chicago-expo-photo/