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!

Mar
19

1901 Pan-American Exposition – Buffalo, New York ~~ “The Rainbow City”

By

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.

"The Sun Vow" (photo courtesy of Gib Shell)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil's "The Moqui Runner" (The Moqui Prayer for Rain -- The Returning of the Snakes) 1896, cast 1897.

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’s sculpture design for the Award Medals at the Pan American Exhibition, Buffalo, NY 1901 (front)  [ photo credits: CCya at http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=25738

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's sculpture design for the Award Medals at the Pan American Exhibition, Buffalo, NY 1901 (reverse). All award medals were struck from the same design whether in Bronze, silver or gold. These are silver medals.

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.

McKinley making his last public speech before he was assassinated, Buffalo, New York, September 5, 1901. (His pose in this photo resembles that of MacNeil's statue of him in 1904). (Credit: Frances B. Johnson-Ohio Historical Society-AL00501)

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)

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Comments

  1. webmaster says:

    Susan,
    Thanks for the comment. I will add it to the posting. I will also add a link to your website.
    Susan Eck
    panam1901.org x
    seck@buffalo.edu
    71.186.155.152
    Hermon MacNeil was an active sculptor in World’s Fairs from 1893-1915 in the US and Paris.
    What school are you associated with in Buffalo, NY?
    Daniel Neil Leininger
    Webmaster ~ HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com

  2. Susan Eck says:

    Sending this in case you would like to add my very active web on the 1901 exposition in Buffalo. Thanks! The details on MacNeil are very good and much appreciated.

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