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 & info of works by MacNeil.

~ Hundreds of stories and photos posted here form this virtual MacNeil Gallery of works all across the U.S.A.  New York to New Mexico — Oregon to South Carolina.

~ 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 May, 2011

General George Washington with Flags (U.S. and POW/MIA) ~ Washington Arch Greenwich, NYC (All Photos Courtesy of: Gib Shell ~ KC, MO)

General George Washington ~ gloves-in-hand and hand-on-sword

MacNeil's "Washington at War" with 'Valor' in profile to the right

MacNeil's "Washington at War" ~ visioning leadership

 

 

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The Sun Vow is certainly Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s most visible and famous sculpture. If you ever have a chance to see it, please do so. (Even our best pictures on this website cannot do justice to the detail of this sculpture or to the creativity of the artist.)

Gibson Shell, sent us some “Sun Vow” photos from his recent excursion to NYC.  These photos do provide detail and a truer sense of MacNeil’s careful presentation of these figures and the  Sun Vow ritual.

Hermon MacNeil's "Sun Vow" graces over a dozen museums including the MMA in NYC.

 

These “Sun Vow” poses are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (73″ – Rogers Fund 1919). The backgrounds have been removed to present MacNeil’s composition without distractions.

Gib is a long-time Beaux Arts photographer — an amateur in the best sense of a ‘devotee, enthusiastic pursuer of any Beaux Arts sculpture.’ Gib has been a generous friend of this website. Dozens of his photos are featured already.  Hundreds more will be seen in future posts.

MacNeil made the “Sun Vow” in Rome as his final requirement for the Roman Rinehart Scholarship. The sculpture is signed with ‘RRS’ designating that commission of the piece. His typical signature “H. A. MacNeil Sc” (Sc for Sculptor~ See Gib’s photo below).

The size of this piece (72-74 measured variously) is the same of those in major museum collections.  Several links on this website (see below and also “MUSEUMS: with MacNeil Art” section in lower right) connect to these “Sun Vows.”  Possibly a dozen of these exist, publicly and privately.

Metropolitan Museum of Art – NYC, NY
Art Institute of Chicago
Phoenix Art Museum ~ Phoenix, AZ (Sun Vow)
The Saint Louis Art Museum ~St. Louis, MO (Reliefs over porch -Sun Vow)

His typical signature "H. A. MacNeil Sc" (Sc for Sculptor). Underneath the initials "RRS" (for "Roman Rinehart Scholarship," his sponsor of study) and the Location of casting "ROME"

Numerous smaller casts (about 36″) and even miniatures authorized by MacNeil himself were cast up until the 1920s.  These also are highly desirable and found in many museums.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center – Cody WY (Sun Vow)
Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando FL
Chrysler Museum of Art – Norfolk, VA

Herman Atkins MacNeil often placed “Sc” behind his signature on sculptures (as seen above, and in other photos on his signature on this website.

According to McSpadden, an article on MacNeil in the Craftsman stated,

“In The Moqui Runner, The Primitive Chant, The Sun Vow, The Coming of the White Man, and many others of his Indian statues, MacNeil always gives you the feeling of the Indian himself, of his attitude toward his own culture of the Sun Vow that MacNeil has memorialized, are a compounded and profound statement of the power of art and artists. vanishing tribes, and his point of view toward the white race which has absorbed his country. It is never the Indian of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, trapped out for curiosity seekers, but the grave, sad, childlike man of the plains, faithful to his own tribe, once loyal to us, though now resentful; and always a thinker, a poet, and a philosopher.”  (McSpadden lists the following source: “The Art of MacNeil,” Craftsman. September 1909).

( See also: Florence Finch Kelly, “American Bronzes at the Metropolitan Museum: An Important Collection in Process of Formation.” Craftsman, 1907: Volume XI, February 1907, Number 5, pp 545-559.)

 

Dr. Andrew Walker, an associate curator at the St. Louis Art Museum,  has written a chapter in “Shaping the West.” MacNeil’s ‘Sun Vow’ was chosen for the cover photo of that publication by the Denver Art Museum.  Walker’s essay there is entitled: “Hermon Atkins MacNeil and the 1904 World’s Fair: A Monumental Program for the American West.”  Walker has written and presented extensively on MacNeil.

It is all in the faces - the ideals passed to a new generation.

While highlighting the work of Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Dr. Walker illustrates how the 1904 World’s Fair included a monumental sculpture initiative.  He does this with narrative and photo description of the major sculptures that formed the grounds, fountains, waterfalls and buildings of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis. The current St. Louis Art Museum (where Walker is a curator) was the “Palace of Fine Arts” conceived by Cass Gilbert,  architect of the fair grounds (and later the US Supreme Court Building).  Over a century later, Mac Neil’s three sculpture relief panels still look down from their vantage point above the three sets of doors at the main entrance.

The 'Sun Vow' at the MMA - NYC - with Daniel Chester French's "Angel of Death" in relief in background (See also Webmaster's <= Comment at left.

 

 

The more I study this sculpture (as other MacNeil pieces?) the more new details I find in MacNeil’s creations.

The photo at right shows MacNeil’s Sun Vow with Daniel Chester French’s “Angel of Death” in the background. French and MacNeil were colleagues and collaborators. The Angel of Death has grasped the hand of the sculptor.  See more of this DCF piece HERE.

Webmaster’s Comment: The beauty and ‘irony’ of the two sculptures together, long after the death of the two sculptors and the vanishing of the culture of the Sun Vow that MacNeil has memorialized, are a compounded and profound statement of the power of art and artists.

 

SOURCES:

  1. SHAPING THE WEST : American Sculptors of the 19th Century. With additional  essays by Alice Levi Duncan, Thayer. Tolles, Peter Hassrick, Sarah E. Boehme, and Andrew Walker.

  2. Florence Finch Kelly, “American Bronzes at the Metropolitan Museum: An Important Collection in Process of Formation.” Craftsman, 1907: Volume XI, February 1907, Number 5, pp 545-559.)


 

McKinley's pose here resembles MacNeil's statue of him in 1904. (Credit: Frances B. Johnson- Ohio Historical Society-AL00501)

The following article (by our Webmaster) was accepted for posting on the THE HISTORICAL MARKER DATABASE added to the existing story there.

MacNeil's McKinley at Ohio Statehouse plaza

 

3.   H. A. MacNeil Sculpted the McKinley Monument in Columbus Ohio.
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) sculpted this monument consisting of the statue of President McKinley and the two accompanying grouping of figures on either side. These extra figures seek to represent the values that McKinley lived out and for which grieving citizens chose to remember him.

Industry & Trade are symbolized by the first group. The man of great strength instructs the youthful student beside him. Here the artist seeks to depict strength and wisdom being passed on to the next generation. The other figures, a gracious woman ( “Prosperity” ) with her arm encircling a little maiden ( “Peace” ) are meant by MacNeil to symbolize those ideals as well as the joy and virtues of domestic life. These female figures are placing the palm leaves and flowers of peace over the sword and helmet of war.

MacNeil commented twenty years after completing this monument that while he worked very hard on sculpting the portrait of the President, he could follow his fancy in making the other figures. They only needed to convey the values and ideals consistent with McKinley and the Monument’s purpose there on the Capitol Plaza. MacNeil considered them all some of his finest works. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor

— Submitted March 18, 2011, by Dan Leininger of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

 

Judge Thomas Burke Monument

Seattle, Washington ~ Volunteer Park

1930 - Hermon A. MacNeil's Monument to Judge Thomas Burke in Seattle, WA

Hermon A. MacNeil sculpted this bronze bas-relief in 1929. He fashioned accompanying allegorical figures of Justice and an American Indian on either side. C. F. Gould, architect, designed the pedestal-bench-plaza.  Dedicated in 1930, the monument  honors pioneer Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925) – “patriot, jurist, orator, friend, patron of education”, promoter of Pacific Rim harmony and trade; instrumental in bringing transcontinental railroad to Seattle.  Cost: 50,000; memorial contributed by admirers of Judge Burke.

  1. Another View of Burke Monument
  2. Burke Memorial on Waymark
  3. Volunteer Park History:
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MacNeil's 1934 statue of General Alfred Howe Terry on the south elevation of the Connecticut State Capitol

We have recently learned that a large group of MacNeil statues (7) rest on the Gothic sculpture niches of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut.The carvings represent important persons and events in American and Connecticut history.  Here are two examples of these works commissioned in the 1930’s:

<= General Alfred Howe Terry statue.

Location: Connecticut State Capitol, south elevation.

Artist: Hermon MacNeil.

General Alfred Howe Terry (1827-1890) was born in Hartford Connecticut. He was one of 15 officers to receive the “Thanks of Congress” for his part in capturing Fort Fisher, North Carolina during the Civil War (1865)∗ The Union Army’s capture of this Fort ended the Confederate’s ability to use Wilmington, North Carolina as a shipping port, and was therefore a significant victory. Terry later led U.S. troops against the Plains Indians, and was in command of the expedition against the Sioux when Colonel George A. Custer was killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn (June 1876). He retired from the Army due to illness in 1888, and died two years later.

The statue was commissioned under the supervision of the state Commission on Sculpture and was installed about 1934. A cleaning and restoration project of the exterior of the capitol, including the Welles statue, was completed in 1985.  The artist, Hermon MacNeil, is best known for his design for the Liberty quarter dollar (1916). His naturalistic style, with high modeling and surface texture, reflects his Parisian training at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. His works are included in public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [∗ Boman, John (Ed.), 2001. Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography. Accessed March 23, 2009 via iConn at http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh&AN=24F18006Terry&site=ehost-live. ] [ Information provided by Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT WAR MEMORIALS ]

General John Sedgwick occupies a niche alongside the statues of Gideon Welles and General Alfred Howe Terry.

<= Major General John Sedgwick statue

Location: Connecticut State Capitol, south elevation.

Artist: Hermon MacNeil

Continuing the Civil War Era theme of the south elevation, the statue of Major General John Sedgwick occupies a niche alongside the statues of Gideon Welles and General Alfred Howe Terry.

General John Sedgwick (1813-1864) was born in Cornwall, Connecticut. His grandfather served with George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Sedgwick served with distinction in the Mexican-American War, and was promoted to Major General during the Civil War (July, 1862). He was killed when shot by Confederate sharpshooters at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House May 9, 1864, during his command of the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

[ Information provided by Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT WAR MEMORIALS ]

Other works by Hermon MacNeil at the Capitol include: Gideon Wells, Oliver Wolcott, David Humphreys, and General David Wooster.

Images of these works will be posted at a later date.

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"The Coming of the White Man" ~ MacNeil posed Black Pipe, the Sioux Warrior in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show that he befriended after the 1893 Chicago Fair. (Antique Postcard courtesy of Gil Shell)

For our

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


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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
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.
COME BACK & WATCH US GROW

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – 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