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

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil of the Beaux Arts School, an American classic sculptor of Native images and American history:  ~ World’s Fairs, statues, monuments, coins, and more… ~ Hot-links ( lower right) lead to works by Hermon Atkins MacNeil.   ~ Over 300 stories in 50 pages & thousands of photos form this virtual MacNeil Gallery stretching from New York to New Mexico ~ Oregon to S. Carolina.   ~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth. ~~Do you WALK or DRIVE by MacNeil sculptures DAILY!  ~ CHECK OUT Uncle Hermon’s works here!

Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster

DO YOU walk by MacNeil Statues and NOT KNOW IT ???


MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” Bust modeled from Standing Lincoln


As mentioned in the previous post of July 22, the Lincoln Hall statue at University of Illinois was cast from a standing Lincoln original plaster sculpture. The Smithsonian Institute archives contain a photo of that piece on right. [or CLICK HERE]

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil’s Lincoln standing.

MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” from U of I’s Lincoln Hall was modeled from the larger standing Lincoln plaster original

Note the folded arms, the papers in the right hand, and the young clean-shaven Lawyer Lincoln.  The resemblance of the Lincoln Hall figure (left) to the Smithsonian photo (right) is apparent (even in the reduced images seen here).

MacNeil’s original plaster statue of Lincoln (standing) very likely has been lost to the ages.  He sculpted it in 1914 for a competition of the Art Commission of Illinois.  They sought a statue for the City of Springfield. After the commission chose another sculpture, MacNeil worked with Roman Bronze Works  to cast 8 Lincoln busts from the original standing  Lincoln. 

The original may have been destroyed, or more probably, was stored in Roman Bronze Works  (RBW) warehouse . There it would have been subject to the foundry activities, moves, changes and decay of that facility’s history over the  past 100 years since MacNeil created the fragile plaster Lawyer Lincoln.  (Many renowned sculptors desired the “lost wax” method of casting which RBW made available in the U.S. ) During the thirty years from 1897 to 1927,  Roman Bronze Works resided in New York City. The story of RBW  after 1927 seems a bit more complicated:

Roman Bronze Works in New York City, established in 1897 by Ricardo Bertelli, was the pre-eminent sculpture bronze foundry in the United States during the American Renaissance. It continued to cast sculpture after that period ended. Its foundry, long a sub-contractor to Louis Comfort Tiffany‘s Tiffany Studios, moved to Tiffany’s Corona, New York, red brick factory in 1927.[1]

Roman Bronze Works, which made Tiffany’s bronze accessories and lamp bases, moved to Tiffany’s Corona facility in 1927. Roman Bronze Works was purchased in 1946 by Salvatore Schiavo, whose father had been working at the foundry since 1902. His nephew, Philip J. Schiavo, the grandson of the first Schiavo, was the president of the foundry until its closing.[4]

Roman Bronze Works 1890s New York City

 After the foundry closed, an auction was staged of original plaster models of major works by American artists, Frederic Remington, Daniel Chester French, Charles Russell, Bessie Potter Vonnoh and Anna Hyatt Huntington, in New York, 17 September 1988.[5] Some of the molds were moved to warehouse space in Copiague, New York, under the aegis of American Art Restoration, Inc..[6] Fortunately the business archives were preserved and are now at the Amon Carter Museum Library, Fort Worth, Texas.[7]In addition, the foundry has recently been reopened as Roman Bronze Studios by Brain Ramnarine who apprenticed and worked at Roman Bronze Works with Salvatore and Philip Schiavo.  (Source: Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Bronze_Works )

Whether MacNeil’s original plaster model of the standing Lincoln was transported in the 1927 move, or was part of the ownership transfer of 1946 (the year before MacNeil died), or was sold in the 1988 auction of American artists has yet to be documented by this researcher. Perhaps, it was destroyed after the eight busts were cast.  Though no recored of that is found either.Lucy C Rosenfield's RBW book  [A 2002 book  devoted to Roman Bronze Works, by Lucy D. Rosenfeld, A Century of American Sculpture The Roman Bronze Works Foundry bears a photo of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” on the cover. Rosenfeld used the firm’s ledgers and archival photographs now stored at the Amon Carter Museum. This volume warrants future investigation].


  • The bust in Urbana was placed in Lincoln Hall in 1929.
  • This procurement suggested by Lorado Taft occurred fifteen years after the original sculpture was made.
  • The University of Illinois “Lincoln Lawyer” is the only one of MacNeil’s Lincoln busts pictured on this website,
  • It is the only one ever seen by this author,
  • It remains the only one readily found by web searching in general.
  • It is a truly beautiful piece that is now restored to its original patina and brilliance.

Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings. the  others “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear incomplete as follows:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

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Here is ONE place to go to see sculpture of Hermon A. MacNeil & his students. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and private, these creations point us toward the history and values that root Americans.

Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
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1. Take digital photos of the work from all angles, including setting.
2. Take close up photos of details that you like
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of you & others beside the work.
5. Tell your story of adventure. It adds personal interest.
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