Archive for September, 2011
Four past-presidents of the National Sculpture Societycongratulate Daniel Chester French. Hermon MacNeil is 4th from the left as James Earle Frazer, Adolph Alex Weinman, and Herbert Adams, celebrate this Award of the first National Sculpture Society Medal. [MacNeil is 4th from left as Frazer, Weinman and Adams congratulate Daniel Chester French.]
The medal was crafted by Laura Gardin Faszer, as depicted in the earlier segments of this complete film, entitled the “Medal Maker”. Originally, the film was silent. Nearly seventy years later in 1997, it was restored and reissued by Medallic Arts Company [ www.medallic.com ] and Mike Craven Productions with narration and additional color footage. This reissue is what can be viewed here.
In this rare film from 1929, sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser is recorded creating the mold for the most prestigious medal awarded in America. Fraser was the first woman to design a coin for the U.S. Treasury, and she won several sculpture medals of her own. Her works include a double statue of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on horseback, and relief panels at the West Point library. The original film has been reformatted, and is in color with black-and-white footage. Narration is provided by sculptor Elizabeth Jones, who is a former Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint.
[ Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/medal-maker-laura-gardin-fraser-master-sculptor#ixzz1WpVuaLFb ]
The Four segments of the film are viewable at these YouTube locations:
Part FOUR of the “Medal Maker” video begins with Daniel Chester French on screen sculpting a horse. It switches to a view of French being presented the NSS Medalion by Adolph Alfred Weiman as James Earle Frazer, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, and Herbert Adams look on.
Pictured in Part THREE of the video is this photo of a Banquet on April, 9 1937 of the Society of Medalists – at Medallic Art Company, where this film was shown for the first time to a gathering of sculptors. I have marked in red a face that resembles Hermon Atkins MacNeil. [Apologies Uncle Hermon if that is not you. webmaster].
The host, Clyde Trees, owner of Medallic Arts Company, had hope that two dozen sculptors attend. When seventy-five (75) accepted his invitation and the little shops at 210 East 51st Street in downtown Manhattan were overwhelmed. Work benches, tables , and presses of the Medallic Arts Company were moved aside to make room for the gathering. A Commemorative Medal bearing the profile image of Augustus Saint Gaudens was struck by Mr. Trees as a ‘party favor’ for the occasion. Commemorative Medal
MEDAL MAKER VIDEO: www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=A69802FB6478AB3B
STORY OF THE 1997 REISSUE OF ‘MEDAL MAKER’ VIDEO: http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n31a13.html
Highlighted for visitors is the complete film, “The Medal Maker.” First shown to the Society of Medalists in 1929, it features multi-award winning coin and medal designer, sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser in her famous New York Studio in 1929 creating the models for the Special Medal of Honor for the National Sculpture Society, America’s highest sculptural award. Every step of creation and production is shown, including sketching, preparing background plate, transferring the drawing and applying clay pellets to the model, foundry casting of the pattern, die making and striking the medal at Medallic Art Company. This exceptional movie is narrated by Elizabeth Jones, sculptor, and former United States Mint Chief Engraver, from her studio in Philadelphia.
For further Biography on Laura Gardin Frazer and her famous sculptor husband, James Earle Frazer, see : http://www.nysmhs.org/history/LauraGardinFraser/index.htm
We were recently contacted by John Graydon Smith, CEO of the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, that a copy of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” is exhibited there in the museum.
Follow-up contact from Ashley J. Hamilton, Director of Collections, tells us that the piece can be seen in the Founder’s Gallery in the center of the second floor. A map to the RPM is provide below:
The Director also graciously sent photos and a bit of history. This “Sun Vow” came to the museum in 1929 as part of the American Art collection but is displayed more prominently in the Founder’s Gallery on the 2nd floor.
A hot link to the RPM’s American Gallery has been added to this web-site’s list of “Museums: with MacNeil Art” in the right-hand column. A photo of James Earle Fraser’s “End of the Trail” is displayed there. [ Reading Public Museum, Reading PA; “Sun Vow” ] MacNeil and Fraser both married accomplished sculptors — Carol Brooks MacNeil and Laura Gardin Fraser. The two men, along with their wives, were colleagues throughout their careers. Both men have massive bas relief friezes, 100 feet long, that are prominent on the Missouri State Capitol Building.
The “Sun Vow” is certainly Hermon MacNeil’s most renowned piece of work. It is as endearing now as it was a century ago. Lorado Taft, often called the Dean of American Sculpture, wrote in 1904:
No one grudges the young artist the honors which this work has brought him: a silver medal at the Paris Exposition of 1900, and a gold medal at the Pan-American [Buffalo 1901]. Even were his career to be cut short today, this group, like Stewardson’s “Bather” or Donoghue’s “Young Sophocles,” is good enough and important enough to insure its author a permanent place in the history of American Art. [SOURCE: Lorado Taft, The History of American Sculpture, p 444. ]
Thank you, for your courtesy John Smith and Ashley Hamilton. We have added your “Sun Vow” to our virtual gallery of Hermon A. MacNeil’s works.