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!

Feb
12

“The ‘Five’ Medal Makers” ~ SOM Series ~ MacNeil Month 2012

By

"Medal Maker" VHS of 1929 with remake in 1997

The screen capture (below) shows a frame from the 1929 silent movie “The Medal Maker.”     This photo frame shows four presidents of the National Sculpture Society who were also “Medal Makers” presenting the NSS‘s ‘Special Award Medal’ to Daniel Chester French (center).  French (1850-1931) died just 2 years after this video was made.  The making of the Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser is told in “The Medal Maker” (see cover at right).

Three of these sculptors (Fraser, Weinman and MacNeil) had already redesigned US Coinage.  They created the Buffalo Nickel (JEF), the Liberty [Mercury] Dime & Walking Liberty Half-Dollar (AAW), and the Standing Liberty Quarter (HAM). 

Below are Society of Medalists creations and stories from each sculptor on some of their medal making. (The SOM medal images below are from the collection of the webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger.)

This screen capture shows the video playing on this website as posted on Sept 26, 2011 

Laura Garden Frazer and James Earle Frazer were both sculptors.(http://www.nysmhs.org/history/LauraGardinFraser/index.htm)

All five sculptors contributed to the “Society of Medalists” series of the Medallic Arts Company started in 1930, one year after this video was made.  Laura Gardin Fraser, the maker of the NSS Special Award Medal, is the fifth medal maker featured here. She also sculpted the SOM#1, First Issue of the entire SOM series.  Her NSS Award Medal (100mm or 4 inches) is featured below also.

  • James Earl Fraser (1876-1953) ~ SOM #45 “The Pony Express” and “New Frontiers” 1952″ James Earle Fraser was the husband of Laura Gardin Fraser and 13 years her senior.  He chose historic images of the west, namely, the “Pony Express” and the oxen-drawn “Covered Wagon.”  He stated that the Covered Wagon was a childhood image that he remembered from his childhood in South Dakota and Minnesota.

James Earle Fraser's "Pony Express" and "New Frontier"

  • Adolph Alex Weinman (1870-1952). ~ SOM#39 ~ 1949 ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny.” Weinman  offers the following  description of his inspiration for this piece:
  • “… for ‘Genesis’, look up chapter one in your Bible, I could not say it nearly as well. As to the ‘Web of Destiny’, that should be easily interpreted. The little fellow is Eros, who can perform more miracles in guiding the strands of destiny than any power known to man.”  (J.E.F. -SOM #39)
Adolph Alex Weinman ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny” SOM #39 ~ 1949
Obverse:  Male nude figure to l. in seated in fetal pose holding hammer and chise, imposed on Pegasus to l.: Mute.
Reverse:   Flame.: NATIONAL SCULPTURE SOCIETY/ SPECIAL — MEDAL/ OF — HONOR
Measurements: 100 mm / 4 inches
  • Laura Gardin Fraser's NSS Award Medal presented to Daniel Chester French. The sculptor with mallet and chisel in hands, rests in slumberous thought as Pegasus rises to to seek messages from the gods. This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

  • NSS Special Award Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser ~ 1929 (obv). This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

 

  •  Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) – “Hopi” and “Prayer for Rain” SOM #31 ~ 1931.   Based on MacNeil’s “Moqui (Hopi) Runner” of 1897, this was the only SOM medal that he would sculpt.
  • For his lengthy explanation of the theme he chose, see this website:  “Medals4Trade”
  • MacNeil’s brief intro to the medal is as follows: “The two incidents of the Hopi Prayer for Rain on the mesas of northeastern Arizona depicted on this medal are chosen by your sculptor because of the extraordinary vital enthusiasm and power that the Indians throw into this ceremony. Having witnessed it and been thrilled by the intensity of their emotion and on further study by the complicated and perfectly natural development of this drama, I cannot help feel that in it we find a basic note underlying all religions. All these Southwest Indians, living as they do in an arid region, have developed their religion along the lines of their greatest need –water.”

Hermon MacNeil's "Prayer for Rain" was based on his statue "The Moqui Runner"

Four examples of various finish patinas medals that MacNeil selected for SOM#3 in 1931 (from collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

Reverse of SOM#3 by Hermon MacNeil (collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)
  • Herbert Adams (1858-1945)~ SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner 1934
  • “Oh What Are the Prizes We Perish to Win” (on obverse), “To the First Little Shiner We Caught with a Pin” (on reverse).     Numbers Issued: 1,207 Bronze, 100 Silver.
  • The words that Adams placed on the medal are translation of the two lines from Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem, “Song of a Piece of Eight”, ~ He made the medal eight-sided (as a piece-of-eight) reminiscent of the pirate poem “Oh what are the prizes we perish to win. To the first little ‘shiner’ we caught with a pin.”

  • Herbert Adams SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner ~ 1934

    ALL FOUR MEN in the photo (excluding Daniel Chester French) would become Medal Makers for the SOM Series.  The Society of Medalists series (begun in 1930 after this photo of 1929) was created by Medallic Art Company.  It enlisted sculptors for the next 65 years.  That list would read like the Who’s Who of Sculptors (American and otherwise) from 1930 to 1995.

  • LAURA GARDIN FRASER was “The Medal Maker” featured in this film by that same name.  I imagine that she was present for the presentation of the medal to French.  She made numerous other medals (George Washington Bicentennial Medal 1932, Gilbert Stuart It seems ironic that her husband, James Earle Fraser, is admiring the medal and explaining some of her technique with the other sculptors.  It is likely that Carol Brooks MacNeil was also present at the event.  Women, however, were not in leadership in her era.

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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
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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