Archive for August, 2012
Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Into the Unknown” at Brookgreen Gardens is framed by this ornamental iron gate designed by Anna Hyatt Vaughn Huntington, (who studied with MacNeil and Gutzon Borglum and other American sculptors). MacNeil portrayed ‘the sculptor’ as a female figure, sheltered under the sweep of her wings, with her face turned into the block, holding a chisel in one hand and a mallet in the other, carving herself out of the stone.
Brookgreen Gardens was built on the Brookgreen Plantation at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina in 1930 by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. This 350 acre outdoor sculpture garden rests within a 9000 acre nature preserve. It provides a magnificent outdoor setting for an enduring ‘world premier’ of an American collection of 1200 unique sculpture pieces by over 400 sculptors. Coupling “Archibald Huntington’s interest in history and the classical world, with Anna Hyatt Huntington’s devotion to creatures and figures of the natural world,” this marvellous collection gathers a vast array of American figurative sculptures of nature, human figures, and animals. (Beatrice Gilman Proske, Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture. SC: Brookgreen Gardens: 1968, p. 76).
A design based on it was adopted as an emblem of the National Sculpture Society at the time of their 1923 exhibition.
In 1948, a year after MacNeil’s death, the Huntingtons obtained the MacNeil piece for Brookgreen. Today Anna’s ‘Ornamental Gate’ frames her mentor’s tribute to the Inspiration of the sculptor. In May 2012, 100 years after MacNeil’s inspiration for this work, I had the privilege of visiting the Brookgreen Gardens and gathering this story and these images for the website collection. His ageless work has now entered the digital age in this virtual gallery in his name.
[Photo credits: Taken on site by Dan Leininger, webmaster: HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com]
Recognize this Patriot?
You can HELP HIM return to College Point.
Here are a few clues:
- The piece you see here is less that 1/3 the size of the actual statue (pictured below).
- For the last 64 years it has been in storage at a museum over 800 miles from MacNeil’s studio in College Point, Queens, NYC where it originated.
- Along with a dozen and a half other plaster casts from MacNeil’s studio, this stately Commander left College point after the sculptor’s death.
If the Poppenhusen Institute and Susan Brustmann, the director, have their way, this “General Washington” may spend his 2nd century as a “permanent resident” of the community where Hermon MacNeil sculpted him.
A NEW HOME at the POPPENHUSEN INSTITUTE (MORE) is being offered just blocks down the street from where MacNeil’s hands fashioned this commemorative piece.
Susan Brustmann, director of the Institute, informs us that discussions are underway to bring these MacNeil statues home.
For 64 years they have been in the inventory and care of a midwestern museum that has decided to de-assession the pieces. Seldom seen, never permanently exhibited, and soon to be de-assessioned, over a dozen others may return to College Point.
But your help is needed.
YOU CAN HELP! CONTACT us at:
Stay tuned for updates.
- Poppenhusen Institute makes MacNeil Collection Appeal! (14.8)
- MacNeil Sculpture at Poppenhusen Institute (11.2)
- MacNeil Park – College Point, Queens, NY (17)
- MacNeil Postcard #3 ~ ‘From Chas. Aug 24, 1907′ (8.4)
- Confederate Defenders Statue – White Point Gardens & the Battery (8.6)