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

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil,  of the Beaux Arts School 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 A. MacNeil.   ~ Over 200 of stories & 2,000 photos form this virtual MacNeil Gallery stretching east to west  New York to New Mexico ~ Oregon to S. Carolina.   ~ 2021 marks the 155th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth. ~~Do you WALK or DRIVE by MacNeil sculptures DAILY!   ~~ CHECK it OUT!

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

Oct
15

Hermon MacNeil’s 88 year-old Wedding Gift to Ollie Francis McNeil is Restored by Leslie Goodwin

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 In August of 1929, Hermon Atkins MacNeil sent a painting to my mother, Ollie Francis McNeil, as a wedding present.  Mother always referred to him as her “Uncle Hermon.”  Painted on an thin (acid-based) cardboard, the piece has aged badly in the eighty-eight years since MacNeil sketched and painted it in 1925.  Here is how it looked in 2010 before continual flaking and deterioration stressed it even further.

This photo from 2010 shows the un-restored landscape painted by Hermon MacNeil in 1925. Several flakes (1/2 to 3/4 of an inch) peeled off from the sky after this photo was taken. The deterioration was destroying this informal piece and suppressing its sentimental value as an MacNeil heirloom. Something had to be done to preserve it for its second century.

This photo from 2010 shows the un-restored landscape painted by Hermon MacNeil in 1925. Several flakes (1/2 to 3/4 of an inch) peeled off from the sky after this photo was taken. The deterioration was destroying this informal piece and suppressing its sentimental value as an MacNeil heirloom. Something had to be done to preserve it for its second century.

Leslie Goodwin examined the fragile conditions of MacNeil heirloom and determined that cleaning, stabilization, and repainting of broken areas could refresh the piece.

Leslie Goodwin examined the fragile conditions of the MacNeil heirloom and determined that cleaning, stabilization, and repainting of broken areas could refresh the piece.

 In August 2013, I received an enquiry on this website from an art restorer, Leslie Goodwin, in Colorado.  She had been asked by a client to evaluate another painting by MacNeil. I offered her what information I knew about Uncle Hermon’s occasional ‘dabbling in oils.’

Later, I sent the photo (at right) of the painting to Leslie.  She thought she could help to preserve this piece. I began making arrangements to mail it to her.  After receiving her address, I determined that I had travel plans that would take me within 20 miles of her studio. Coincidence?

Several weeks later, I delivered the painting, personally, to Leslie Goodwin in Colorado. She was able to carefully examine the fragile conditions of our MacNeil heirloom, firsthand. 

Leslie explained the risks and uncertainties of working with old art. She saw the necessity of stopping the rapid deterioration that recent years were adding to the ageing piece. She suggested that cleaning, stabilization, and repainting of broken areas could refresh the piece.  We both agreed that without professional TLC this MacNeil oil painting would not see a 2nd century of life.

So, carefully, she began the preservation process.  Two days later she called to say she was finished.  She was also pleased with the results.  Pictured BELOW is the resurrected look of Ollie Francis MacNeil Leininger’s wedding present from her “Uncle Hermon.”

After restoration

After restoration the cleaning of the landscape brought out hidden colors.

As I saw the results of Leslie’s work, I felt that I was seeing Mother’ s wedding present as she first saw it in 1929.  The repairs to lost portions of the sky brought the scene back together. The cleaning of the landscape brought out hidden colors that I did not see before. A vibrant freshness came out of the strokes of paint. It looked as though Uncle Hermon ‘sculpted’ in paints with a sculptor’s knife rather than an artist’s brush. And of course, that familiar signature, “H. A. MacNeil,” now jumped out of the corner with new boldness.  ”  I think even Ollie would be proud!

1929-HAM-OFMcNeil-WedGift-Note1

Hermon MacNeil’s handwritten note pencilled on the back of his landscape painting says’ “Landscape sketch by H. A. MacNeil presented to Ollie Francis MacNeil as a wedding present by her uncle. H. A. MacNeil ~~ 1929”

While the painting has some limited value, the real heirloom significance resides in the pencilled message on the back.  Hermon MacNeil’s handwritten note on the back of his landscape painting says, “Landscape sketch by H. A. MacNeil presented to Ollie Francis MacNeil as a wedding present by her uncle. H. A. MacNeil ~~ 1929″

That note confirmed several things for me!

  • Not only did mother address Hermon as “Uncle,” he considered himself to be just that to his cousin’s, (Tom McNeil’s) daughters.
  • Hermon was aware of mother’s wedding, and wanted to send a gift.
  • Hermon sent a gift made by his own hands.
  • Hermon personalized that gift with a handwritten note that included his signature – twice!
  • In addition, the timing of Hermon’s gift and note to Ollie McNeil was about 17 months after the prolonged death of Hermon’s and Carol’s only daughter, Joie Katherine MacNeil, in March 1928.  Joie, age seventeen, died in  Flushing Hospital of an infection which had been slowly draining her health since an attack of scarlet fever several years previously. She convalesced in the MacNeil home on Fifth Avenue (North boulevard), College Point.  My mother, Ollie McNeil, would have been about 2 years older than Joie MacNeil.
  • It also came 3 months after the marriage of their son Alden B. MacNeil to Irene E. Hollo on May 25, 1929.  Those nuptials were held while Hermon and Carol MacNeil were abroad in Italy and Paris from November 1928 to September 1929.

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WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

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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WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

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.
6. Send photos to ~ Webmaster at: HAMacNeil@gmail.com