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 ???

Archive for November, 2021

A recent post of Aug 13, 2021, highlighted a hidden bust of C. F. Browne, an early friend of Hermon A. MacNeil:

MacNeil’s bust of friend Charles Francis Browne – 1994

A 1894 Sculpture of Charles F. Browne ~ ~ ~ by Hermon A. MacNeil.” =>

Out of public view, deep in the archives of the Chicago Art Institute rests a 127 year old bust of Charles F. Browne,  American artist.

Of all the thousands of talented artists, craftsmen, and sculptors building the “White City”  in 1892, three gifted young men  would travel in 1895 by train and horseback to the NEW American “West.”  They would share life-forming experiences, there in the “Four Corners” area where Colorado meets New Mexico meets Arizona meets Utah.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~  THREE  FRIENDS  on  a  JOURNEY ~

 

    ~ Charles Francis Browne ~

            ~ Hermon Atkins MacNeil  ~

                      ~ Hannibal Hamlin Garland ~

Charles Francis Brown, at 33, was the oldest of the three.  

For a decade he searched to discover and develop his talents.  At the Chicago World’s Fair he began by painting murals in the Children’s Building. 

Charles was born in Massachusetts to parents with a long history in New England.  His father was a builder and contractor.  Charles had three siblings.  The oldest became a headmaster; a sister died in childhood; and his younger brother a foreman in a watch factory.

In his second year of high school, Charles became sickly. For two more years he was treated for appendicitis (then called “inflammation of the bowels”). He never returned to school, but instead worked ill-suited as a clerk in a hat store.  Eventually he started design work for a lithograph company. 

The artistic environment and peers led him to evening classes at Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  He worked in stained glass (to please his practical father).  Working days with lithographs  and studying nights at art school, he developed many visual skills. But entry into the Art School required passing rigorous exams in human anatomy.  For which he was unprepared.

So in 1885, at the age of twenty-five he moved to Pennsylvania and enrolled in the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts — working full time under realist painter Thomas Eakins.

Charles Francis Browne

Nai-U-Chi Chief of the Bow, Zuni. 1895 by C.F. Browne – Sid Richardson Museum – Retieved at https://www.illinoisart.org/charles-francis-browne. October 30, 2021.

Completing three years of study there, he went to Paris to study with renowned figural painter Jean-Léon Gérôme. His sojourns in the French countryside, inspired many paintings of landscapes in both oils and watercolors. Returning to the U.S. in 1891, he taught briefly at Beloit College  before moving south to Chicago.

The Children’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition became the next canvas of his murals.  Browne’s work became the walls of the building.  After the Fair, his skills were sought as an instructor at the rapidly growing Art Institute of Chicago.  MacNeil and Garland were part of the vast community of artists assembled in Jackson Park — home to the exhibition.

Page [unnumbered] of Volume InformationHis trip in 1895 with sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil to the Southwest yielded subjects for his portraits of American Indian and figural scenes.

Later, 1897 he founded the journal Brush and Pencil, of which he served as editor until 1900.  He produced hundreds of paintings in his career ahead.

Lorado Taft, provided a moving tribute to Browne at close of a fine life and career:

“No one among us has contributed more abundantly of his time to the service of the community… All of this activity combined with earnest, unremitting and valuable aid… would seem to be enough for one man. But… Mr. Browne, the citizen, has ever been first and foremost an artist. Never have we known a man more in love with nature… When one thinks of the joy that he has been able to record and to carry over to other hearts… it seems as though the most enviable of all estates is to be a landscape painter – a landscape painter like Charles Francis Browne!”  CREDIT: https://www.illinoisart.org/charles-francis-browne

 

~~~~~~~~

Hermon A.MacNeil 

Hermon was seven years younger than Browne.  Their friendship is documented by the fact that MacNeil invited Browne to share his studio, persuaded him to pose for the bust, and traveled to the Four Corners with Garland as guide. 

MacNeil, with the recommendation of Augustus Saint Gaudens, went from New York to the Chicago World’s Fair to work under Philip Martiny, who was sculpting the Electricity Building.  After proving himself on the edifice spandrels and ornamentals, he was assigned “two statuary figures” on the upper structure.  The Electricity Building’s main entrance was dominated by an  imposing statue of Benjamin Franklin.    Inside were housed the Tower of Light, displays by Western Electric, General Electric, American Bell Telephone, Edison’s latest phonographs and hundreds of other electrical exhibits from around he world.  The exhibit was truly a celebration of the “modern” era of “Electricity.”

In 1894  after the Fair, Hermon modeled, completed, and cast the bronze bust of of Browne.  Their trip together in 1895 inspired a decade of sculpting Native American images.  Four decades of memorials, monuments, statues, building pediments and facades, coins, medallions, followed from his College Point Studio.

The “Prayer for Rain” depicts the Moqui (Hopi) runner carrying the snakes to the river to activate the rain cycle of nature.

SILVER -One of only 20 minted ~ SOM.#3 – 1931 Hopi Prayer for Rain 1931

In 1931, Hermon MacNeil would again memorialize that Four Corners trip in his design for the Society of Medalists — Third IssueNearly four decades later that inspiration would return afresh in the “Hopi Runner” — “Prayer for Rain”

~~~~~~~~~

Hamlin Garland

Garland, the leader of the adventure, was 31 years-old when he led his two friends on their tour to the west.  His story and exploits have been told in many other postings on this website:

Hamlin Garland: Story in 3 Parts  by Dan Leininger, webmaster

PART 1 – “Hamlin Garland ~ MacNeil’s Guide”  MacNeil and Hamlin Garland

PART 2 – The Garland Homestead in Wisconsin ~ A Hamlin Garland Memorial

PART 3 – Hermon MacNeil and Hamlin Garland ~ Connections Through the Years

Hamlin Garland was an accomplished novelist

Main-Travelled Roads was his first major success. It was a collection of short stories inspired by his days on the farm. He serialized a biography of Ulysses S. Grant in McClure’s Magazine before publishing it as a book in 1898. The same year, Garland traveled to the Yukon to witness the Klondike Gold Rush, which inspired The Trail of the Gold Seekers (1899). He lived on a farm between Osage, and St. Ansgar, Iowa for quite some time. Many of his writings are based on this era of his life.

By the time of the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893,[7] Hamlin moved to Chicago, where he lived at 6427 South Greenwood Avenue in the Woodlawn neighborhood. He is considered “a significant figure in the Chicago Literary Movement” and “one of Chicago’s most important authors”.[8] Moccasin Ranch Park, located near address, is named in his honor.[8]

“Sell the cook the stove if necessary and come. You must see the fair”
-Novelist Hamlin Garland to his parents in 1893-

In Illinois, Garland married Zulime Taft, the sister of sculptor Lorado Taft, and began working as a teacher and a lecturer.[9]

A prolific writer, Garland continued to publish novels, short fiction, and essays. In 1917, he published his autobiography, A Son of the Middle Border. The book’s success prompted a sequel, A Daughter of the Middle Border, for which Garland won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. After two more volumes, Garland began a second series of memoirs based on his diary. Garland naturally became quite well known during his lifetime and had many friends in literary circles.[10] He was made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1918.[4]  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamlin_Garland)

 

CREDITS:

  1. Wendy Greenhouse, PhD.  “Charles Francis Browne  1859–1920″. M. Christine Schwartz Collection (https://schwartzcollection.com/artist/charles-francis-browne/  )  retrieved September 20, 2021.  This extensive biographical summary of the life of Charles Francis Browne is the most extensive and detailed documentary piece posted of his life and career.
  2. Melissa Wolfe Ph.D. and Joel S. Dryer © Illinois Historical Art Project.  “Charles Francis Browne (1859-1920).”   https://www.illinoisart.org/charles-francis-browne.  retrieved September 21, 2021.

 

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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.
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