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~ 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!

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Archive for December, 2021

Cecelia W. Muench MacNeil

In 1944 Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil died after extended illness. 

During her months of declining health, she was nursed at home by her family and a home health nurse named, Cecelia Weick Muench, RN. 

Cecelia Weick had served in the US Army as a battlefield Nurse during the World WarCaring for wound soldiers in war zones, she was no stranger to trauma and suffering.

As a young girl, her father taught her to appreciate art and took her to museums.  He introduced her to “The Sun Vow” at the MMA.  He told her that Hermon MacNeil was a “great American sculptor”. So she knew the name and fame of the Sculptors Macneil all her adult life.

So when an opportunity came for Cecelia to enter the MacNeil home and care for Carol during her dying months, she was more than just “another nurse.”  She was a battle-hardened R.N. who could appreciate the works and careers of these two sculptors as their lives were parting in the months of Carol’s dying. 

She must have brought a nurse’s compassion and an art lovers appreciation with her into this family of sculptors.

In her later years, Cecelia described herself by saying:

“I am familiar, too familiar, with death and dying, with the totality that is the human condition.” 1

She had a front row seat to Hermon’s lived-grief over the loss of his “Carrie.”  But as Carol’s condition worsened, the needs exceeded the home-care options of the day.  She was admitted to the Jamacia (Queens) Hospital.

Eventually, Carol Brooks MacNeil died there on June 22, 1944.

With the death of Carol MacNeil on June 22, 1944, the fifty-year partnership of the “Sculptors MacNeil” ended.  Their connection which began in the “White City” of the Chicago Worlds Fair, continued through their years of training in Rome and Paris, maturing in Queens, NY, during the four decades they shared their College Point Studio and home.

For the next two years Hermon MacNeil continued to live alone in his College Point home.   Next door was to the stone Studio building where he and Carol had sculpted together through the years of their marriage.   Hermon must have felt an emptiness without Carol in his life, home and studio.

Postcard of MacNeil studio in College Point. From the webmaster’s collection.

Two 2nd Marriages

Hermon married Cecilia W. Muench in 1945.  Cecelia was nearly 30 years younger than Hermon.  Both of them had been recently widowed.

After serving in the World War, Cecelia Muench had married and continued her career as a RN.  In 1940 a snapshot of her life was captured in the 1940 U.S. Census.  She was 43 years old living in Queens, New York, with Karl, her husband, two daughters, Dorothy (18), Sarah (17) and a son, Karl (13).   Her mother, Anna Weick also lived with the family. 

Cecilia Weick first heard the name of “Hermon Atkins MacNeil” in 1909 on her 12th birthday.  To celebrate, her father took her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Ascending into the American Wing, they sat down on a bench near MacNeil’s sculpture group of “The Sun Vow.”  Sixty-four years later, Cecelia described that sculpture this way:

My own grandson in front of “The Sun Vow” at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Sun Vow portrays two Indians, elder and younger, chief and future brave, grandfather and grandson.  The grandfather, his body still subtle and strong, is weary just the same. The viewer knows that the chieftain’s feathered head-dress … will never again be worn.  The old Indian holds this symbol of authority on his lap as he presses the young Indian to him.  The grandchild holds an arrowless bow, symbolizing the celebration of coming of age in the in Indian lore but transcending the culture of any age.  For when the young brave is able to shoot an arrow into the son, far enough awayso that its decent to earth passes unseen, then he has attained manhood. 

After at least five minutes of silence my father commented.

“Ceil, the man who created this work is surely one of the greatest American Sculptors. Never, never forget his name.”

I am still a romantic.  My father’s words were to be part of my destiny.  37 years later I married Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

The photo on the cover shows the original plaster model of Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s “The Sun Vow”, executed in Rome while the sculptor was on a Reinhart scholarship.

Cecelia told this story of her 12th birthday in opening paragraphs of an article that she published in 1974, under the title, “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil.” 1 Two additional articles completed the series of her remembrances.

Sculptor Americanus

MORE from this series of articles by Cecelia Weick MacNeil will be told in the coming months of the New Year.

So return

here

to

 

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/

for

MORE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES:

  1. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974,  pp. 10-13, 54.
  2. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.
  3. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Second in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, May 1974,  pp. 28-31.
  4. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Third in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, June 1974,  pp. 32-35, 51.
  5.  

 

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
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