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 ???

Feb
03

MacNeil Month 2022 ~ Week 1 ~ Cecelia MacNeil’s alarm for the Washington Arch in 1974.

By

Twenty-seven years after Hermon MacNeil’s death,  Cecelia Weick MacNeil, his second-wife, wrote a series of three articles which she entitled:

“Sculptor Americanus:

HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL”

Cecelia MacNeil, RN (1945). Born Cecelia Weick in 1897. She served as a nurse in WWI in the European theater. She married Karl Weick in about 1920.

 

Cecelia opens the first of three articles with memories of her 12th Birthday in 1909. 

Born in 1897, Cecelia Weick told the story of first the day that she ever heard the name of “Hermon Atkins MacNeil”  

NOTE:  Thirty-seven years later … Hermon would ask her to marry him.  

As a birthday surprise, 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 their visit to that sculpture this way:

 

Owen Schweers, my own grandson, in front of “The Sun Vow” that Cecelia Weick and her father saw on her 12th Birthday. He visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City about 110 Years after Cecelia. That particular casting of MacNeil’s statue was placed there by Daniel Chester French.

“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 away so 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.”

 

Sculptor AMERICANUS

CECELIA opened her first of three articles with those memories of her 12th Birthday.   Continuing, she describes her sculptor, hero, and sunset-partner with the following phrases:

The Sculptor:

  • MODESTY was so much a part of Hermon MacNeil
    • Will my words of praise cause his spirit to stir ?
    • Will my words cause his truly American soul to BLUSH?
  • A successful bronze gives the sculptor a few steps toward immortality.
  • A Creator of Memorials, Coins and Medals
  • Time has made almost Hermon a forgotten American type …
    • an extinct species
    • whose works are ravaged by time, corrosion, spoilage …
  • Hermon loved sculpting American Indians in their naturalness and beauty.
  • Cecelia cites Jean Stansbury Holden’s description of Hermon in 1907 as:
    • a boyish, slender, medium height, with large eyes that meet you with a twinkle
    • a serious sculptor when working …
    • without pretense of his accomplishments …
    • When keeps his medals from:
      • Chicago Exposition – 1893;
      • Paris Exposition – 1900
      • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY – 1901
      • Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis – 1904
      • and numerous others
      • IN DRAWERS in his studio, and rubs off some of the tarnish before showing them
      • TRULY without Pretension or POMP.

AMERICANUS: 

Quoting Jean Stansbury Holden she adds,

“While his work shows this variety in subject and treatment, one quality runs through it all; Whatever he touches is, in its very essence American; it smacks of the soil.” 1

Mrs. MacNeil then suggests:

American history can be studied by totaling up Hermon’s works.  This can be seen by mentioning a mere scattering of examples — The Pony Express, McKinley, The Pilgrim Fathers, Pere Marquette, Ezra Cornell, George Rogers Clark, the eastern pediment of the United States Supreme Court Building — and the most familiar and relevant of all, the marble of Washington as Commander-in-Chief, which along with Stirling Calder’s figure of Washington as President, graces Stanford White’s Washington Arch in Greenwich Village.  (bold added).

Source: Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”. (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974, p. 54.

BUT then Cecelia sounded a shrill alarm for the Washington Arch.  Pointing out 1974 photos showing decades of decay.   Air pollution.  traffic (Cars, buses) traveled through the arch for over 75 years.   Cleaning by abrasive sandblasting and eroded the soft marble of both statues by MacNeil and Calder.

Figure 6 shows the toll on MacNeil’s statue of Washington’s pitted face.

She writes:

“Washington’s nose has been carelessly damaged by thoughtless sandblasting (figure 6).   Sandblasting marble!  Now th first President resembles a leper. Aldolph Block, former student of Hermon, reknowned (sic) president of the National Sculpture Society (as Hermon was on two different occasions) despairs over the disaster to this historical landmark.  Smog from the air, vandalism, time, such factors can be expected.  But destruction such as Washington has suffered, accidental as it may have been, seems all too contemporary.”  

Over the years Cecelia MacNeil wrote many letters to the responsible officials seemingly hopeless battle.”  Her complaints as well as Mr. Block’s were “for all intents and purposes, ignored. 

Cecelia shares her familiarity with her late partner by suggesting:

1916 Photo of the installation of the MacNeil statue. Thia appears to have the statue sitting in the right hand leg of the Arch. The left leg is where it was permanently installed. Photo Credit: John Gomez, NYC. [ https://i0.wp.com/hermonatkinsmacneil.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/MacNeil-Washington-Arch-1.jpeg?resize=799%2C1024&ssl=1 ]

“One can NOT imagine Hermon and his fellow sculptors ignoring Washington’s face.  In no time at all a group of them, most of whom worked with Hermon, would have a scaffold up.  A roster would include (Phillip) Martiny, Daniel Chester French, Augustus St. Gaudens, Alexander Stirling Calder, giants all.  I can see Hermon chewing on a small cigar, making jokes.”         

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

This concludes

Part 1 of MacNeil Month.

In Part 2 we will examine the

History and RESTORATION of the Washington Arch and the

two Washington Statues.

~~~~~~~~~~~

READ MORE:   History of Washington Arch by New York Architecture

~~~~~~~~~~~

FOOTNOTES:

Traffic in the 1950s

  1. Holden, Jean Stansbury (October 1907). “The Sculptors MacNeil“. The World’s Work: A History of Our Time XIV: 9403–9419. [Retrieved from GOOGLE eBooks]
  2. 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.
  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. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.

~~~~~~~

Related posts:

WASHINGTON ARCH in the 1920’s

  1. INDEPENDENCE DAY Images ~ from Hermon A. MacNeil (5) Here are a few images of  Independence from Hermon Atkins…
  2. Washington Statues “Bleeding” with Red Paint! MacNeil & Calder works defaced. (5) We were saddened to hear that “red paint” was splattered…
  3. The death of Carol Brooks MacNeil and Hermon MacNeil’s remarriage. (5) Cecelia W. Muench MacNeil In 1944 Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil…
  4. Happy (actual) Birthday, Mr. Washington! ~~~ ~~~ Visit New York City for MacNeil Month ~~~ (#8) (4) George Washington  February 22, 1732 Pictured below is Hermon A. …
  5. MacNeil’s “General George Washington” shows up on “Forgotten New York” virtual tour. (4) On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington…
  6. Senator Bernie Sanders Calls for a Political Revolution at Washington Arch. (4) NEW YORK CITY — In Washington Square Park last evening,…
Categories : Location

Leave a Reply

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
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.           WATCH US GROW

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