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

~ This Gallery celebrates my great Uncle, Hermon Atkins MacNeil an American classic sculptor of the Beaux Arts School.  He sculpted Native images and American history:  ~ World’s Fairs, statues, monuments, coins, and more…  ~ Over 300 stories (25 per page) in 10 pages. (Click on Next Page >> at bottom).  View thousands of photos from this virtual MacNeil Gallery.  It stretches from New York to New Mexico ~ Oregon to S. Carolina.   ~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth. ~ Hot-links ( lower right) lead to works by Hermon Atkins MacNeil.  ~~Do you WALK or DRIVE by MacNeil sculptures DAILY!  ~ CHECK OUT my Uncle Hermon’s works here!

Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster

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

Search Results for "Abraham Lincoln bust"

Lincoln buff and talented amateur photographer David B. Wiegers sent us a photo of an additional “Lincoln Lawyer” bust by Hermon A. MacNeil. 

This one makes its home in the Law Library at Pennsylvania University.  Dave snapped these shots there recently.

Law Library at Pen Law School. ~~~ PHOTOS: Courtesy of Dave Wiegers Photography

 

The piece resides at the Law Library of the University of Pennsylvania.  It is new to this website.

Eight of these busts were cast in about 1911 from a standing Lincoln piece that MacNeil sculpted in 1911.

Wiegers pairs (1.) his love of photography with (2.) a quest to travel to every Lincoln statue and monument in the 35 states he has visited in the last 15 years.

  • See his story at: https://dbwiegers.zenfolio.com/about.html
  • And view over 500 photos of his Lincoln Collection on the front end of his website: https://dbwiegers.zenfolio.com/  

Not pictured on his website is his Boston Terrier, named “Lincoln.”

© Dave Wiegers Photography

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

The Penn Law Journal describes their “Lincoln Lawyer Bust” this way:

 Opposite the front entrance, in full view straight ahead on the massive staircase leading up to the library from the Great Hall, stands a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, who led the most massive legal and political reform the United States has ever known, is a superb example of legal greatness as Lewis Hall has memorialized it-of revolution in the interest of tradition. For Lincoln avowedly fought to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, even as he essentially restructured the legal landscape in the interests of fundamental justice.

The statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Great Hall, which faces the original entrance to the Law School, was immediately visible upon passing through the massive twin doors on 34th Street. The symbolic power of the statue, the role of Lincoln as martyr to resurrection of the righteousness of the American republic, gave students a tangible focus for legal greatness, a sense that lawyerly skills were integral to the discernment and sense of justice of the most heroic of all American presidents.

The Penn Law Journal of 2014 [Vol. 31, Iss. 2 [2014], Art. 1 ]

“Uncle Hermon would be Proud too.”  dnl

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“Abraham Lincoln” with Marian Fretueg (right) and head librarian (left) greeted us at Rushville Public Library.

My previous posting on May 13, 2019 (CLICK HERE) shared another discovery of this website.  Namely, for nearly a century an additional “Lincoln Lawyer” bust has made its a home on the Illinois prairie in Rushville.

Well, I could not resist a visit there.  So, I took a side trip to Rushville on a recent vacation voyage through my old home state of Illinois.

And guess what I found? Ta Dah!

Another of Hermon MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” was found at the Rushville (Illinois) Public Library. The happy webmaster was pleased to see it and meet the Library staff

 

I am sure you recognize Abe Lincoln.  Well the guy smilin’ on the right is me, Dan Leininger [the “happy webmaster of https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/ ].

Rushville is county seat of Schuyler County. The ‘new’ Public Library is located about seven  blocks north of the downtown.  The concrete sidewalks, driveway, and parking lot give easy access to walk-up, drive-up, or pedal-up traffic. The Stone and buff-brick building is clean, inviting with open access to all stacks.

Marian Fretueg a board member and volunteer (pictured on far right), sent an email inquiring about my knowledge of this bust by Hermon A. MacNeil.

Marian asked the Library Board for permission to publish the re-discovery of the “Lawyer Lincoln” bust on this website.

She said that the donor of the bust was Albert Morris Bagby of New York City.  He grew up in Rushville, Illinois and became a successful musician studying with Franz Liszt. She said, “He left our little town and studied in Germany and then ended settling in New York City.”

Mr. Bagby had the bust shipped to Rushville in 1928 to be temporarily placed at the city’s library for the enjoyment of all the patrons.  Marian stated, “For some reason or other, the sculpture was never moved from our library.   It is now proudly on display in the new building for the Rushville Public Library. 

Bagby began his “Musical Morning” show in 1891 at his own private studio at 152 W. 57th Street. MacNeil later taught at the Art Students League of New York located in the American Fine Arts Building, one block away, at 215 West 57th Street,Several years later he moved it to the Waldorf-Astoria, the Unofficial Palace of New York, located on 34th Street at 5th Avenue. His life story is a fascinating one.  CLICK HERE:

I suspect that there must have been some connection between Hermon MacNeil and Mr. Bagby. MacNeil had studios in Manhattan, NYC. Maybe we could link the histories of these two men.  That would make a great story to research the two men and the possible intersection of their lives.

Hermon sculpted many statues and monuments around NYC. He also did private work with many persons of prominence there.  

Mr. Bagby. He obviously donated many items to his hometown through the years. His heart never seemed to lose affection for his home town.  Rushville may not have been fully aware of the “treasure” that their native son left them in the “Lawyer Lincoln.”  Perhaps the new Rushville Public Library home can raise community awareness and pride in this treasure and history. 

Bagby, Albert Morris, 1859-1941

Biographical notes:

Albert Morris Bagby was born in Rushville, Illinois on April 29, 1859 to Mary Agnes Scripps of Jackson, Missouri and John Courts Bagby from Glasglow, Kentucky. After completing his primary education in the United States, Bagby traveled to Europe to study music.

He first studied under Professor Scharwenka at the Berlin Conservatory and later with Franz Liszt in Weimar. Before Bagby died in 1941, he was considered one of the last links to Mr. Liszt. Though never a virtuoso performer himself, Bagby was an ardent admirer and pupil of the great pianist and so devoted his life to the patronage of music and performance. (Time Magazine, March 10, 1941)

After returning from Europe, Bagby was invited to give music lectures at various socialite clubs in New York. These lectures, often with piano accompaniment, turned into luxurious concerts. At first Bagby sought to call his recitals “Matinee Musicale,” but at the urging of his friend, Miss Louise McAllister, the name was changed to “Musical Morning.” (The Unofficial palace of New York, p. 99)

The first official Musical Morning was held in 1891 at Bagby’s own private studio at 152 W. 57th Street in New York. The concert series was so popular that a larger space was needed. (Emanuel Feuerman, p.89) Bagby refused to rent public music halls, which he felt would destroy the personal and intimate nature of the performance. Fortunately, an ideal site for performance and private society presented itself when a new hotel opened its doors on 5th Avenue and 34th Street. The Waldorf-Astoria (on 34th Street, and then in 1929 its new location) became the new home of Bagby’s Musical Morning, remaining so until its end in 1941. (The Unofficial palace of New York, p. 97,100)

Following each Musical Morning (which were attended by subscription only), Bagby would host a lunch for a few dozen of his most notable guests. Conversing easily with royalty, socialites and skilled musicians, Bagby became a popular figure in the social life of Europe and America. (Time Magazine, March 10, 1941)

Offering performances by almost every distinguished artist in the United States, Bagby succeeded in both providing elite entertainment and funds for The Bagby Music Lovers’ Foundation, Inc. The foundation, established at the 300th Musical Morning in January, 1925 was set up to give pensions to elderly musicians as a “reward for their unforgettable service to music.” (The Unofficial palace of New York, p. 95, 101)

In addition to his life work with Musical Morning, Bagby also traveled to Europe quite extensively, attending performances at Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth Festival and visiting friends.

While living at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, Bagby received hundreds of letters and postcards from the European royal families who had attended his performances and seen him in Europe. Most of the letters thanked Bagby for his kindness and generous gifts.

With most of Europe in turmoil after the Second World War, it was often difficult to purchase books and magazines in English. Bagby, being the generous individual that he was, acted almost as a courier service, sending books, encyclopedias, and subscriptions to National Geographic and The Spur to various European royal families. The missives also contained personal notes about the family’s wellbeing, and a request that Bagby visit next time he was in Europe.

Besides being a musician, Bagby was also a writer. When he was younger he contributed to various periodicals, and in 1895 published his first novel, a musical romance entitled Miss Traumerei. In 1904 he wrote Mamie Rosie, a fictional account a young musician’s journey to stardom.

Later in life Bagby gave back to his home town by donating various volumes, statues and paintings to the Rushville Public Library. Albert Morris Bagby died of pneumonia on February 27, 1941 at the age of 81, ending his five-decade career as director of Musical Morning. (Time Magazine, March 10, 1941).

  • From the description of [Albert Morris Bagby collection]. 1890-1960. (Pritzker Military Library). WorldCat record id: 236876955 http://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w6s76w29

  • The Unofficial Palace of New York: A Tribute to the Waldorf-Astoria, hardcover – 1939 by Frank Crowninshield (Author).

 

 

Related Images:

“Lincoln Lawyer” Hermon MacNeil’s sculpture bust of Abraham Lincoln. Pictured at its home for the last 91 years.

Since 2010, this website has become a gathering point for questions and information about Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

The most recent inquiry came from the “Land of Lincoln” about MacNeil’s Abraham Lincoln which depicts the young Illinois lawyer in his clean-shaven years riding the 8th Circuit of the Illinois Court.

Marian Fretueg wrote the following:

While I was doing some research I came across a 1928  Rushville Times of Rushville, Illinois newspaper article which told of a bust of Abraham Lincoln sculpted by Hermon A. MacNeil purchased by Albert Morris Bagby of New York City.  Mr. Bagby had the bust shipped to Rushville and was to be temporarily placed at the city’s library to be enjoyed by all the patrons.  Rushville, Illinois was Mr. Bagby’s hometown.  For some reason or other, the sculpture was never moved from our library and it now proudly on display in our new library.

After some research I could not find where this sculpture is mentioned anywhere, there was a bust of Abraham Lincoln at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  Were you aware of this sculpture?  I am sure it is the real thing with his name and the bronze factory where it was made on the base of the sculpture. 

I have included a picture of the bust, the autograph of Mr. MacNeil’s and the stamp of the Roman Bronze Works.  There is also a copy of the accessions book where the bronze bust was given to the library in 1928.

It was so exciting when I was reading about Mr. Bagby’s gift and then reading about Mr. MacNeil and how famous he was.  I would love to hear from you and find out if you were aware of this bust.  

Thank you so much for your time.

Marian Fretueg

The distinctive signature of the artist on the back of the bust. LincolnRushvilleIL-4.jpg

LincolnRushvilleIL-4.jpg

Dear Marian Fretueg,

Thank you for your kind email and the lovely pictures of Rushville Public Library’s “Lincoln Lawyer” By Hermon Atkins MacNeil. I ask your permission to publicize this work as the Webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com

I can tell you are a researcher, because you found my ‘digital museum’ dedicated to the life and work of Hermon A. MacNeil, or as my late mother called him, her “Uncle Hermon”

I would like to visit the Rushville Library to meet you and to photograph this piece for posting on my website. Your piece has its own history in Rushville as a “Land of Lincoln” community with a benefactor donating this beautiful monument to the prairie lawyer who rode the 8 Circuit that covers Rushville and much of Illinois.

To my knowledge eight (8) of these MacNeil Works were cast at Roman Bronze Works (RBW) in New York City. The Rushville piece would appear to be the 5th of the eight that I am able to locate with my website and help from researchers like yourself.  As the enclosed link tells the history, the original statue was a Standing Lincoln submitted in about 1924 for a contest of a commission which MacNeil did not win.  

About 1928 he had 8 busts cast at RBW using the original Standing Lincoln as his model.  Lorado Taft loved the piece and recommended it to the University of Illinois to grace the marble foyer of Lincoln Hall at the university.

The Hall was remodeled about 2010. I have humorous stories in the link below that tell how the Lincoln Lawyer bust was “locked-up” for safe keeping during the 1 year of reconstruction. It was also “kidnapped” by students at one point in the university’s history. 

I have 11 different stories (postings) that come up in a search of “Lincoln Lawyer” as I call this piece of MacNeil work. There are 2 pages that come up on this brief search. Click below to see the articles in the search: 

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/?s=lincoln+lawyer

Thus began our discussion on this recent discovery.

Thanks to Marian Fretueg and Rushville Public Library, photos of another “Lincoln Lawyer” by Hermon MacNeil has been added to the website.

This accounts for five of the eight castings made at Roman Bronze Works in 1928.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE OF THE STORY of Rushville’s Lincoln to be posted later.

Roman Bronze Works of New York City was a casting foundary that made thousands of bronze statues on the 19th and 20th centuries

Roman Bronze Works (RBW) of New York City was a casting foundry that made thousands of bronze statues on the 19th and 20th centuries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Images:

July 21, 2011. The restored bust on display at the Spurlock Museum at University of Illinois. After a thorough cleaning and patina restoration, MacNeil’s Lincoln bust went on public display for one year in the Spurlock Museum. This was the first showing of the piece in full circle — 360 degree visibility.

     MacNeil’s Abe Lincoln (above) was cleaned and the patina restored in 2011 when Lincoln Hall was reconstructed for its 100th Anniversary.  

     After six years back in his old niche in the east foyer entrance of beautiful Lincoln Hall, I was curious about how much wear Lincoln’s “lucky nose” had sustained from student caresses on their way to exams and classes.

     So, while traveling to visit family in Kentucky, Virginia, and NC in July 2017, we made opportunity to spend the night in Urbana, Illinois. We turned very appropriately onto “Lincoln Street” off of I-74 and found a motel for the night.  

The next morning (Monday, July 31st) we ventured off toward the restored Lincoln Hall on the University of Illinois campus.  Wiggling through blocks of summer street construction into Wright Street, we parked and walked toward the Main Quad.

Larado Taft’s Alma Mater

Lorado Taft’s powerful allegorical grouping “Alma Mater” (with Learning and Labor) at the corner of Eighth and Wright Street greeted us.  (Taft was the alumnus who recommended MacNeil’s bust of Lincoln over other artists considered for placement in the Hall in 1924.) For More on Taft click HERE

We met an alumnae who had dropped her son off for summer workshops.  She asked us to take her picture with the Alma Mater behind her.  Turned out she was originally from Beresford, SD and planned to retire in the Black Hills. Small world.

Abe Lincoln’s nose has a well worn shine again. The patina restoration in 2011 has given way to the”petting” and “well wishes of 100’s of hands” seeking blessings from Old Honest Abe.

We walked into the old quadrangle at the  center of campus.  Walking the brick walks of the lush green lawn. we arrived at the east entrance of Lincoln Hall. We stopped to admire the terra-cotta bas-relief panels placed above the high windows of the building. They depict scenes from the life of the prairie lawyer memorialized in this beautiful hall.

The restored East Foyer of Lincoln Hall with its gilded vaulted ceiling and columns makes a dramatic setting for Hermon A. MacNeil’s bust of Abraham Lincoln as the famed prairie lawyer who left Illinois to lead the nation through the War to preserve the Union and the succession South states.

Entering the East Foyer, we could see the Lincoln bust before us.  The magnificent Beaux Arts style of the ceiling formed a vaulted arch spanning above the wings of the white marble stairs and landing.  This splendidly restored foyer dominated the life-size bust of our sixteenth President centered on the landing in its gold-leafed niche.

The tradition of touching Lincoln’s nose for “good luck” has passed on to another generation of Illini students since the restoration.

Even from the doorway a “bronze glow” could be glimpsed on Abe Lincoln’s nose.  He was wearing his well-worn shine again. As predicted, the brown patina of the 2011 restoration had given way to the”petting” and “well wishes of 100’s of hands” seeking blessings from Old Honest Abe.  The tradition has carried on to Lincoln Hall’s second century.

The bronze relief plaque containing the words of the Address at Gettysburg was on our right.  The gold gilding of the column capitals and the rosettes in the vaulted arch of the ceiling, gave an inspiring elegance to this hall of remembrance.

In the elegance of this hallowed hall, Abe’s “accessible nose” adds a tactile legacy and fitting tribute to learning in the “Land of Lincoln.

Related Images:

HAM-Lincoln-bust-plaster-full

Finishing touches clean the marble niche where MacNeil’s Lincoln bust will greet Illini students in Lincoln Hall

A 1958 photo of lawyer Abe Lincoln as he appeared at the time of the debates with Senator Stephen Douglas

A 1958 photo of lawyer Abe Lincoln (with NO beard) as he appeared at the time of the debates with Senator Stephen Douglas and as MacNeil portrayed him.

Hermon MacNeil’s bronze bust of self-educated Illinois Lawyer Abe Lincoln was returned to its gloriously restored niche in Lincoln Hall on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana to begin its second century on the Illinois Circuit of higher education.

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil's Lincoln standing.

MacNeil’s standing Lincoln model from the Smithsonian Institute photo archives. The piece was made for a commission competition after 1906.

MacNeil originally sculpted a full length, standing model of the Illinois Lawyer that he later re-sculpted as a bust. From that piece he had Roman Bronze Works make eight castings of his Lincoln Lawyer. In 1928 at the recommendation of Lorado Taft, the University of Illinois purchased this one of the MacNeil sculptures of the younger Lincoln

In 1929, MacNeil’s work provided an iconic centerpiece for the Grand Stairway foyer of newly designed building.  On February 12, 2012, the restored bust was returned to its original niche, in the beautifully renovated Lincoln Hall.

For MORE history on the “Lawyer Lincoln” CLICK HERE

PHOTOS and MORE:  The lead photo above and three photos below are from the website of the Lincoln Hall Renovation (CLICK HERE) project at the University of Illinois.  They show the re-installation of MacNeil’s work.  The University has now completed the $66.4 million dollar restoration (Fact Sheet) of Lincoln Hall.  [SEE MORE MacNeil-Lincoln history below the photos]:

MacNeil's restored bust of young Abe Lincoln was bolted to a marble plate that could be cemented into place.

MacNeil’s restored bust of young Abe Lincoln was bolted to a marble plate that could be cemented into place.

 

The work crew of masons set the MacNeil's Lincoln bust back into the niche at the Grand Staircase of Lincoln Hall

The work crew of masons set the MacNeil’s Lincoln bust back into the niche at the Grand Staircase of Lincoln Hall

HAM-Lincoln-bust-sweep-full

A worker sweeps the marble stairs of Lincoln Hall foyer as photographers get set to record the return of Hermon MacNeil’s bust of young Lawyer Abe Lincoln to its perch where a second century of Illini students will pass by.

Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings. the  others “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear incomplete as follows:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4            Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

Related Images:

Hermon MacNeil's sculpture of Abe Lincoln wears a 'Happy Birthday' Hat

Abe Lincoln is helping celebrate Hermon A. MacNeil’s birthday on February 27th of this week. The sculptor was born in 1866 in Chelsea, Mass nearly ten months after Mr. Lincoln was assassinated.

Actually, the statue’s festive hat shown here was for the 100th birthday of the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois where the restored sculpture has been displayed for the last year.

This week the Abe Lincoln will be moved by university officials (not the Statue Liberation Society as in 1979 – CLICK HERE).  After March 1st the bust will be set into place in the refurbished Lincoln Hall.

Only three days remain to see the restored statue of Abraham Lincoln in-the-round, the way Hermon MacNeil sculpted it.

A visit to Illinois last week included a stop at the Abe Lincoln bust at Spurlock Museum at U of I. The sculpture will no longer be viewable in-the-round after being returned to its permanent home in the sparklingly-restored Lincoln Hall on campus.

MacNeil’s Abe Lincoln bust of the clean-shaven Illinois lawyer, senator and orator has become a beloved icon of Campus history.  The MacNeil work of Lincoln will continue to greet students, visitors and staff from central prominence in the spiral stairway.  It gives dramatic focus to the Main Entrance of the Hall named for this favorite son.   

The relocation will add the ‘crowning’ touch to the Main Lobby.  Once again, MacNeil’s ‘Lawyer Lincoln’ will look out from his perch in the circular stairwell.

In traveling through Champaign-Urbana, the Spurlock Museum was open last Saturday.  I made some poor-quality video of the statue in its 360 degree perspective and viewed again the MacNeil signature and ‘Roman Bronze Works’ marking on the rear of the piece.

MacNeil’s Lincoln, unlike most sculptures of him, is the ‘Lawyer Lincoln.’  Mr. Lincoln’s thirty-years in Illinois were the formative experiences that prepared him to be the statesman and leader of world-renown that he became as U.S. President during the preservation of the Union. (See the Feb 12th posting below)

The Lincoln bust will no longer be viewable in~the~round after this week.

Related Images:

Time is running out to see the refurbished Abraham Lincoln statue in-the-round, the way Hermon MacNeil sculpted it. 

MacNeil's Lincoln bust is beautifully restored on public display in the Spurlock Museum

We are told that the Spurlock Museum’s exhibit may end this spring or early summer.  The restored piece by Hermon A. MacNeil will return to the pristinely resurrected Lincoln Hall.  The relocation awaits the completion of the Main Lobby of the newly refurbished Hall.

Once again, MacNeil’s ‘Lawyer Lincoln’ will returned to his perch in the niche of the circular stairway.

Last time I traveled through Champaign, the Spurlock Museum was closed for the Christmas-New Year holidays.  I wanted to video the statue in its 360 degree perspective and rephotograph the MacNeil signature and ‘Roman Bronze Works’ marking on the rear of the piece.

MacNeil’s Lincoln, unlike most sculptures of him, is the ‘Lawyer Lincoln.’ He is clean-shaven, no beard, no ‘Mr. President Lincoln.’

This is THE Abe Lincoln of the ‘Land of Lincoln:’

  • Who came to Macon County in 1830 and build his father’s cabin.
  • Who would live in Illinois for the next 30 years.
  • Who settled in New Salem in 1831 to manage the mill.
  • Who volunteered with the Sangamon County company going to the Indian war in 1832.
  • Who returned to be appointed Postmaster of New Salem.
  • Who was elected to the State Legislature in 1834, 1836, 1838 and 1840.
  • Who courted Ann Rutledge, who died of ‘brain fever’ in 1835.
  • Who moved to the new Capitol in Springfield in 1837 to enter the practice of LAW with John T. Stuart.
  • Who Married Mary Todd of Kentucky in 1842.
  • Who was elected to Congress as a Whig in 1848.
  • Who traveled from Springfield by horseback across the County Seats of the Illinois Eighth Circuit Court.
  • Who argued over 5000 cases ranging from murder to boundary disputes
  • Who spoke in a simple and straightforward manner understandable by any farmer or citizen on the jury.
  • Whose quaint, homely stories were often filled with wit and humor and that made the point clearly.
  • Who campaigned for the the US Senate denouncing Stephen Douglas’popular sovereignty” doctrine.
  • Who received 110 ballots for nomination as Vice-President at the 1856 Republican National Convention.
  • Who delivered his “House Divided” speech at the Republican State convention of 1858.
  • Who challenged his opponent, Stephen Douglas, to seven debates across the state of Illinois in the 1858 Senatorial campaign.
  • Who from 1858 to 1860 made speeches throughout many states defining the Republican Party’s position.
  • Who won the Republican Party nomination and was elected President of the United States in 1860.
  • Who left Illinois after 30 years to seek to keep those same States “United.”
  • Whose body was returned to Illinois in 1865 for entombment in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield”
  • Hermon A. MacNeil's "Lincoln Lawyer" at the University of Illinois

  • “Now he belongs to the Ages”

Related Images:

As mentioned in the previous post of July 22, the Lincoln Hall statue at University of Illinois was cast from a standing Lincoln original plaster sculpture. The Smithsonian Institute archives contain a photo of that piece on right. [or CLICK HERE]

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil’s Lincoln standing.

MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” from U of I’s Lincoln Hall was modeled from the larger standing Lincoln plaster original

Note the folded arms, the papers in the right hand, and the young clean-shaven Lawyer Lincoln.  The resemblance of the Lincoln Hall figure (left) to the Smithsonian photo (right) is apparent (even in the reduced images seen here).

MacNeil’s original plaster statue of Lincoln (standing) very likely has been lost to the ages.  He sculpted it in 1914 for a competition of the Art Commission of Illinois.  They sought a statue for the City of Springfield. After the commission chose another sculpture, MacNeil worked with Roman Bronze Works  to cast 8 Lincoln busts from the original standing  Lincoln. 

The original may have been destroyed, or more probably, was stored in Roman Bronze Works  (RBW) warehouse . There it would have been subject to the foundry activities, moves, changes and decay of that facility’s history over the  past 100 years since MacNeil created the fragile plaster Lawyer Lincoln.  (Many renowned sculptors desired the “lost wax” method of casting which RBW made available in the U.S. ) During the thirty years from 1897 to 1927,  Roman Bronze Works resided in New York City. The story of RBW  after 1927 seems a bit more complicated:

Roman Bronze Works in New York City, established in 1897 by Ricardo Bertelli, was the pre-eminent sculpture bronze foundry in the United States during the American Renaissance. It continued to cast sculpture after that period ended. Its foundry, long a sub-contractor to Louis Comfort Tiffany‘s Tiffany Studios, moved to Tiffany’s Corona, New York, red brick factory in 1927.[1]

Roman Bronze Works, which made Tiffany’s bronze accessories and lamp bases, moved to Tiffany’s Corona facility in 1927. Roman Bronze Works was purchased in 1946 by Salvatore Schiavo, whose father had been working at the foundry since 1902. His nephew, Philip J. Schiavo, the grandson of the first Schiavo, was the president of the foundry until its closing.[4]

Roman Bronze Works 1890s New York City

 After the foundry closed, an auction was staged of original plaster models of major works by American artists, Frederic Remington, Daniel Chester French, Charles Russell, Bessie Potter Vonnoh and Anna Hyatt Huntington, in New York, 17 September 1988.[5] Some of the molds were moved to warehouse space in Copiague, New York, under the aegis of American Art Restoration, Inc..[6] Fortunately the business archives were preserved and are now at the Amon Carter Museum Library, Fort Worth, Texas.[7]In addition, the foundry has recently been reopened as Roman Bronze Studios by Brain Ramnarine who apprenticed and worked at Roman Bronze Works with Salvatore and Philip Schiavo.  (Source: Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Bronze_Works )

Whether MacNeil’s original plaster model of the standing Lincoln was transported in the 1927 move, or was part of the ownership transfer of 1946 (the year before MacNeil died), or was sold in the 1988 auction of American artists has yet to be documented by this researcher. Perhaps, it was destroyed after the eight busts were cast.  Though no recored of that is found either.Lucy C Rosenfield's RBW book  [A 2002 book  devoted to Roman Bronze Works, by Lucy D. Rosenfeld, A Century of American Sculpture The Roman Bronze Works Foundry bears a photo of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” on the cover. Rosenfeld used the firm’s ledgers and archival photographs now stored at the Amon Carter Museum. This volume warrants future investigation].

LINCOLN BUST FACTS:

  • The bust in Urbana was placed in Lincoln Hall in 1929.
  • This procurement suggested by Lorado Taft occurred fifteen years after the original sculpture was made.
  • The University of Illinois “Lincoln Lawyer” is the only one of MacNeil’s Lincoln busts pictured on this website,
  • It is the only one ever seen by this author,
  • It remains the only one readily found by web searching in general.
  • It is a truly beautiful piece that is now restored to its original patina and brilliance.

Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings. the  others “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear incomplete as follows:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

Related Images:

This past Friday I stopped at Spurlock Museum on the University of Illinois campus to see the newly refurbished bust of Abraham Lincoln that will return to the renovated Lincoln Hall in 2012.

Holly Koreb, Senior Director, and Dave  Evensen, both from the Office of Communications and Marketing at U of I’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,  met me at the museum for a guided viewing and photos.  She sent the  photo of me and Abe added below.  That is Abe on the left.  Thanks, Holly! 

(And BTW, Hermon A. MacNeil was my 1st Cousin twice removed.  But since he considered himself my mother’s Uncle Hermon and I think he was Great, I now consider him my Great Uncle Hermon.)  Back to the Lawyer Lincoln statue …

Beautifully restored and on public display at the Spurlock Museum. “H. A. MacNeil” is the signature on the left hand side of this Lincoln Bust. “Roman Bronze Works” is the foundry mark in small letters on the left rear corner

Examining MacNeil’s creation up close was a true thrill.  The restoration is beautifully done. The  rich brown patina gives the piece a radiance that has not been seen in half a century or more.

Webmaster Dan Leininger visited the Spurlock exhibit of MacNeil’s restored Lincoln Bust last week. (Tour and Photo courtesy of Holly Koreb).

The chance to find and record the MacNeil signature and foundry markings (see below) were a rare treat that will prove impossible in the bust’s niche at Lincoln Hall.

The display panel at the Spurlock states, in part:

The bust, by Hermon A. MacNeil, depicts Lincoln as a young lawyer with his arms folded holding a legal document in his right hand.  It was based on a full figured piece that MacNeil had submitted to the Art Commission of Illinois in a 1914 competition seeking a statue for the city of Springfield.

Although the design was not chosen, MacNeil cast eight busts from the upper part of the sculpture.  In this special exhibit it is possible for the first time to view the bust outside its niche.  You can see MacNeil’s fine work from all sides before it is returned to Lincoln Hall in 2012.

Lincoln the Lawyer , as depicted in Macneil’s sculpture, is one the least known aspects of this great American, BUT probably the BEST place to appreciate his skills, character and talents as a human being.  A segment of  an article from American History Magazine tells the ‘Lawyer – Lincoln’  story in this way:

Abraham Lincoln spent only four of his 56 years as president of the United States. Yet, given the importance of the events that marked his 1861-65 term of office, the nation’s admiration for him as a man of courage and principle, and the abundance of photographic images that recorded his presidency, it is hard for most people to think of him as anything else.  But there were other facets to the career of this man who led the nation through the Civil War years. Prior to his presidency, Lincoln honed his political skills and aspirations through the practice of law. 

 “The bulk of Lincoln’s courtroom work took place away from Springfield as he traveled twice a year with the presiding judge and fellow lawyers to the county seats of Illinois’ Eighth Circuit Court. Since most of those who served on the juries in these small towns were farmers and other country folk, Lincoln–himself a product of a rural environment and by nature a slow talker–recognized the need to argue his cases in the simplest and most straightforward manner. As one observer noted, ‘his illustrations were often quaint and homely, but always clear and apt, and generally conclusive. . . . His wit and humor and inexhaustible store of anecdotes, always to the point, added immensely to his powers as a jury advocate.'”  (Abraham Lincoln: The Lawyer.  American History |  Published: June 12, 2006 at 8:02 pm.  CLICK HERE to see entire article )

History records that Abraham Lincoln traveled the Eighth Circuit of Illinois for nearly a quarter of a century. He stood and spoke to citizens in courtrooms involving over 5000 cases ranging from sensational murder cases to the less glamorous issues of property ownership. (Adapted from David Wiegers, Gurnee, Illinois in his comments on Larado Taft’s standing Lincoln statue in Urbana, Illinois )

The statue is listed, along with over 125 others, in a “List of sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” from Donald Charles Durman’s book “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists of 3 locations for some of MacNeil’s other eight Lincoln busts.  This  bust belonging to the University of Illinois is not listed among them.  They are as follows:
  1. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4
  2. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  3. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

For an archive of Lincoln Bust postings click here:

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/category/location/illinois/university-of-illinois/

Related posts:

  1. “Honest Abe” On Public Display ~ MacNeil Month #7 (15.4) At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released…
  2. Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln! ~ MacNeil’s Sculpture Released from Vault ~ MacNeil Month #4 (14.3)Abe Lincoln will be a little late for his 202nd…
  3. MacNeil Bust of Lincoln Stored in Vault (13.5) Hermon Atkins MacNeil would probably be amused to know that…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[mappress mapid=”34″][mappress mapid=”34″]

 

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“Looking Good, Mr. Lincoln! The Lincoln Bust Gets Restored”

The University of Illinois has sent MacNeil’s “Abe Lincoln” to Chicago for 3 month for a restoration of the statue’s patina original.  Now the bust is on display at the Spurlock Museum.

The webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com gets a 20 second voice-over (2:40 to 3:00 min.) in this video.  Our webmaster is a bit tongue-tied, but he is quite sincere.

For the whole story of this “Land of Lincoln,” “Love of Lincoln,” “Lincoln Lore” saga, CHECK out these previous posts on the topic:

Related posts:

  1. “Honest Abe” On Public Display ~ MacNeil Month #7 (15.4) At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released…
  2. Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln! ~ MacNeil’s Sculpture Released from Vault ~ MacNeil Month #4 (14.3) Abe Lincoln will be a little late for his 202nd…
  3. MacNeil Bust of Lincoln Stored in Vault (13.5) Hermon Atkins MacNeil would probably be amused to know that…

 

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Hermon MacNeil included  2 Fasces
 
in his design for the
 
East Pediment

MacNeil – Supreme Court

 

 

The 2 Fasces of the East Pediment.   On Left in yellow circle: Man with traditional fascis. On Right in green circle: Woman with a grain sheath Fascis.

Additional Examples of 

FASCES in Washington, D.C. Capitol Area:

Two fasces appear on either side of the flag of the United States behind the podium in the United States House of Representatives, with bronze examples replacing the previous gilded iron installments during the remodeling project of 1950.[9]

Podium of the

U. S. House of Representatives:

Podium of the U. S. House of Representatives

 

These 2 large Bronze fasces frame both sides of the Flag of the United States behind the podium in the United States House of Representatives.  These larger-than-life bronze examples replaced the previous gilded iron installments during the remodeling project of 1950.[9]

 

Lincoln Memorial:

Daniel Chester Frenches tribute to

Lincoln’s Preservation of the Union

Seated In the marble throne supported by two Roman fasces symbols, Daniel Chester French’s “Lincoln” gazes contemplatively over the “preserved Union.”

At the Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln’s seat of state bears the fasces—without axes—on the fronts of its arms; fasces also appear on the pylons flanking the main staircase leading into the memorial.

Mercury Dime — Winged Liberty (reverse)

Fasces from the reverse of the Liberty (Winged Mercury) Dime minted from 1916 to 1945.

Another sculptor and colleague of Hermon MacNeil, Adolph Weinman, used a fasces motif in his coin design. The reverse of the Mercury Dime, the design [used until the adoption of the current FDR dime in 1945], features a fasces on the reverse side (tails).

“The Mercury dime is a ten-cent coin struck by the United States Mint from late 1916 to 1945. Designed by Adolph Weinman and also referred to as the Winged Liberty Head dime, it gained its common name because the obverse depiction of a young Liberty, identifiable by her winged Phrygian cap, was confused with the Roman god Mercury..

Other Uses of the “Fasces” in Art and Insignia.

  1.  Statue of Freedom  Fasces ring the base of the Statue of Freedom atop the United States Capitol building
  2. A frieze on the facade of the United States Supreme Court building depicts the figure of a Roman centurion holding a fasces, to represent “order”[10]
  3. The National Guard uses the fasces on the seal of the National Guard Bureau, and it appears in the insignia of Regular Army officers assigned to National Guard liaison and in the insignia and unit symbols of National Guard units themselves; for instance, the regimental crest of the 71st Infantry Regiment (New York) of the New York National Guard consisted of a gold fasces set on a blue background
  4. The official seal of the United States Tax Court bears the fasces at its center
  5. Four fasces flank the two bronze plaques on either side of the bust of Lincoln memorializing his Gettysburg Address at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  6. The seal of the United States Courts Administrative Office includes a fasces behind crossed quill and scroll
  7. In the Washington Monument, there is a statue of George Washington leaning on a fasces
  8. A fasces is a common element in US Army Military Police heraldry, most visibly on the shoulder sleeve insignia of the 18th Military Police Brigade and the 42nd Military Police Brigade
  9. A fasces also appears shoulder sleeve insignia of the US Army Reserve Legal Command
  10. Seated beside George Washington, a figure holds a fasces as part of The Apotheosis of Washington, a fresco mural suspended above the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building.
  11. On the podium of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington D.C., beneath Abraham Lincoln‘s right hand.  See Also: Capitol Hill Parks , National Capital Parks-East
  12. On the obverse of the 1896 $1 Educational Series note there is a fasces leaning against the wall behind the youth.
  13. In the Oval Office, above the door leading to the exterior walkway, and above the corresponding door on the opposite wall, which leads to the president’s private office; note: the fasces depicted have no axes, possibly because in the Roman Republic, the blade was always removed from the bundle whenever the fasces were carried inside the city, in order to symbolize the rights of citizens against arbitrary state power (see above). 

~~

 

Seated In the marble throne supported by two Roman fasces symbols, Lincoln gazes contemplatively over the “preserved Union.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasces Fasces article at Wikipedia

 

Federal fasces iconography

Emancipation Memorial

Emancipation Memorial
 

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Hermon MacNeil’s 3 Sculptures

for Presidents Day

2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presidents Day honors the February birthdays of

George Washington (Feb 22nd) and

Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12th)

Presidents’ Day, officially Washington’s Birthday, in the United States

(third Monday in February)

popularly recognized as honoring

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

The day is sometimes understood as a celebration of the

birthdays and lives of all U.S. presidents.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

View MacNeil’s Presidents yourself > > > >

George WashingtonPostings of MacNeil’s

George Washington as Commander-in-Chief

CLICK HERE 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Abraham Lincoln  –   Postings of MacNeil’s

Abraham LincolnPrairie Lawyer

CLICK HERE

 

William McKinley – Postings of MacNeil’s

William McKinkey

CLICK HERE

 

HAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY 2023

Related posts:

  1. ~ ~ ~ MacNeil’s SCULPTURES of PRESIDENTS ~ ~ ~ An Inauguration Day Reflection. (6) On this Presidential Inaugural Day, the 57th in our history,…
  2. Presidents Day 2020 ~~ MacNeil Month ~~ Wm. McKinley ~~ Abe Lincoln ~~ Geo. Washington ~~ “THEY ARE ALL THERE” — H.A MacNeil’s Sculptures of 3 Presidents ~~ (5)  “They are still there” celebrates several re-visits and discoveries of…
  3. Happy Birthday Mr. Washington! ~ Part TWO ~ MacNeil Month #6 ~ The President Who would NOT be King. (4) NOTE: February 22nd marks the 279th Birthday of George Washington….
  4. INDEPENDENCE DAY Images ~ from Hermon A. MacNeil (4) Here are a few images of  Independence from Hermon Atkins…
  5. Hermon Atkins MacNeil to be featured in “The Galley” (4) Hermon MacNeil was the first president of the Clan MacNeil…
  6. 153rd Anniversary of the Birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil ~ American Sculptor ~ Feb 27, 1866 (4) I never met Hermon MacNeil. I never met my maternal…

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Hermon Atkins MacNeil

MacNeil Month has FOUR Pillars: 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil’s Lincoln standing.

  Abraham Lincoln

is “Pillar #3

Born on February 12, 1809

& Sculpted by

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

in 1914″

MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” Bust was modeled from a now extinct piece known as the

Standing Lincoln

right =========>

The Smithsonian Institute Archives contain the photo (at right) of a plaster statue of Abraham Lincoln made by Hermon MacNeil for a competition in 1914 sponsored by the Art Commission of Illinois seeking a statue for the City of Springfield, Illinois.

MacNeil’s entry did not win the competition, but he later adapted the piece into a bust.  He then duplicated it into eight (8) castings made at Roman Bronze Works in NYC

MacNeil’s original plaster statue of Lincoln (standing) very likely has been lost to the ages.  He sculpted it in 1914 for a competition of the Art Commission of Illinois.  They sought a statue for the City of Springfield.  After the commission chose another sculpture, MacNeil worked with Roman Bronze Works to cast 8 Lincoln busts from the original standing  Lincoln. 

The story of MacNeil’s adaptation of his “Standing Lincoln” plaster into the “Lincoln Lawyer” bust can be found by clicking below:

MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” Bust modeled from Standing Lincoln

Many of those “Lincoln Lawyer” busts have been located and documented here on HAM ( https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/ )  

POSTINGS OF HERMON MacNEIL’s “LINCOLN LAWYER”

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

~ Pillars Three & Four consist of ~     (2 Birthdays and 2 US Presidents that Hermon sculpted had February Birthdays)

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Every February is MacNeil Month here,

 … at http://HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com …  Because:

  • Hermon Atkins MacNeil was born on February 27, 1866
  • Thomas Henry McNeil, (his cousin & my grandfather), was born February 29, 1860
  • Two US Presidents that Hermon sculpted had February Birthdays:

    • Abraham Lincoln on February 12, 1809
    • George Washington on February 22, 1732
    • SO we have made each February into our “MacNeil Month”

SO WELCOME TO “MacNeil Month 2022” ~ Our 12th since 2010

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“Sculptor Americanus”

citing Memories of

Hermon A. MacNeil

by Cecelia W. M. MacNeil

~ Part  2, The Antiques Journal, May 1974 ~

 

Cecelia MacNeil credits the following statement to Adolph Block:

“… all that Hermon Atkins MacNeil

lacks

to acquire fame

is a good biographer.”

Adolph Block  should know. He too was a sculptor.     (more)

He studied sculpture with Hermon MacNeil, and Alexander Stirling Calder, both of whom sculpted the two George Washington statues on the Arch.  He studied also with Edward McCartan, another student and studio assistant of Hermon MacNeil.  At the time that Cecelia credits the above quote, Mr. Block was then the editor of The National Sculpture Review, a post he held for many years.

Jo Davidson’s portrait bust of Hermon draped in MacNeil Tartan. This unique piece was made in 1945 at Hermon’s home then cast in bronze.

Block also wrote of Hermon — words that Cecelia quotes saying: “Adolph Block captured Hermon’s spirit in The National Sculpture Review, writing of him with love (a consistent feeling of all who knew Hermon):

“His youth was spent on his father’s farm in fundamental, frugal, and beautiful New England.  In his veins flowed the same kind of blood that pumped through the hearts of  Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, love of life and a vivid imagination born of Scotland’s bonnie brooks, green hills, and rugged rocky shores.

Handsome, he possessed a warm heart, a dry sense of humor, a great talent, the courage of his convictions, and tremendous drive.  Ambitious and industrious, his large eyes were a tornado of activity — he studied, he taught, he created, in whatever order opportunity presented itself. 2

In the second of these articles, Cecelia begins by describing the June day in 1943 when Hermon began dictating his AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH to his secretary.

“My memories and reminiscences of Hermon are still pure and unprecipitated (sic) by chemicals, as his sculptures have become.”  She adds: “I was nursing him through a prolonged attack of tachycardia.  He was feeling much better and was in a jovial mood.”  Cecelia MacNeil, June 1971; (AJ-2, p.28)

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Cecelia Weick Muench, R.N.

Home Care Nurse

Years before Cecelia W. Muench became Cecelia MacNeil she was the Home Care Nurse not only for Carol Brooks MacNeil, but also for Hermon MacNeil. 

This was revealed in the TIMELINE drawn from evidence in her three articles series “Sculptor Americanus.”  1,2,3

The following Facts are reported in these articles:

  • Cecelia was present in the MacNeil home for conversations with Hermon MacNeil. 
  • Hermon called his secretary, Marie Mutschler, into the room to take notes
  • The next four pages of the May 1974 article by Cecelia describe Hermon as he told stories of his life.

In my research at the Cornell Library Archives, the “MacNeil Papers”  contain an eleven page typed document entitled “AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL”:

  • The voice narrating this document is that of Hermon MacNeil.
  • On page 11, he ends his Autobiography with two sentences saying:

“In short, I feel that I have had a very fortunate life, living as someone said on ‘THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCULPTURE’.  As I write this in June, 1943, with the world in a terrific struggle it would seem to be true enough for my span of life will not last for the next revival of sculpture.”   

Here Hermon closes his Autobiographical Sketch.

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MacNeil Timeline 1940-1947

Changes and Losses in Hermon’s closing years of life

1940  November 19 —  Dedication of the last monumental sculpture of Hermon MacNeil’s career

  • “The Pony Express” dedicated in St. Joseph, Missouri

1943 June   — Hermon MacNeil dictated his AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH to Marie Mutchler, his personal secretary.

  • Cecelia W. Muench, RN, his home care nurse, was present
  • She nursed him through a prolonged attack of tachycardia in June 1943
  • Cecelia also nursed Carol Brooks MacNeil in the MacNeil Home.  She had a front row seat to Hermon’s lived-grief over the last months of his “Carrie.” 

1944 June 22 —  Death of Carol Brooks MacNeil

  • As Carol’s condition worsened, her needs exceeded the home-care options of the day. 
  • Carol was admitted to the Jamacia (Queens) Hospital dying there shortly after.

1945    — Hermon MacNeil’s second marriage to Cecilia W. Muench, R.N. also a widow

1946 February 4Death of Dr. S. Meredith Strong – “The Cowboy Doctor” whose stallion, “Poncho Villa,” was Hermon s model for “The Pony Express” statue. 

1947 October 2 — Death of Hermon MacNeil  

1947 October 18 — MacNeil Will filed in Probate

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.

     

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Jo Davidson, Sculptor, 1937

Hermon Atkins MacNeil,  ~1934

Hermon MacNeil 

 

and Jo Davidson

 

1912   –   1929

 MacNeil Month ~ ~ Story #3   ~ ~ ~ ~

Feb. 2021 ~ “Two Careers”

BY 1912 JO DAVIDISON and HERMON MacNEIL

were parting ways artistically.

Hermon MacNeil continued making Historical Subjects, World’s Fairs, and Monuments as he had for 20 years (1893-1912). 

[ Photos and hot-links to MORE MacNeil works appear at the end of this post …⇓ ]

Jo Davidson after a decade of searching  and wandering, to fulfill some inner talent,

he discovered his “Sculptor Within.” 

 Review:        Jo  made repeated attempts (1903-7) at studying the “Beaux Arts” style at the Art Students League of New York, learning it “hands-on” in the MacNeil Studio with John Gregory, and Henri Crenier (and all their teasing), under the quiet tutelage of Hermon MacNeil.    Then actually traveling to Paris without scholarship or support to enroll in the actual  Ecole des Beaux-Arts.  

BUT … LEAVING THERE after 3 weeks because he sensed that Beaux Arts was training him to sculpt “Antiquities”    WHEN he wanted to “SCULPT LIFE.”

Jo Davidson

In 1909 before coming back to New York City, Jo married Yvonne de Kerstrat, a French actress and sister of an artist friend, Louis de Kerstrat.  Their son Jacques was born the next year.

The next several years were very productive for the sculptor.  His figural works included a bronze statuette of Ida Rubinstein and an eight-foot bronze La Terre. 

ONE-MAN SHOWS X 3.    In 1911 Jo began presenting one-man shows.  The first opened in the New York in April, then a second more successful one at Reinhardt Galleries in Chicago in November.  This included twenty portraits and twenty figures.  A third show in New York opened in January 1913 with twenty-two figural works and fifteen portraits.  With this growing success in both reputation and finances, Jo could now keep two studios — one in New York and another in Paris. 

69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Ave. on-street parking New York City

The Armory Show 1913

Also in 1913, Davidson exhibited in the Armory Show, also known as The International Exhibition of Modern Art.  This three-city exhibition started in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Ave.  From there it traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago and next to Boston’s Copley Society.  

Walt Kuhn, American painter, and a friend of Jo Davidson, was an organizer of the famous Armory Show which was America’s first large-scale introduction to European Modernism in Art.  Working with Arthur B. Davies and Walter Pach, Kuhn spent a year, much of it in Europe assembling a collection The exhibition traveled to New York City, Chicago, and Boston and was seen by approximately 300,000 Americans. Of the 1,600 works included in the show, about one-third were European, and attention became focused on them. The selection was almost a history of European Modernism.[https://www.britannica.com/event/Armory-Show-art-show-New-York-City#ref126367]

“Kuhn and Davies had both studied in Europe and developed a strong appreciation for the groundbreaking developments that were taking place there, particularly in Paris. Both also had ambitious dreams of altering the very fabric of American art and culture. The pair would be particularly instrumental in bringing a display of European art to U.S. shores—the likes of which most Americans had never seen before. With the same sprawling exhibition, they would also provide an opportunity for American artists that they had found so lacking in their own careers.”  [ https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-1913-armory-dispelled-belief-good-art-beautiful ]

The show’s sponsor, the Association of American Painters and Sculptors developed in 1911 with the aim of finding suitable exhibition space for young artists.  They found  ideals and policies of the National Academy of Design too restrictive to innovation.  The show introduced the American public accustomed to realistic art to the experimental styles sweeping Paris, namely, Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism But most Americans arrived  expecting “real art,” namely, the “realistic” representations of the renaissance masters.  To these viewers the show was a puzzlement.  Observers responded with confusion, shock, or even anger at this “satire” of “real art.” 

Jo Davidson and the Armory Show.

The Armory show was labeled many things by American art critics.   Frank J. Mather argued that “Post-Impressionism is merely the “harbinger of universal anarchy.”  [1]   It overwhelmed American isolationism with an artistic invasion of a strange avant garde army of artists.  So to most Americans it was a puzzlement both in appearance and reporting afterward.  They came expecting “real art,” as “realistic” as the renaissance masters.  That was Art!  But “This?”  “What is this?”  Observers responded with confusion, shock, anger, and harsh words at this “satire” of “real art.” 

The 1913 Armory Show The International Exhibition of Modern Art opened on February 17, 1913 at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. The Armory Show—as it came to be known—had an immediate and profound influence, introducing the avant-garde to America and forever altering the narrative of Modernism in America. Photograph by Percy Rainford, courtesy of Bettmann/Corbis. SOURCE: https://www.thearmoryshow.com/armory-25/one-fair-one-city ON 2-6-2021

Jo Davidson was no stranger to European Modernism. Such experiences of “the unconventional” were part of his strolls of Paris with Sultan by his side.  He loved his years on the Left Bank. This Bohemian world of the avant garde enlivened him.  It pleased and excited his imagination  Such images must have powered his search for that illusive “sculptor within.”  His search had gone on for over a decade. 

Davidson’s Impact: Jo Davidson appreciated this work, but was hardly a Modernist in his own creativity.   Yet he seemed to affect the Armory show in at least two ways:

  1. Walt Kuhn appreciated Jo Davidson works. He placed them cleverly throughout the display.  As such, they became benchmarks of understandable art next to some of the more unusual Modernist pieces.  “The artists who created them might know what they intended, but most of them weren’t there and many who were [there] were too shy or found talking too difficult.” 2 Each of Jo’s portrait busts and figures became an oasis of “real” sculpture in the confusing landscape of Modern Art.  Confused and puzzled viewers could wander the foreign art territory of the Armory Show and find occasional respite at a “Davidson” work of art. 
  2. In addition, Jo Davidson himself became an occasional ‘Docent’ at the Armory Show.  Lois Kuhn in her children’s biography of Davidson captures an anecdotal explanation that conveys the essence of Jo to her audience:  “Jo often visited the armory show himself and could easily explain to others not only his own work, but that of those artists unable to speak for themselves.  What a man with words Jo was!  Lois Kuhn offers this humorous ‘possible’ vignette to her young readers:
  • “Its outrageous.” a man protested, looking hard at one of the paintings.  “Whoever heard of ‘pink’ grass?
  • Jo chuckled.  “But you knew it was grass, didn’t you, sir?  It never once occurred to you that it wasn’t anything else, now did it?”
  • The man frowned.  “Well I don’t care.  I don’t like the darn thing anyway!”
  • “Nobody said you had to like it, sir, but if you dislike it, why not dislike it with a reason?”  Jo thought for a moment, then asked, “Have you ever noticed what colors the shadows on the snow are?”
  • The viewer was silent.  He was trying hard to remember.  Jo knew the man had probably never before bothered to think about such an ordinary thing, although he must have seen it hundreds of times.  “No I don’t think I have,” the man admitted, “Do you know?”
  • “They’re purple!  The artist looks and sees them so.  But so can you!  Or anyone else.  Just notice next time it snows.  Then try to think how it would be if the artist painted snow, making the shadows green.  You’d still know they were shadows, wouldn’t you?”
  • “Okay, you win!” the man sighed.  I see your point and you are right!”  He smiled, began to turn away, but suddenly turned back and winked at Jo.  “You know,”  he said strongly, “if more artists could explain things as you do, maybe plain people like me wouldn’t have so darn much trouble trying to find out what they’re up to!”
  • Jo grinned back.  He was happy knowing just one more person would be able to look at a piece of art and try really to understand it.”  2

infrared landscapes by richard mosse at the 2013 Armory Show. CREDIT: ‘platon, north kivu, eastern congo’, 2012all images courtesy jack shainman gallery.

Note: PINK GRASS at the 2013 Armory Show ~~~ Irish photographer Richard Mosse is celebrated for his striking imagery of eastern congo, and presents ‘infrared landscapes’ at the Armory Show in New York 100 years later from the 7-10 March, 2013.  “The photographs are full and rich – the arresting deep reds and crimson hues, candy floss trees and savanna grasses aflame with color. all these surreal elements created through a combination of an obsolete wooden field camera and a rare technique produced by kodak aerochrome, a product developed for military use in the detection of aerial bombing targets. in the late 1960s, the medium was appropriated in artwork for rock musicians like the grateful dead or jimi hendrix, setting the tone for the sublime psychedelic aesthetic of the time.”

Jo Davidson revels in “PORTRAIT BUST-ing” 

By the end of 1913 Davidson had done more than thirty portrait busts. He had a reputation for being “fast” and “good” at that craft.  The Davidson’s returned to France, with a second son, Jean, and found a house in Céret, which is near the border with Spain about 20 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.  His wife’s brother Louis de Kerstrat had purchased a small house there. More importantly, growing  reputation of Céret was as  “the refuge of Picasso, Matisse, Soutine and Chagall”   It would eventually be known as “the Mecca of the Cubists.” Moving there he met Picasso and Aristide Maillol.  Soon Jo was off to London which presented a wealth of opportunities for making portraits of notables. 

LORD NORTHCLIFFE 1913 by Jo Davidson. “Between …” p.54b.

“Portrait became an obsession. Meeting and knowing people meant becoming acquainted with their thinking.” Jo Davidson

From a studio in Thackery House he roved cafes, bars, watering holes seeing and being seen by journalists, authors, and celebrities.  His 1914 exhibition at Leicester Galleries included busts of newspaper mogul Lord Northcliffe, Frank and Nell Harris, and George Bernard Shaw.

 THE TASTE OF WAR 

When WWI broke out, Davidson wanted a place in the effort and through Lord Northcliffe was appointed an artist-correspondent to accompany veteran correspondent George Lynch.  The first went to Ostend, Belgium on the English Channel finding a “dead city.”  They went on east to Ghent climbing 194 steps in a church tower observing the battle of Grenberegen nearly 15 miles distant.  He didn’t enjoy it! 

Jo Davidison’s LIBERTY BONDS poster- THE GUT PUNCH.

He later tried to make sketches but without enthusiasm.  At an ambulance he met doctors and nurses who spoke no French and he was called over to translate.  He received word that their hotel in Ostend had been bombed and destroyed the day they left. 

The Germans were advancing and the British were retreating.  He saw a priest comforting a soldier with open severe facial wounds.  On the road back to Ostend he passed carts filled with old women, children and babies. People carrying pots and pans, a goat, a mattress, a chair, something they could not part with.  “War” was no longer just a word in the history books.

Heartsick, Jo returned to London wanting to do something in clay to express what he saw in France.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote three lines:

FRANCE AROUSED 1914 by Jo Davidson. [Between… p 86a.]

“When France in wrath her giant – limbs upreared, 

And with that oath, which smote air, earth, and sea,

Stamped her strong foot and said she would be free.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The result for Jo was “France Aroused.”

“It was a figure of Bellona,

the goddess of War,

with her feet squarely planted on the on the ground,

her arms upraised, fists clenched,

and her head thrown back —

a cry of rage and protest.”  [

Between …, p.11.]

 RETURNING TO Céret  — His Home was converted to a HOSPITAL  

On May 26, 1915, Yvonne offered their home in Céret as an auxiliary hospital, Bénévole No. 62 with 40 beds, two nurses and Yvonne in charge.  She was up at five A.M. and when all retired would pour over the books in the wee hours.  Their five-year-old son, Jacques, dressed in the uniform of a Chasseur Alpin presided at the head of the evening dinner table in a black baret the Apline hunters.

In 1916 Davidson returned to New York exhibiting fifty-five sculptures and war drawings at Reinhardt Galleries and in June modeled President Wilson.  He began to realize the historical value of his collection of works.  When the United States entered the War in 1917 Davidson decided to make a “plastic history” by modeling portraits of Allied civil and militrary chiefs.  So we left for France with funding from Gertrude Whitney and letters of reference from previous subjects.  The result — The Peace Conference Series — fourteen portraits of including General John J. Pershing (1918), Marshal Ferdinand Foch (1918), who signed his portrait beginning a tradition that Jo continued, Lord Arthur Balfour (1919), George Clemenceau (1920). 

1923 – Gertrude Stein  and Jo had met in 1909. He assessed that a head of her was not enough.  He decided  to do a seated figure — “a sort of a modern Buddha.” [Between …, 174-7.]

“Gertrude was a very rich personality.  Her wit and her laughter were contagfious.  She loved good food and served it.  While I was doing her portrait,  She would come around my studio with a manuscript  and read it aloud. The extraordinary part of it was that, as she read, I never felt any sense of mystification.  ‘A rose is a rose is a rose,’ she took on a different meaning with each inflection.  When she read aloud got the humor of it. We both laughed, and her laughter was something to hear.  There was an eternal quality about her — she somehow symbolized wisdom.”

 John D. Rockefeller 1924 

The only person Jo Davidson ever wrote to requesting to do a portrait bust was John D. Rockefeller.  One month later he received a Letter from his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. containing several questions. 

Jo Davidson and John D. Rockefeller modeling his portrait

Several days later John D, Jr. visited the studio with more questions and discussed all details of the venture.  A truck arrived carrying all of Davidson’s studio equipment to the Rockefeller Estate in Tarrytown, north of the city. 

On their meeting Rockefeller told Jo, “Davis … Davison … Davidson.”  The first was his secretary’s name, the second his own middle name, and finally Jo’s last name.  Rockefeller voiced the ironic trilogy and his usual “A-ll good.”  After meeting his new subject, Davidson, Jo entered into the daily routine and was invited to stay as a house guest rather that commute by train daily.  Jo’s descriptions of his time with the family patriarch and his storytelling are as illuminating as his sculpting.

When Jo finished, Rockefeller invited all the house staff to come in and see his fresh likeness.  “Come __ in,” he said.  “Take__ your__ time. Have a good look at it__ yes? A-ll good. Thank You.”

The son, John D. Jr., liked the finished bust so much that he  commissioned Jo to execute it in marble, and also to make a colossal head in stone to be put in the Standard Oil Building. 

1927 Pioneer Woman ~ Ponca City, OK ~ E.W. Marland

A reunion for Hermon and Jo and John Gregory.

CONFIDENT – The winning PIONEER WOMAN by Bryant Baker 

TRUSTING (1927) by Jo Davidson

CHALLENGING. 1927. Hermon MacNeil

SELF RELIANT by A. Stirling Calder

 

In 1927 wealthy oilman E. W. Marland of Ponca City, Oklahoma invited a dozen American sculptors to compete for a commission to create a statue to honor the Pioneer Woman.  Each artist was to submit a two-foot bronze model for the monument, which was to express, in Marland’s words, “the spirit of the pioneer woman—a tribute to all women of the sunbonnet everywhere.”  

PROTECTIVE by John Gregory

Marland’s selection of that dozen sculptors became something of a reunion for Jo Davidson[1] and Hermon MacNeil  and John Gregory (an earlier assistant with Davidson in MacNeil’s studio). Others invited were invited included  James Earle Fraser, Bryant Baker, and A. Stirling Calder.  Each of the dozen were paid $10,000 to produce a bronze two-foot statue model with the winner to be determined by public vote.

The models were sent on a six-month tour of several U.S. cities, from New York and Boston to Minneapolis and Fort Worth and Chicago. Tens of thousands of ballots were cast, and Baker’s model “Confident” won by a margin of nearly two to one. Neither MacNeil or his two previous students won the commission.

Bryant Baker’s entry won the final comission by a wide margin of ballots.  Each artist submitted a two-foot bronze model for the monument, which was to express, in Marland’s words, “the spirit of the pioneer woman—a tribute to all women of the sunbonnet everywhere.”

JO DAVIDSON STRIKES OIL

Jo Davidson charmed E. W. Marland so that he built a permanent studio for the sculptor in Ponca City.  Jo declined moving there permanently, but did spent weeks there completing statues of E. W., his daughter, Lyde standing holding a large garden bonnet; and son, George, in boots and riding breeches.  He also carved a seated  figure of E.W. Marland in marble which remains outside the museum a century later.

After completing the sculptures, E. W. Marland took Jo on a trip to California and back to New York in his private railroad car the “Ponca City.”  Jo wrote letters to Yvonne during the two-week excursion.  Jo met E. W.’s friends, and E.W. met Jo’s friends.  “The Trip, one of the richest experiences of my life, eventually was over, and I set out for Europe where political developments were moving at a rapid pace.”  [Between …, pp. 210-220.] 

 


 

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

“Monument Man” 

  Photos of  his works from 1912 to 1929  

Hot Links to MacNeil Sculptures follow …

Visit these links for further information on these ststues and monuments:

1912 – 1929

SOURCES:

  1. F. J. Mather argued that “Post-Impressionism is merely the harbinger of universal anarchy.” [1913, March 6, “Newest Tendencies in Art,” Independent 74, pp.504-512.] Cited in, On The Margins Of Art Worlds, By Larry Gross  p. ?
  2. Kuhn, Lois Harris. The World of Jo Davidson. Farrar, Straus and Cudhay: New York, 1958.  p. 86 -87.
  3. Marland Museum:  https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/the-american-west-in-bronze/blog/posts/pioneer-woman
  4. Here’s a 2010 Update on this Story:  2010 Ponca City duplicates 12 models:https://oklahoman.com/article/3455825/ponca-city-welcomes-back-one-dozen-pioneer-women

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Dan Leininger holds the “Galley” for Summer 2014 with MacNeil’s “Pony Express” statue on the cover and an 8 page feature story inside.

“Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil”

The current issue of the Clan MacNeil Association of America magazine has a feature story on Hermon Atkins MacNeil by webmaster, Dan Leininger

The Galley edited by Vicki Sanders Corporon titles Dan’s story as “Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil.” The feature and photos fill 8 pages in the “Galley” issue for Spring/Summer 2014.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.  Page 19 of the “Galley” (This Photo from Cornell University is Courtesy of Chris Carlsen).

 

 

Page 20 of  “Galley” for Summer 2014

Page 20 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

The featured photos include the East Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (with a detail close-up of Moses, Confucius, and Salon); The George Rogers Clark monument in Vincennes, IN at the site of his victory over the British in 1779; Confederate Defenders of Charleston, SC; the Young Lawyer Abraham Lincoln in Champaign, IL; General George Washington on the Washington Arch, NYC, NY. Also in this article are photos of the grouping Coming of the White Man in Portland, OR; The WWI Angel of Peace Monument in Flushing NY; and a bust of Dwight L. Moody (who MacNeil sketched during the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.

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Page 18 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

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In 1931, exactly 100 years after James Monroe‘s death (b. April 28, 1758 – d.July 4, 1831), Hermon MacNeil completed a bronze bust of this U.S. President.  It was MacNeil’s fourth statue of a US President. 

Monroe-HAM-1931HOF_NYU

James Monroe, 5th President of the United States. MacNeil’s bronze bust resides in the Hall of Fame of Great Americans on the campus of Bronx Coimmunity College (formerly NYU)

This bronze bust by Hermon MacNeil resides in the Hall of Fame of Great Americans on the campus of Bronx Community College (formerly NYU). The aging memorial of over 100 busts was designed by Stanford White, famous “Beaux Arts” architect of New York City.

MacNeil’s previous sculptures of U.S. Presidents include George Washington (NYC – Washington Arch ~ also designed by Stanford White), Abraham Lincoln (University of Illinois, Urbana, in $60 million restoration of Lincoln Hall), and William McKinley (Monument placed on the Ohio State Capitol grounds, Columbus, in 1906).

FOURTH OF JULY?    Monroe was the third President to die on the 4th of July. Ironically, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (the second and third Presidents) died on the same day, July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence. Reportedly Adam’s last words were “only Jefferson remains… .” In truth, Adams was wrong. He did not know that Jefferson had died at Montecello earlier that same day.  John Adams was the last surviving signer of the Declaration, by just a matter of hours. Five years later at the age of 73, James Monroe (the fifth President) died on the Fourth of July, as well.  His death was 55 years after the signing of the Declaration.

Monroe was the fifth President of the United States (1817–1825).  He was the last president from the group known as the Founding Fathers.  Monroe was also the last President from the Virginia dynasty.  In 1936 MacNeil would sculpt one other Virginian from the Revolutionary era — “George Rogers Clark” (National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana site of the Clark’s Revolutionary victory at Fort Sackville).

Hall of Fame: http://www.bcc.cuny.edu/halloffame/onlinetour/browse.cfm?StartRow=37&BrowserStartRow=6

Three other MacNeil busts are at the Hall of Fame: 

  1. Roger Williams;  Francis Parkman;   Rufus Choate
  2. James Monroe:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Monroe
  3. Hall of Fame for Great Americans; 2183 University Avenue; New York, NY 10453; (718) 289-5910; cuny.edu

The Hall of Fame of Great Americans – Series of Medals  (3″ and 1 3/4″ format) were cast from 1962-1975.  This occurred after Hermon MacNeil’s death in 1947.  The James Monroe medal pictured below was based on MacNeil’s portrait bust. The medal was sculpted by C. Paul Jennewein, a sculptor who worked with Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (a prolific sculptor and a student of MacNeil) who build Brookgreen Gardens into the world’s largest outdoor sculpture park.

Hall of Fame Medallion by C. Paul Jennewein minted in 1968 commemorates Monroe statue being added to the Hall.

Hall of Fame (HOF) Medallion Series were patterned after the statues. This piece by C. Paul Jennewein minted in 1968 commemorates MacNeil’s statue of James Monroe being added to the Hall in 1930.  [Photo credit: http://www.medalcollectors.org/Guides/HFGA/Monroe.jpg]

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Lincoln Bible and king Bible as Barack Obama takes Oath (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com)

Lincoln Bible and king Bible as Barack Obama takes Oath (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com)

2013

On this Presidential Inaugural Day, the 57th in our history, President Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of the Office of President of the United States.  He will place his hand on two Bibles.  One used by President Abraham Lincoln,  and a second belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whose birthday is also celebrated on this today.  This Inaugural Day comes fifty years after M. L. King spoke at the Civil Rights March at the Lincoln Memorial and 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. 

THEREFORE, in tribute to this historic day, we offer images of the three Presidents of the United States that Hermon Atkins MacNeil sculpted in his lifetime ~~ George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.

Washington and 'Valor' in profile

Washington and ‘Valor’ in profile

General George Washington with Flags (U.S. and POW/MIA) ~ Washington Arch Greenwich, NYC (Photo courtesy of: Gibson Shell - 2011)

A visit to Illinois last week included a stop at the Abe Lincoln bust at Spurlock Museum at U of I. The sculpture will no longer be viewable in-the-round after being returned to its permanent home in the sparklingly-restored Lincoln Hall on campus.

A visit to Illinois in 2011 included a stop at the Abe Lincoln bust at Spurlock Museum at U of I. The sculpture will no longer be viewable in-the-round after being returned to its permanent home in the sparklingly-restored Lincoln Hall on campus

MacNeil originally sculpted a standing model of the Illinois Lawyer that he later re-sculpted as a bust.  From that piece he had Roman Bronze Works make eight castings of his Lincoln Lawyer.  This one is at the University of Illinois and will be returned to the Lincoln Hall when renovation is completed.  (For more on Lincoln busts see below.)

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil's Lincoln standing.

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil’s Lincoln standing.

Hearmon A. MacNeil's "Lincoln Lawyer" at the University of Illinois

Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” at the University of Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKinley Statue in Columbus, Ohio.

McKinley making his last public speech. before he was assassinated, Buffalo, New York, September 5, 1901. (His pose in this photo resembles that of MacNeil's statue of him in 1904). (Credit: Frances B. Johnson-Ohio Historical Society-AL00501)

McKinley making his last public speech. before he was assassinated, Buffalo, New York, September 5, 1901. (His pose in this photo resembles that of MacNeil’s statue of him in 1904). (Credit: Frances B. Johnson-Ohio Historical Society-AL00501)

MacNeil's McKinley at Ohio Statehouse plaza

MacNeil’s McKinley at Ohio Statehouse plaza

 

 

MORE on MacNEIL’s BUSTS of LINCOLN: Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings.  Public records of the four other “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear to be incomplete according to the following documentation by the Smithsonian Museum:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

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At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released from the vault.  He is out for public view.

A Nose Waiting to Be Rubbed « 2011 « Articles « LASNews Magazine ... Herman Atkins MacNeil modeled the bust in 1928 from a full-size statue he had made 14 years earlier. He gave the bronze bust a brown patina, which had worn ... www.las.uiuc.edu/alumni/magazine/articles/2011/bust/

No, this is not a student prank (like the 1979 Illini Incident) when the MacNeil’s Lincoln Statue disappeared. This time its actually a year-long Lincoln party.

Starting at noon on Sunday February 20th, the refurbished Lincoln bust by Hermon A. MacNeil will be on public exhibit in the Spurlock Museum at U of I.

In a recent email Dr. Wayne T. Pitard, Director, of Spurlock Museum, told us:

“Having had the chance to look at the bust in great detail, I am enormously impressed with MacNeil’s talent.  It is a wonderful piece, one of my favorite depictions of Lincoln.  I wanted to let you know that during its exhibition at the Spurlock between February 20 and January of next year, people will have the only chance in our lifetimes to actually walk all the way around the bust, to see it from all angles.  Once it goes back into its niche in Lincoln Hall, the back will no longer be accessible.  If you ever are in the neighborhood, you should try to come by and see it here.”

MacNeil’s Lincoln has graced the Lincoln Hall stair case since 1928.  It was removed for safekeeping in a vault when construction began on a total restoration of Lincoln Hall.  The empty niche that the statue normally occupies is visible in this video of the Lincoln Hall Kick Off Ceremony (the miniature bust of Lincoln seen here is NOT one of the MacNeil sculpture, but of another artist.)  For the next year it will be in Spurlock for viewing in a 360 degree venue, unlike the setting shown above before restoration. The Public can celebrate MacNeil’s Lincoln Statue at the Spurlock all year.

Holly Korab, (Senior Director in the Office of Communications and Marketing, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) informed the webmaster this week that:

Mr. MacNeil’s statue is dear to many generations of Illini. We are working on a video for our “This Old Hall” series on the restoration of Lincoln Hall. (Holly, I hope the video has a 360 scene of the statue as it appears on display in Spurlock ~ webmaster). Do you know how Mr. MacNeil felt about our statue?

Gutzon Borglum's famous Lincoln also has a shiny nose from public petting of the piece in Springfield, Illinois.

Well Holly, we do know how MacNeil’s friend and teacher, Lorado Taft, felt about the piece.  Taft was considered the ‘dean of American sculptors’ (especially in the Beaux Arts tradition).  He worked with MacNeil in the 1893 Columbian Exposition — the Chicago World’s Fair.  Carol Brooks, who was one of Taft’s students, would become Herman’s wife in 1895.  She helped Taft as one of the female sculptors known as “White Rabbits.” Through the thirty years since that Exposition, Taft knew the MacNeils and their artistic abilities.  Perhaps this influenced Taft’s choice of the Mac Neil Statue over that of Gutzon Borglum, yet he knew and worked with Borglum as well.   He just seemed to not like the overall effect of the Borglum piece. You can compare for yourself the two Lincolns (superficially, at least) from the photos provided here. More directly Taft stated:

“I regret to say that Borglum’s so called ‘Lincoln’ is my pet aversion; I would prefer not to help in this matter,”

In his book Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, Taft shares his expectation of good sculpture.  In the preface, he states:

“SCULPTURE SHOULD BE THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL OF THE ARTS. IT SHOULD EXTERNALIZE ONLY THE RAREST AND THE MOST ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS OF LIFE, CHOOSING WITH IRREPROACHABLE DISCRIMINATION FROM THE FORMS, THE JOYS AND THE SORROWS OF HUMANITY. A SCULPTED MOMENT WHICH IS NOT ADMIRABLE IS A PERMANENT CRIME, A PERSISTENT AND INEXCUSABLE OBSESSION.” Lorado Taft, Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1921. p. 9.

Further in the book Taft, lauds MacNeil’s work on his Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Albany and the Washington Arch in NY by saying MacNeil showed:

“his good taste united with a fine decorative sense and with much fluency of handling”… Running through all these works is a dependable sanity most gratifying to meet amid the eccentricities and vagaries of current endeavor.  The sculptor has never exemplified this quality to better advantage than in his fine “Lincoln” model, a work meriting enlargement and a prominent place.” Lorado Taft, Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1921. p. 120.

In 1923, Taft, recommended MacNeil to James White, the University supervising architect, for the Lincoln Hall placement. Taft’s friend, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, created a bust of Lincoln that the University purchased for $450. http://www.lincolnhall.illinois.edu/history/lincolnhall/entrance/index.html

How did MacNeil feel about his Lincoln statue?

I can’t answer that directly, but MacNeil expressed his thoughts and feelings about the sculptor’s task in 1917.  At the annual meeting of the American Federation of Arts, MacNeil spoke of the progress of contemporary sculpture.

“Above all else, [the artist’s] work must radiate some charm or strength of human character that touches the passer by.”

Errant Bronzes: George Grey Barnard’s Statues of Abraham Lincoln (American Arts Series/University of Delaware Press Books) by Frederick C. Moffatt (2000), p. 129.

He went on to suggest that this radiated art spirit, had to be discovered in the hearts of the observers of the piece.

I know myself, from reading other accounts of MacNeil describing his Marquette, Jolliet, Illini grouping in Douglas Park Chicago, and his Ezra Cornell statue at Ithica, New York, that this art spirit radiated in MacNeil himself as he planned, prepared and sculpted these works.  His heart went into and radiated from each of his sculptures and memorials.  Studying the details he put in them, reveals that to me.  Now the public can assess that at the Spurlock.

SO, Enjoy, Celebrate, and MacNeil’s Lincoln, The Lawyer. May you anticipate the 2013 re-dedication of Lincoln Hall as your 21st Century tribute to Mr. Lincoln.

MORE LINCOLN LORE:

Lincoln/net Website: by Northern Illinois University – browse primary resource materials about our 16th President. http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/aboutinfo.html

VISIT SPURLOCK MUSEUM – here’s a Google Map

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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
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