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 ???

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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

Hermon A. MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Quarter is a rare Masterpiece.  Issued by the U.S. Mint over a century ago, it no longer circulates in the market place.

“M” The modest signature allowed for designer MacNeil

As a child in the early 1950’s, my mother, Ollie Frances McNeil, showed me the image of Lady Liberty on MacNeil’s design.  She pointed our the distinctive “M” on the base of the obverse.

“That stands for ‘McNeil'” she told me.  “Hermon was your great uncle on my side of the family.”    Mom was very proud of her McNeil lineage and she intentionally passed a good portion of that pride on to me as a child.  Giving me the middle name of “Neil” remains a continual reminder of that fact.

A yellowed copy of a 1916 newspaper clipping declares: “Herman Atkins MacNeil, Designer of the New Quarter”

Hermon died on October 2, 1947 at his home in College Point, Queens, NY after a long illness. I have no memory of that as an event or of that time in our family.  (I was just a child — 2 years, 3 months and 2 days old.)

In the early 1950’s, I remember handling “Standing Liberty Quarters” in the change we received from my brother’s Saturday night newspaper corner in East Saint Louis.  (We hawked three papers at 38th and St. Clair Avenue, yelling “Pap-er-ers! Post, Globe, and Journal.)

The yellowed news clipping at the right is from the estate of Walter Pratt, Hermon’s first cousin from Massachusetts.  The Pratt’s saved this clipping of Hermon from the newspaper. 

The photo shows Hermon sculpting the enlarged design for the “Standing Liberty Quarter”  I purchased this clipping with other MacNeil memorabilia  from the family estate sale in 2018. (See posting of Dec 26, 2018  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2018/12/26/etching-of-carol-louise-brooke-macneil/ )

The Liberty Standing Quarter was no longer minted after 1930, but it remained in circulation for many years.  Until the hoarding of silver coins in the 1960 and the minting of silver clad quarters in 1965

Advent of Copper Clad coinage:

“The United States first began minting copper-nickel clad coins in 1965. That was after several years of rising silver prices and a severe coin shortage that the U.S. Mint partly blamed on people hoarding silver coins from circulation. The dime and quarter were first struck in copper-nickel clad in 1965.” [From https://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/clad_coins/  accessed on 3-4-2020]

Edward A. Van Orden

Edward Van Orden’s recent article on Collecting the SLQ has been referenced in a previous posting on March 5, 2020. I posted the first part of his article in that post. He has a excellent suggestions for collecting SLQs on a sensible budget.  Read the last part of his article at this link:

SLQ Article: The Numismatist Sept ‘19

Bibliography from Edward A. Van Orden’s article:

SOURCES

Benford, Timothy B., Jr. “MacNeil’s Liberty: Art or Obscenity?” The Numismatist (December 2003).

Brothers, Eric. “New York City: Mecca of Numis- matic Artistry.” The Numismatist (November 2013). Cline, J.H. Standing Liberty Quarters, 3rd edition.

Palm Harbour, FL: author, 1997.
Dolnick, Michael M. “Design Changes on the Lib-

erty Standing Quarter.” The Numismatist (Septem- ber 1954).

Doyle, Al. “Class of 1916, Part 2.” The Numismatist (October 2016).

____. “MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Quarter among Most Artistic.” Coin World’s Coin Values (November 2004).

Duffield, Frank G. “Slight Change in the Die of Quarter Dollars.” The Numismatist (June 1926).

Kelman, Keith N. Standing Liberty Quarters. Nashua, NH: International Numismatica Corporation, 1976. (ANA Library Catalog No. GB24.K4) .

LaMarre, Tom. “MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Remains a Favorite.” Coins magazine (September 30, 2009).

Lange, David W. “The Coinage of 1921.” The Numismatist (December 2003).

____. “Collecting Standing Liberty Quarters.” The Numismatist (December 2003).

____. “The Impossible Dream.” The Numismatist (October 2005).

____. “1923-S Coinage, Part 2.” The Numismatist (September 2011).

____. “The Standing Liberty Quarter.” The Nu- mismatist (July 2016).

Moran, Michael F. Striking Change: The Great Artistic Collaboration of Theodore Roosevelt Augus- tus Saint-Gaudens. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2008. (GB40.M6s)

Sieber, Arlyn G. “Images of Liberty.” The Numis- matist (July 2016).

Woolley, Robert W. “Symbolism of the New Coins of 1916.” Report of the Director of the Mint (July 15, 1916).

Categories : Location
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~~ SLQ ~~ Part One ~~

In September 2019 the cover story of the Numismatist

featured a superb story

by Edward Van Orden

entitled,

“Collecting a Masterpiece;

an Introduction to the Standing Liberty Quarter”

CLICK HERE or Above for full Article

screenshot of ANA Museum, Robert B. Kelley.

Credit: ANA Museum Photo / Robert B. Kelley (Screenshot by Webmaster on 3-5-2020)

 

SLQ Article: The Numismatist Sept ‘19

Edward Van Orden describes the Standing Liberty quarter dollar by saying:

“Eversince it first appeared  in circulation in January 1917, the Standing Liberty quarter (SLQ) has been considered  among the most beautiful U.S. coins ever produced.  Its historically symbolic and sculptural design played a vital role in elevating the artistry of U.S. silver coinage.

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

Crafted by American sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947), this iconic image of Liberty was the winning entry in a contest that drew upward of 50 submissions. An artist of some renown, MacNeil designed the east pediment of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., and sculpted a rendering of General George Washington for the Washington Square Arch in New York’s Greenwich Village. MacNeil’s Liberty spoke to the movement in American numismatics initiated in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt and preeminent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In the spirit of Saint-Gaudens’ double eagle (gold $20)and 

Victor D. Brenner’s Lincoln cent designs, – the quarter found its renaissance, boasting a style hearkening back to antiquity that intertwined artisan form with transactional function

At a time when most of Europe was actively engaged in the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson, elected on a peace platform in 1916, was biding our country’s time before directly involving the United States militarily. It was against this backdrop that the Standing Liberty quarter was unveiled to an eager public.

Robert W Wollery, Director of US Mint 1915-1916

The design fittingly reflected America’s increasing global involvement, epitomized by Miss Liberty’s confident, forward movement, holding a shield in her left hand for protection and an olive branch in her right for peace. Our nation, for the most part, desired peace but was prepared to defend itself and its way of life. In the words of Mint Director Robert W. Woolley in July 1916, the design seemed to typify “the awakening interest of the country in its own protection.”

FOR CONTINUED ARTICLE VIEW HERE

To be Continued …  Come back for MORE ….

~~~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES used by Van Orden for his article:

Benford, Timothy B., Jr. “MacNeil’s Liberty: Art or Obscenity?” The Numismatist (December 2003).

Brothers, Eric. “New York City: Mecca of Numis- matic Artistry.” The Numismatist (November 2013). Cline, J.H. Standing Liberty Quarters, 3rd edition.

Palm Harbour, FL: author, 1997.
Dolnick, Michael M. “Design Changes on the Lib-

erty Standing Quarter.” The Numismatist (Septem- ber 1954).

Doyle, Al. “Class of 1916, Part 2.” The Numismatist (October 2016).

____. “MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Quarter among Most Artistic.” Coin World’s Coin Values (November 2004).

Duffield, Frank G. “Slight Change in the Die of Quarter Dollars.” The Numismatist (June 1926).

Kelman, Keith N. Standing Liberty Quarters. Nashua, NH: International Numismatica Corporation, 1976. (ANA Library Catalog No. GB24.K4) .

LaMarre, Tom. “MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Remains a Favorite.” Coins magazine (September 30, 2009).

Lange, David W. “The Coinage of 1921.” The Numismatist (December 2003).

____. “Collecting Standing Liberty Quarters.” The Numismatist (December 2003).

____. “The Impossible Dream.” The Numismatist (October 2005).

____. “1923-S Coinage, Part 2.” The Numismatist (September 2011).

____. “The Standing Liberty Quarter.” The Nu- mismatist (July 2016).

Moran, Michael F. Striking Change: The Great Artistic Collaboration of Theodore Roosevelt Augus- tus Saint-Gaudens. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2008. (GB40.M6s)

Sieber, Arlyn G. “Images of Liberty.” The Numis- matist (July 2016).

Woolley, Robert W. “Symbolism of the New Coins of 1916.” Report of the Director of the Mint (July 15, 1916).

 

2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – OBVERSE (Photo Credit The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

Hermon MacNeil’s first concept for the new Liberty Standing Quarter dollar looked a good bit different than what we are familiar with. 

A recent minting of his first design has come onto the silver coin market.  It bears some surprises.

The late Jay Cline spent an entire lifetime and career dealing Standing Liberty Quarters.  In his book, Cline introduces the coin with the following words:

THE YEAR 1915

At the request of President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, the coinage of the U.S. in 1915 was about to change. For the first time in history the quarter would be different from the dime and the half-dollar.

There were three new coins to make their debut in 1916. The new winged Mercury dime, the Walking Liberty Half — these two having been designed by A. Weinman — and the Standing Liberty quarter designed by Hermon A. MacNeil.  A renaissance of interest in United States silver coins was beginning

WEBMASTER photo of 2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – Reverse (Coin purchased from The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

WEBMASTER photo of 2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – OBVERSE (Coin purchased from The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – REVERSE (Photo Credit The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

For over a century the Standing Liberty Quarter has remained a collectible issue of Teddy Roosevelt’s Renaissance of American Coinage

The following article by Tom LaMarre in Coin Magazine summarizes the polulafrity of this Lady Liberty by Mr MacNeil:

MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Remains a Favorite

By Tom LaMarre, Coins Magazine
September 30, 2009

Hermon A. MacNeil created some memorable works, including the statues “The Sun Vow” and “Pony Express.” But coin collectors consider his real masterpiece to be the Standing Liberty quarter.

Rich in symbolism and finely engraved detail, the new quarter reflected the spirit of peace and preparedness just before the United States entered World War I. It also revived a classical style in sharp contrast to the abstract and modern trends that were sweeping the art world at that time.

In addition, the coin signified a different direction for its designer. MacNeil was known mainly for works depicting American Indians and Western pioneers.

Production of Standing Liberty quarters began in 1916. Despite the artistic merit of the design, its life was cut short after only 14 years (none were struck in 1922). Because of wearability and striking problems, and the decision to issue a George Washington commemorative, the last Standing Liberty quarter was minted in 1930.

The series was short, but it produced some memorable rarities, including the 1916 and 1918/7-S Standing Liberty quarters. Almost as interesting as the coins themselves is the story of how they came into existence and inspired a greater awareness of artistic values in the world of coins.

The $2,300 Design

The Barber quarter had been around since 1892, and although it did the job, no one was thrilled with the design. In December 1915, a competition was held to come up with new designs for the dime, quarter and half dollar. MacNeil, Adolph Weinman and Albin Polasek were invited to submit entries.

Each sculptor was promised $300. An additional $2,000 would go to the creator of each model that was accepted for production. The deadline for entries was April 16, 1916.

Polasek was the only loser. Weinman’s entries were selected for the dime and half dollar. MacNeil’s design was chosen for the quarter.

MacNeil reportedly found a rooftop studio in the heart of New York City. There, according to a contemporary account, he could work on his coinage design “high above the dirt and noise of the street.”

MacNeil decided to place a standing Liberty figure on the obverse of the quarter. Initially there was a dolphin on each side of the pedestal below Liberty, representing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Panama Canal had recently opened, and even though the canal had inspired its own commemorative coins in 1915, MacNeil apparently thought a further tribute would be appropriate on the new quarter.

A bronze cast of the obverse with dolphins still exists. Originally intended for the preparation of dies, it turned up at a garage sale in 2001.

MacNeil eventually changed his mind about the dolphins. After the deadline for entries had passed, he requested and received permission to make some changes to the design during the next few weeks. The dolphins, which had been ridiculed by Mint workers, were nowhere to be seen on the revised obverse that appeared on production quarters.

On the reverse of the quarter, MacNeil depicted a low-flying eagle flanked by 13 stars.

The winning entries in the coin design competition were unveiled on May 30, 1916. At that time a press dispatch said that Treasury Secretary William MacAdoo, Mint Director Robert W. Woolley and the Commission of Fine Arts had found them to be “most satisfactory from an artistic point of view.”

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

Mint Director Robert W. Woolley was so involved overseeing the preparation of the quarter design at the Mint that the Gettysburg Times predicted it would be known as the “Woolley quarter” or simply the “Woolley.” In reality, the designer was Hermon Atkins MacNeil, described by The Iowa Recorder as a “sculptor of prominence.”

“The designer of the new quarter is Hermon A. MacNeil, N.A.,” the June 8, 1916, issue of Cornell Magazine, published by Cornell University, reported. “Mr. MacNeil was commissioned recently to execute the statue of Ezra Cornell which is to be unveiled by the University in 1918. He is the sculptor of the memorial bust of Robert Henry Thurston in Sibley College.”

Cornell had reason to be proud of MacNeil. He had taught there, and at the Chicago Art Institute.

MacNeil was born in Massachusetts in 1866. He graduated from the Normal Art School in Boston and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Julian Academy. By the turn of the century, he had returned to the United States and opened his own studio.

MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” was displayed at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition and won a silver medal. It was made at the American Academy in Rome and cast in bronze in Paris. Today it is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

MacNeil designed an award medal for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. It was presented to Victor D. Brenner, who later designed the Lincoln cent. MacNeil also designed a 1926 medal commemorating the tercentenary of the purchase of Manhattan.

For the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, MacNeil created the “Fountain of Liberty.” Other works by the sculptor include “The Moqui Runner,” “A Primitive Chant,” “The Coming of the White Man,” the McKinley Memorial in Columbus and the Marquette Memorial in Chicago.

MacNeil’s work was included in an exhibition held in conjunction with the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, and at a show staged in 1936 in New York City under a Works Progress Administration banner. The WPA was a Depression-era agency that provided employment on federal projects. Many artists and sculptors were commissioned to paint murals or create sculptures for post offices and other government buildings.

MacNeil died in his home on Long Island Sound in 1947. It had been 17 years since the last Standing Liberty quarter was struck. One of MacNeil’s last works was the statue “The Pony Express,” dedicated in 1940 in St. Joseph, Mo.

On the 100th anniversary of MacNeil’s birth, Hermon MacNeil Park was dedicated in College Point, Queens, N.Y. The guest of honor was the woman believed to be the model for the Standing Liberty quarter.

Doris Doscher

She was an actress who starred in “The Birth of a Race” (sometimes shown with the alternate title “The Story of a Great Peace”) in 1918. But when she appeared on the television program “I’ve Got a Secret” in April 1966, her secret was that she was the model for Liberty on the Standing Liberty quarter.

Time magazine also credited Doscher as the model for the coin at the time of her death in March 1970.

Doscher, sometimes going by the name Doris Doree, starred in several silent films. “The Birth of a Race” is the story of two brothers in a German-American family during World War I. One fights for the United States, and the other for Germany. Doscher played Eve, the wife of one of the brothers.

Doscher was also a professional model. She was the model for the “Pulitzer Fountain of Abundance” by Karl Bitter, completed by Isadore Konti and Karl Gruppe in 1915. The fountain represents Pomona, the Roman goddess of orchards, and stands in front of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Doscher also modeled for “Faith, Hope and Charity,” “Diana of the Chase,” “Memory,” “Kneeling Madonna” and Hermon MacNeil’s “The Angel of Peace.”

Possibly the earliest published reference to Doscher as MacNeil’s model for Liberty on the quarter was an item in the April 8, 1917, issue of The Syracuse Herald.

Doris married Dr. William Baum. She had a radio show on health and beauty and wrote a newspaper column, and she was a guest of honor at the dedication of Hermon MacNeil park.

Doris Doscher Baum, however, was not the only woman to claim the honor of being the model for the Standing Liberty quarter.

Irene MacDowell

Long after MacNeil died, a former Broadway actress and professional model, Irene MacDowell, claimed that she was the model for the Standing Liberty quarter. MacDowell was the wife of MacNeil’s tennis partner. For the sake of everyone concerned, it was thought best to keep her role as model a secret and let Doscher take the credit.

Irene broke the silence in 1972, at the age of 92, recalling that she posed for MacNeil for 10 days, wearing a white, sheet-like drapery that she described as “a kind of classical robe.”

MacDowell was described as statuesque and “handsome.” She frequently posed for MacNeil and reportedly was a model for some of the figures on the “Soldiers and Sailors Monument” in Albany, N.Y.

Patterns

Except for the matter of the dolphins, MacNeil had the quarter dollar design nailed down almost from the beginning. Patterns showing the development of the design are rare. One pattern is nearly the same as the Standing Liberty quarter as issued but lacks MacNeil’s initial on the obverse.

Another pattern has a reverse without stars, the eagle is flying higher and there are laurel branches at the sides. Examples exist with and without the designer’s initial.

Pattern 1916 Standing Liberty quarters are rarer than Walking Liberty half dollar and Mercury dime patterns. In the 1930s, a few 1916 Walking Liberty half dollar patterns were found in circulation. A 1916 Mercury dime pattern was discovered in pocket change in the early 1960s. In the case of the Standing Liberty quarter, however, no such circulation finds have been reported.

1916

The design process was so involved and took so long that you might say Liberty had to crawl before she could stand up and walk. The Standing Liberty quarter was scheduled to be released on July 1, 1916. A New York Times story with a July 2, 1916, dateline jumped the gun and claimed the coin made its debut as planned. In reality, however, the Mint was having trouble preparing the design for production, and another six months would pass before the Standing Liberty quarter went into circulation.

In September 1916, Albert Norris, chief clerk of the Philadelphia Mint, explained that die-makers usually had trouble when designs were prepared by artists who were not familiar with the mechanical requirements of coin production. The problem with the Standing Liberty quarter was that the relief was too high for the design to strike up properly.

Production of Standing Liberty quarters did not begin until Dec. 16, 1916 and was limited to the Philadelphia Mint in the first year of the design. By Dec. 31, 1916, only 52,000 had been struck. They were released in early January 1917.

Soon Philadelphia coin dealer Henry Chapman was offering 1916 Standing Liberty quarters for a dollar apiece. Speculation was widespread, and the Treasury Department responded with a January 1917 release of the mintage figure (incorrectly stated as 62,000 instead of 52,000). A press dispatch said the statement was being issued “to correct any impression that the coins are rare” and to thwart the “sharpers.”

An original roll of 1916 Standing Liberty quarters was available as late as the 1950s. Today it’s a different story. A Mint State-60 example is valued at $16,500.

Peace and Preparedness

Possibly more than any other coin, the Standing Liberty quarter succeeded in capturing the spirit of its time. With World War I raging in Europe and a presidential election campaign stirring things up at home, themes of peace and preparedness were on everyone’s mind.

According to the official description of the Standing Liberty quarter, the design was “intended to typify in a measure the awakening interest of the country to its own protection.” Liberty was depicted stepping forward to the gateway of the country. In her raised left arm was a shield from which the covering was being drawn, symbolizing the nation’s readiness to defend itself. In her right hand was an olive branch representing the desire for peace.

As the New York Times put it, the new quarter symbolized “America Awake.” Another writer, however, saw in the design “some too darkly veiled allegory of the Woman’s Party and the suffrage movement.”

The Standing Liberty quarter had a sculptural quality that set it apart from all previous quarter dollars. The Numismatist described it as “strikingly beautiful.” The New York Times called it a “silvern beauty.”

The Mansfield (Ohio) News said the Standing Liberty quarter was “fair to look upon,” but claimed the design should have been used on a medal instead of a coin, which it described as a “dirt collector.”

Changes

Legend has it that there was a public outcry against Liberty’s exposed right breast on the Standing Liberty quarter. But if this were the case, it doesn’t seem to have been mentioned in newspapers of the day.

MacNeil himself was dissatisfied with the original design and told a friend he was making a stand for changes. Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo and Rep. William Ashbrook of Ohio, who also happened to be a member of the American Numismatic Association, lobbied for the passage of legislation. Public Law 27 of July 9, 1917, made the changes to the Standing Liberty quarter official.

In addition to adding a covering of mail to Liberty, what was perceived to be her “bowlegged” appearance was eliminated, her head was lowered, the covering of the shield was pulled tighter, and the border was made less ornate.

On the reverse, the eagle was repositioned so that it was flying higher, and the arrangement of stars was changed, with three stars placed below the eagle.

Two bronze casts of the revised reverse were made. One of them, which surfaced several years ago, may have been kept by MacNeil as a back-up. The other bronze cast, measuring more than six inches in diameter, is in the Smithsonian.

McAdoo approved the revised Standing Liberty quarter design on Aug. 19, 1917. A prominent numismatist, Farran Zerbe, reported that the eagle was higher on the modified design, the features of the Liberty head were stronger, and Liberty’s “undraped bust” had been given a “corsage of mail.”

Collectors classify Standing Liberty quarters of the original design as Variety 1, and the revised version as Variety 2.

A Valuable Mistake

The Philadelphia Mint was a busy place in the autumn of 1917. Workers were making dies for 1917-dated coins to keep up with heavy demand. At the same time, they were preparing 1918-dated dies for the coming year.

Each die required several blows from a hub. By mistake, an obverse quarter dollar die received an impression from a 1917 hub and was sent to the annealing room to be hardened. When it was returned to the die room for additional impressions, it went to the wrong machine and was stamped with a 1918-dated hub. The finished die somehow slipped by the inspector and was sent to the San Francisco Mint, where it was used to strike a small number of 1918/7-S quarters.

The first example of the overdate wasn’t reported until the 1930s. At first, collectors thought it was the result of wartime cost-cutting at the Mint and that a 1917 die had been restamped with an “8” so it could be used another year.

Most of the rare quarters had seen years of use before the variety was publicized. As a result, mint-state examples of the 1918/7-S are rare.

Protecting the Date

Early Standing Liberty quarters are harder to find than later issues because the date, often weakly struck to begin with, quickly wore away in circulation. In 1925 a depression was made in Liberty’s pedestal to protect the date from friction. The revision was not entirely successful, but occasional Standing Liberty quarters with the date still visible could be found in pocket change as late as the mid-1960s.

Bad Luck

In its own time, the Standing Liberty quarter was considered an unlucky coin. There are 13 stars at the sides of the gateway through which Liberty is passing, 13 stars around the border on the reverse side of the coin, 13 letters in the inscription “QUARTER DOLLAR” and 13 letters in “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

A Wading Bird

An early newspaper item really stretched things when it said the eagle on the reverse of the Standing Liberty quarter was the same as on the Great Seal, but without the shield. The writer might just as well have said that Liberty was the same as on the Barber quarter, but she was shown standing.

The truth was that the eagle on the Standing Liberty quarter was unlike the bird on any other U.S. coin, and that difference caused some problems.

In 1928, a letter to the editor of the New York Times claimed the eagle on the quarter had the feet of a wading bird and was depicted in the act of taking off instead of in full flight. To put it bluntly, the eagle had the feet of a duck.

MacNeil was not amused. He responded with a letter defending the design, but it didn’t make much difference. Because of other factors, the Standing Liberty quarter would only be struck two more years.

Mystery of the 1931 Quarter

Quarters were struck only at the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints in 1930. No quarters were struck for circulation in 1931, a Depression year. But counterfeits may exist.

In August 1931, Secret Service agents smashed a counterfeiting ring that had been making and passing fake quarters in Pennsylvania towns for eight months. They were cast from molds in the basement of the home of Anna Kasemar and her teenage daughter Margaret.

The same year, two men were sent to the Atlanta penitentiary for possessing counterfeit quarters. At least one arrest for counterfeiting quarters was also made in New York City in 1931. Some of the counterfeits might have survived and may be the basis for the long-running rumor of a 1931-dated Standing Liberty quarter.

Replacement

In 1931 a design competition was announced for a coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. At first a Washington half dollar seemed likely, but government officials instead decided on a Washington quarter.

In February 1931, the Christian Science Monitor reported that the head of George Washington may appear on the quarter in 1932. The first Washington quarters were released in August 1932. No one was sure whether the Washington quarter would be a one-year commemorative or an ongoing regular issue. The Numismatist predicted that if the design were popular, it would remain in production.

Because of the Depression, no quarters were struck in 1933. When production resumed in 1934, the Washington design returned.

Once hailed as a “silvern beauty,” the Standing Liberty quarter slipped away quietly. As the New York Times put it, Liberty was a loser on new coin designs picturing presidents, and the Standing Liberty which had adorned the quarter since 1916 was on its way out.

MacNeil intended the Standing Liberty quarter to be a symbol of wartime sentiment. According to the Treasury secretary, it was a “fast-wearing” design that never quite worked out. In the opinion of collectors, it is a masterpiece that will stand in beauty forever.

 

HAM-SLQ-BronzeMaster

by William Harry Warren Bicknell

Close-up of etching of Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil by W. H. W. Bicknell dated 1897

William Harry Warren Bicknell was an American artist born in 1860 in Boston Massachusetts. His etching of Carol Brooks MacNeil (below) is on paper and framed behind glass. It measures about 8”x9.5” (etching) frame is 12.25” x 14.5”. The etching is dated 1897 (note signature block on bottom photo).

The work was obtained from the estate sale of Walter Pratt, first cousin of Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Carol Brooks was a sculptor and artist in her own right. She was one of the “White Rabbits” who worked on the 1893 World Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair). In addition, on Christmas Day of 1895, she married Hermon Atkins MacNeil designer of the Standing Liberty Quarter.

Another similiar sample of the work of William Harry Warren Bicknell is offered below. Most of his works on the Smithsonian American Art Museum website are “Untitled”  Click Here

This work of William Harry Warren Bicknell is Untitled (woman in plumed hat), n.d., etching on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Leonard Hastings Schoff, 1979.33.2

Stay tuned to HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com for more on Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil and the other women sculptors called the “White Rabbits” of 1897 Chicago Worlds Fair.

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1886-2016

150th Anniversary of the Birth of

Hermon A. MacNeil (click here)

  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1916-2016

100th Anniversary of the Minting

of the Standing Liberty Quarter (click here) Dollar sculpted by

Hermon A. MacNeil

Hermon Atkins MacNeil (b. 1866 - d. 1947)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil (b. 1866 – d. 1947)

2016 marks the anniversary of two events:

Hermon MacNeil’s Birth: (click here)

He was born in Chelsea (Plattsville, Everett, Malden), Massachusetts. The area went through many changes of names, annexation, and incorporation from 1860-1900. [ CLICK HERE FOR MORE on MacNeil’s Birth ]

The Minting of the Standing Liberty Quarter: (click here)

Issued from 1916-1930 the Standing Liberty Quarter (SLQ) sculpted by Hermon A. MacNeil.  [ CLICK HERE FOR MORE on SLQ ]

Hermon Atkins MacNeil 1916

From MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Design was one of the first US Coins designed by an sculptor.

WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Here is ONE place to go to see sculpture of Hermon A. MacNeil & his students. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and private, these creations point us toward the history and values that root Americans.

Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
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WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the work from all angles, including setting.
2. Take close up photos of details that you like
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of you & others beside the work.
5. Tell your story of adventure. It adds personal interest.
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