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

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School. MacNeil led a generation of sculptors in capturing many fading Native American images and American history in the realism of this classic style.

~ World’s Fairs, statues, public monuments, coins, and buildings across to country. Hot-links (on the lower right) lead to photos & info of works by MacNeil.

~ Hundreds of stories and photos posted here form this virtual MacNeil Gallery of works all across the U.S.A.  New York to New Mexico — Oregon to South Carolina.

~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth on February 27,

Take a Virtual Journey

This website seeks to transport you through miles and years with a few quick clicks of a mouse or keyboard or finger swipes on an iPad.

Perhaps you walk or drive by one of MacNeil's many sculptures daily. Here you can gain awareness of this artist and his works.

For over one hundred years his sculptures have graced our parks, boulevards, and parkways; buildings, memorials, and gardens; campuses, capitols, and civic centers; museums, coinage, and private collections.

Maybe there are some near you!

Search Results for "marquette panels"

Here are my two favorite young Chicagoans coming back from a theater performance of “Hamilton”. They stopped and posed below the second panel.

In 2019 the Marquette Building construction has the four bas relief panels (above the doors) protected under scaffolding while the edifice is under repair.  >—–>>

Hermon MacNeil’s first studio home was  in the Marquette Building of Chicago in 1895. His wedding reception for him and Carol Brooks was hosted there on Christmas Day eve 1895.

From that same location, his Four Bronze Panels over the front doors have been telling the story of Father Marquette for 124 years.  They welcome visitors into the Marquette Building, just as the Native Americans met and welcomed the European explorers to Northwest Territory.  The Native Americans who lived in these regions include the Ojibwa, Huron, Ottowa, Illini, Potawatomi, and Menominee.  MacNeil placed these tribes on the Marquette Memorial Statue on Douglas Avenue in 1926.

MacNeil carved the tribal names in the Marquette Memorial of 1926. His moccasins are exquisite in detail, looking life-like.

 [(These Panels were refurbished to their original bronze luster in 2009.) CLICK HERE]

“Over the doors of the main entrance are panels of bronze, designed and executed by Mr. Herman A. MacNeil, illustrating incidents in the life of Pere Marquette in his explorations of the Mississippi River and the state of Illinois…The inscriptions below are panels taken from Marquette’s diary.” 
Architectural Reviewer, July 1897

Before the remodeling the panels look like this. MacNeil’s bronze panels of 1895.

MacArthur Foundation began restorations in 2001.

Marquette Building at 140 S. Dearborn Ave in Chicago with four MacNeil bronze sculptures above the entry doors

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation began ongoing restoration phases after acquiring the structure in 2001.

These phases include the following:

In 2001, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, its current owners, began a multi-year renovation.[18] The restoration to the exterior proceeded in two phases: reconstructing the cornice and replacing the 17th story windows to match the original windows; and cleaning and restoring the masonry and restoring the remainder of the windows.[8][19] Restoration architect Thomas “Gunny” Harboe directed this work.

The Foundation has invested in multiple restorations.

The Marquette and Joliette faces of MacNeil’s 1899 bronze reliefs at the Marquette building in the Loop resemble those likenesses he placed in his larger statue grouping on Douglas Avenue in 1926.

The Foundation website describes the History of the Panels as follows:   “Herman (sic: Hermon) MacNeil was a trained sculptor who worked on sculptures for the 1893 World’s Fair. After commissioning MacNeil for the exterior bronzes, Aldis wrote to Peter Brooks, “McNeil’s [sic] panels are being placed in position. It is greatly to their and his credit that these bas-reliefs have won for him the Roman [Reinhart] Fellowship. The Commission, choosing him as the best of the very young men…The young sculptor was married on Christmas Day, and sailed for Rome on Wednesday, and is, on the whole, the most happy young man I know. He is very grateful to the owners of the Marquette Building.” CLICK HERE

MacNeil modeled Black Pipe after meeting him in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at the Chicago Worlds Fair.

 

 

The fine features of the child contract those of the weathered warriors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/p/AF1QipMoXrdAoOT7PRD-QcwjCC96VrRg_aDC7F7aay66=s1600-w1600

~ MacNeil Month #4 ~

Last night. the new FOX cop drama “Chicago Code” showed Hermon A. MacNeil’s art in the Chicago loop.

MacNeils bronze panels above the Marquette’s four doors were prominent in the pilot episode of “Chicago Code” on FOX last night.

A scene featured the front of  the Marquette Building at 140 S. Dearborn Street. The building with it’ s four MacNeil Bronze panels (above the doors in the photo at right) was used as an evacuated office building.  Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) and his partner, Caleb Evers (Matt Lauria), create a fire-alarm-diversion-tactic to clear the office.  Office workers evacuated and stood on the side walk with the sculptures visible behind them.

FOX showed great shots of Chicago throughout the new series pilot, but the Marquette Building was our personal favorite.  We will keep searching for a still photo from that scene in this new fast action drama. For the link to the entire episode, see below.

Stay tuned to FOX and this website for more action (and possibly more MacNeil sculpture scenes — we are 1 for 1 so far this season). For video of news review from  Chicago check out MYFOXChicago.com.

For more info on Macneil’s 1895 sculptures on the Marquette Building check out this posting: https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/06/

The “Chicago Code” Pilot episode can be viewed at the link below. The Marquette Building scene starts at 17:54.  The  MacNeil panels are visible only for 6 seconds, but the scene outside the building continues for  almost a minute to 18:50.  No still photos have been found of this segment of the show. MacNeil Bronze relief panels on Marquette Building.

From the website archieves here's a less crowded group photo (6-12-10) of the MacNeil's bronze relief sculptures on the Marquette Building. The group includes the webmaster and family members examining and documenting the art.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s four bronze relief panels depicting the life of Father Marquette contain great detail.  The pictures in this album offer example of that.  They are also from our recent visit to the Chicago loop to document this art for the website.

Below you will find our Brief Videos of each of the four panels follow along with photos from the building:

[Click here Panel 1 for video]

“To follow those waters … which will hence forth lead us into strange lands.”

Photo of Panel 1

Panel 1 ” To follow those waters …”

[Click here Panel 2 for Video]

“In vain I showed the calumet …  to explain that we had not come as enemies.”

Photo of Panel 2

Panel 2 "In vain I showed the calumet …”

[ Click here Panel 3 for Video]

“Passing two leagues up the river we resolved to winter there … being detained by my illness.”

Photo of Panel 3

Panel 3 "Passing two leagues up the river ..."

[Click here Panel 4 for Video]

“The de Profundis was intoned … the body was then carried to the church.”

Photo of Panel 4

Panel 4 - "The de Profundis was intoned ..

"The de Profundus was intoned ..." from Panel 4 (right)

The Chicago Historical Society has recorded a brochure from the early 1900s describing Chicago as a Tourist point and Summer Resort.  The paragraph on the Marquette building and MacNeil’s art is as follows:

A block further south on Dearborn Street, on the west side, near the
corner of Adams Street, is the main entrance to the Marquette, a memorial
office building commemorating the great missionary and explorer of that
name. Over the lintels, on the outside, are statuary and descriptive bronze
tablets as follows, the accompanying legends being quotations from
Marquette's journal: 

Marquette and Joliet launching their canoe on the headwaters of the
Wisconsin River "To follow those waters * * * which will henceforth
lead us into strange lands." 

Marquette and Joliet attacked by Indians on the Mississippi "In vain I
showed the calumet * * * to explain that we had not come as enemies." 

Arrival of Marquette at the Chicago River "Passing two leagues up the
river we resolved to winter there * * * being detained by my illness."
 
Burial of Marquette at St. Ignace (Dablon's Narrative) "The De Profundis
was intoned * * * the body was then carried to the church. " 

Inside the portal one is in a compact but beautiful and unique rotunda
of-carrara marble, in which are exquisite Tiffany glass and mother-of-
pearl mosaics,further depicting the career of Marquette. These consist of
panels showing the armour and weapons of the period, the heads of Marquette
and Joliet, an Indian chief, a French man-at-arms, a courier-de-bois, and
the following three principal panels, the legends thereon being from
Marquette's journal:
 
Departure of Marquette and Joliet from St. Ignace on their first voyage to the
Illinois "Firmly resolved to do all and suffer all for so glorious an enterprise."
 
The meeting with the Illinois "They answered that they were Illinois, and in
token of peace presented the pipe to smoke. ' ' 
The Death of Marquette (Dablon's Narrative) "To die as he had always asked in a
wretched cabin amid the forest, destitute of all human aid." 

http://libsysdigi.library.uiuc.edu/OCA/Books2009-11/chicagofortouris00illi/chicagofortouris00illi_djvu.txt

H.A. MacNeil "Fan Club" Members examine the Marquette Building - 140 S. Dearborn Ave.

[mappress]

MacNeil's bronze sculpture of Marquette with an Ilinois Indian on his right hand.

Today we took a short trip south from our daughter’s home in Logan Square here in Chicago.  We drove south down through Douglas Park on Sacramento Blvd to Marshall Blvd as it becomes West 24th Blvd. There we found the 85 year old bronze grouping of Pere Marquette, Louis Jolliete, and an Illinois Indian that faces the greenway of the boulevard.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil completed this sculpture in 1926 under a commission by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson Monument Fund.  Between 1905 and 1931 the Fund placed ten sculptures throughout various parks and beltways of Chicago.

Benjamin Franklin Ferguson, an Chicago lumber baron, left a million dollars in his will of 1905 for the purpose of  “The erection and maintenance of enduring statuary and monuments, in whole or in part of stone, granite or bronze in the parks, along the boulevards or in other public places.”

The massive scale of the trio grouping of about 12 feet on a 6 foot pedestal is visible as one approaches the Monument along Marshall and 24th Avenue Boulevards.

Chicagoans pass by the Marquette Monument daily as it towers over the Boulevards.

The bronze rests on a stone base which has aged (along with the neighborhood) in the eighty-five years since the monument was placed along the busy parkway.

Moccassin detail of Illinois Indian.

MacNeil chose to portray a clean-shaven Marquette.  The many images commemorating the French priest vary in their depiction of his appearance.  Hundreds of monuments and statues stretch  across the path of Marquette’s 17th century missionary exploration of the central U.S. frontier.

Detail of Illinois indian's leg and mocassin shows the sculptor's attention to the human form.

While conducting research for her master’s thesis, Ruth Nelson fell in love with the story of St. Ignace founder Father Jacques Marquette and his exploration of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. That admiration for Fr. Marquette history has led her around the Midwest learning things long forgotten by many. Her goal is to share what she learns with the many towns connected to Fr. Marquette.

As an art history major at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ms. Nelson wrote her master’s thesis on the artwork in the lobby of the Marquette Building in downtown Chicago, focusing on the mosaic and bronze artwork centralized around Fr. Marquette and his travels.

Bibliography: Ruth Nelson: “Conflict and Resolution on Gilded Age Grandeur: The Artistic Program of the Marquette Building Interior,” University of Illinois at Chicago, Master’s Thesis, 2007

As mentioned in the May 22nd posting on this website, the MacNeil Relief Panels in the Marquette Building in Chicago Loop have been restored and reinstalled in the building edifice on Dearborn Street.

The Mackinaw Island Town Crier quoted Ms. Ruth Nelson as observing:

“We really don’t know what Marquette looks like, everyone has a different interpretation.”

In her years of research, Nelson has found that different statues of Fr. Marquette around the Great Lakes feature him differently.  “Some depict him clean-shaven or with a beard, bald or with a full head of hair, and still others feature him with a stern-looking facial expression or a calm demeanor.”

MacNeil chose a young Marquette, clean-shaven and gentle faced in the Reliefs for the Marquette building.  This second sculpture cast in 1926 bears a similar resemblance, particular to MacNeil’s conception of Jesuit priest.

The Marquette and Joliette faces of MacNeil’s 1899 bronze reliefs at the Marquette building in the Loop resemble those likenesses he placed in this larger statue grouping of 1926. {The priest did seem to lose some hair in the 27 year interval.}

The Marquette and Joliette faces of MacNeil's 1899 bronze reliefs at the Marquette building in the Loop resemble those likenesses he placed in this larger statue grouping of 1926. {The priest did seem to lose some hair in the 27 year interval.}

MacNeil's Jolliete image of 1926.

We can thank the B F Ferguson Monument Fund, now administered by the Art Institute of Chicago, for its ongoing completion of Mr Ferguson’s vision of an art-full Chicago.  The MacNeil work comes from the earliest quarter century of the Fund’s comissions, and represents a heroic style of commemoration common to the era.

Only by standing before the sculpture can its massive scale and detail be appreciated as it towers over the boulevards.   This reminder of history and the heroic figures was central to the early wish of BF Ferguson in his 1905 bequest to the Arts in Chicago.

[mappress]

Only by standing before the sculpture can its massive scale and detail be appreciated as it towers over the boulevards. Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at the foot of the Monument.

MacNeil modeled Black Pipe after meeting him in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show at the Chicago Worlds Fair ~ (photo by D. Neil Leininger) ~

Gregory H. Jenkins has posted stories of the Marquette Bronze relief panels at the Marquette Building – 140 N. Dearborn St. – Chicago.  Black Pipe, the Sioux that MacNeil met at the Buffalo Bill’s Wild west Show, adjacent to the 1983 Columbian Exposition, posed for him in 1894.  Some of the detail in the Bronze panel sculptures is amazingly intriguing up close.

Click HERE to see Jenkins comments and photos at: Chicago Sculpture in the Loop http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-buiding-hermon-atkins-macneil.html

"Primitive Indian Music" - A rare 1894 bronze casting of a sculpture later refined and cast in multiple copies as the "Primitive Chant to the great Spirit."

A recent inquiry from James Dixon has revealed a previously unseen 1894 bronze casting entitled “Primitive Indian Music.” The piece appears to be an early (or earliest) proto-type of  “The Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit” by Hermon A. MacNeil dated 1901.  

MacNeil marked this earlier piece on the base in block letters. He signed it simply “MACNEIL Sc”

It is dated [ ’94 ] similar to the Marquette Building panels of 1895, some of which are dated [ ’95]. SEE detail below: 

"MACNEiL 95" reads this signature on Panel 3 of Marquette Building, Chicago. (Detail from lower right corner - Note; mocassin foot in showshoe above signature.)

This ‘Dixon’ piece is marked like no other bronzes of the “Primitive Chant.” All others are dated 1901.  Jim tells us that his great grandmother, Eda Lord, lived in Evanston, Illinois, and purchased the statue between 1890 and 1900.

Jim Dixon knows this, because the sculpture has been in his family for four generations.  He found our website seeking more information on his family’s MacNeil art piece. Here’s how Jim shares his family’s story:

My Great Grandmother, Eda Lord, purchased a MacNeil sculpture in the late 1800’s when she lived in Evanston, Illinois. The sculpture made its way down the family tree to my Grandmother and then to my mom and dad and it was passed on to me when my mom passed away last year. The statue is of an Indian boy and is about 24″ tall (bronze) It is labeled “Primitive Indian Music MacNeil s: ’94” My review of the works of MacNeil pointed to the sculpture entitled “A primitive chant to the Great Spirit” at the Smithsonian Museum. My observation of the photo of “A primitive Chant…” lead me to believe that the two sculptures are the same. It this possible? Were multiple casting made of these statues? Was it common to re-cast the statue at a later time? I would be happy to send digital photos of the sculpture for your records, review and comments. Any further information you may have on this statue would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

James Dixon

The partial title "PRIMITIVE IND..." is visible here

Hers is partial title "Indian Music" and "MACNEIL Sc" with date " '94"

This photo of  markings on the piece read “PRIMITIVE…” and the next photo continues “INDIAN MUSIC”. The  signature bears no initials, only the full last name, “MACNEIL Sc”. Additional marks include a date [ ‘ 94 ]. These markings are consistent with MacNeil’s pre-1900 dates on the Marquette Panels — last name only with no initials. The block letter ( MACNEIL ) is “identical to Panel #3 of the Marquette Building.  In addition, consider the following:

  1. No foundry marks appear on this Dixon Family heirloom.
  2. More importantly no RBW (Roman Bronze Works) initials or name appears on the casting.  Roman Bronze Works is where most museum pieces of this work were cast.  They also bear the date of 1901.  RBW opened its doors in 1900 the same time that Hermon MacNeil settled in College Point, Queens, NYC, New York.
  3. The absence of RBW’s distinguishing mark, as found on the 1901 casts, and the Dixon family story of acquisition would seem to indicate a date before 1900 for the casting of this piece.
  4. The story of Hermon MacNeil and his hiring of Black Pipe (see previous post dated April 25, 2012) as a studio assistant and model are consistent with an 1894 dating of this piece.  In this conversation with J Walker McSpadden in 1924, MacNeil recalled the events:
    • MACNEIL: “Yes, and you may find it an interesting yarn. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show had been in Chicago during the Fair, and one of his braves was Black Pipe, a Sioux, a fine-looking fellow. He had stayed behind, and one day I met him on the streets, looking hungry and cold, and asked him if he wanted something to do. He did there was no doubt about that. I took him into the studio, fed him up, and then set to work modeling his head. I finished it in four hours, for I was not sure that I would ever see my Indian again; but he stayed with me in all for a year and a half, helping me with odd jobs about the studio. That’s his head there.”
    • It was a life-size bronze, which he indicated, not done in full relief but resting on a plaque a strong piece of portraiture.
    • MCSPADDEN: “In this and your later work with Indians,” I inquired, “did you have any trouble about making their likenesses? Some of them object to being photographed.”
    • MACNEIL: “Yes, many of the older Indians object; they think it takes the spirit out of them. But Black Pipe had been among white folks long enough to know better, and with others I managed to get around their superstitions. Black Pipe, by the way, posed for ‘The [312] Primitive Chant 5 which is one of my best-known Indian subjects.”
    • This is the spirited figure of a naked savage dancing to the music of his own flute. It has been widely copied in art prints.  [ Source: Joseph Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America, (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1924) pp. 311-12. ]
  5. This figure also appears to also be based on Black Pipe.  CLICK HERE for more on MacNeil and Black Pipe
  6. The only other evidence of a MacNeil Bronze from this period (1894) is “the Vow to Vengeance” in the Art Institute of Chicago which lists a date marking on 1894 as well.   SEE AIC Website HERE.

Many old photos of ‘plaster casts’ of this sculpture appear in museum archives.  This ‘Dixon’ bronze appears to be a very different find than other models, either plaster or bronze. 

WEBMASTER’S COMMENTS:

  1. Thanks Jim for the photos and inquiry.
  2. This seems a VERY early bronze casting from MacNeil’s 1893-1895 days at the Art Institute of Chicago (1893-1895).
  3. I have seen Plaster sculptures from this period but not Bronze casts. Perhaps, MacNeil was venturing (experimenting) into bronze castings. Another bronze from 1894 is this “Vow to Vengeance” which was an early version of the later “Sun Vow”  [ SEE Art Institute of Chicago holdings: CLICK HERE ]
  4. This “Primitive Indian Music” seems an early version of his “Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit.” of 1901. Your piece seems to be a ‘first’ to me. Spelled RARE. There maybe others, but they are not in museum archives, or accessible on-line. I certainly have not seen them.

  5. All other bronze casts I have seen photos of date after 1900. This includes “Primitive Chant” from museums and auction house photos. All those have RBW initials from NYC -Roman Bronze Works.
  6. The work seems much less finished (polished).  It appears rougher in texture (more primitive? early?). Not only Primitive Indian…, but also maybe Primitive MacNeil… ?

CONCLUSION (for now): This is a fascinating piece that seems to this non-curator-MacNeil-enthusiast to be one of Hermon’s earliest concepts of what he later cast as “Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit” in 1901. 

That piece was cast by Roman Bronze Works when MacNeil settled there in his studio-home in College Point NYC.

NEXT: “Who was Eda Lord? And How did she become owner of this early MacNeil sculpture?

WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Nearby or far away, there is no ONE place to go and appreciate this wide range of art pieces. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and hidden, these creations point us toward the history and values in which our lives as Americans have taken root.

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WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the entire work from several angles, including the surroundings.
2. Take close up photos of details that capture your imagination.
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature, often on bronze works. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of yourself and/or those with you standing beside the work.
5. Add your comments or a blog of your adventure. It adds personal interest for viewers.
6. Send photos to HAMacNeil@gmail.com Contact me there with any questions. ~~ Webmaster