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 "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

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~ 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.

Related Images:

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]

Related Images:

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.

Related Images:

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

Related Images:

"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?

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HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL

1945 Bust of Hermon MacNeil by Jo Davidson

Photo from ~1945 at MacNeil Cabin in Vermont

TRANSITIONS  

On this day seventy-four years ago, Hermon Atkins MacNeil died at his College Point Studio on October 2, 1947. 

The Photo at right (taken at the MacNeil Cabin in Vermont) and the Bust by Jo Davidson) both date from about 1945, just two years before his death.

The website  CHICAGO LOOP.ORG  celebrates architecture in the Windy City.  They tell the MacNeil story this way: 1

“Unable to transition from his Beaux Arts training to a more “modern” style, he had not had a major commission for nearly 15 years. 1 When he died, the contents of the studio was “hauled out to the dump” (where, much of the collection was salvaged by neighbor, illustrator John A. Coughlin who later donated it to the Smithsonian Institution.)  It hadn’t always been that way.” [See Note 1 Below]  http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2012/01/hermon-atkins-macneil.html

One of several “Black Pipe” modelings that MacNeil sculpted. ~1894

They continue to say: “In 1891, 25 year-old MacNeil came West to Chicago.  Where he assisted Philip Martiny with sculpture at the Electricity Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition (World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893).  And, where, on the Midway, he met Black Pipe, an Ogala Sioux, performing at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Native Americans and their culture became the inspiration for MacNeil’s art for years to come.  By late 1895 he was on his way to Monument Valley  with Hamlin Garland and C.F. Browne — after working with Edward Kemeys at the Marquette (and no doubt hearing stories of Kemeys Wyoming adventures some 20 years earlier).  The travels West were just the beginning. 

On Christmas Day 1895 after winning the Prixe de Rome, he married Carol (Carrie) Brooks (one of Lorado Taft’s “White Rabbits  – and a sculptor in her own right”).   They sailed to Europe to take up three years in residence at the American Academy in Rome.   And re-entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1900.  By 1901 he and Carol (with their two children) returned to America and established their studio in College Point on Long Island.  With an entire career before them.

To quote Chicago Architecture, “National in scope, Beaux Arts in inspiration, MacNeil returned to Chicago in 1909, briefly, for the Cook County Seal Commission.”

Hermon MacNeil ~ Seal of Cook County on the Courthouse ~ 1908

But my favorite remains his Four Panels of Father Marquette life scuplted in 1895 in Chicago.  “Where inspiration, youth, opportunity, and a beautiful, capable wife converged with the past and the future —

at the Marquette Building.”

Panel 4 – “The de Profundis was intoned … Fr. Marquette’s coffin carried.

Black Pipe, Sioux warrior from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, stranded after the 1893 World’s Fair closed. MacNeil took him in to his studio after he was desolate in Chicago.

The man front and center is Black Pipe.  (See detail at right). 

He is MacNeil’s model for the Ogalla Sioux Warrior memorialized at 140 South Dearborn Street.  Bearing the coffin of Father Marquette

See the entire collection of  Marquette photos at the CHICAGO LOOP.ORG

Originally Posted by chicagoandpointsnorth@gmail.com

Black Pipe lived at MacNeil’s studio, modeled for him, and worked as a gardener and assisted in tasks.

MacNeil’s bronze of Blackpipe, a Sioux warrior he befriended in 1893 (source Smithsonian Archives)

NOTE 1:

  1.  The comment Unable to transition from his Beaux Arts training to a more “modern” style, he had not had a major commission for nearly 15 years.”  is not entirely accurate.  The “15 years” comment ignores the following:  1) two statues (Alfred H. Terry and John Sedgwick) on Connecticut Capitol building in 1934;  2) the statue of George Rogers Clark at the National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana dedicated by President FDR in 1936; and 3) the Pony Express Monument in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1940.  It also overlooks 8 years of the Great Depression, plus 7 years of MacNeil’s retirement during those same fifteen years.   Furthermore, the word “unable” seems presumptuous.  Whether MacNeil was “unable” to transition or simply “chose not to transition” to a more modern style seems a false dilemma for speculatation.  His sixty-plus-years of sculpting in the Beaux Arts style fully documents his “able-ity” and his preference for creative expression. This website offers continual documentation of those abilities.

Related posts:

  1. Part 2: “Primitive Indian Music” ~ 1894 bronze casting discovered! Is this an early prototype of 1901 “Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit.” ??? (6) A recent inquiry from James Dixon has revealed a previously…
  2. “Chicago Sculpture in the Loop” features Hermon A. MacNeil’s Work at Marquette Building (5) Gregory H. Jenkins has posted stories of the Marquette Bronze…
  3. Hermon MacNeil Sculpture in the Chicago Loop (5) Gregory H. Jenkins AIA, Chicago architect and keeper of the …
  4. ~ ~ ~ “The Most Happy Young Man I Know” ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Hermon A. MacNeil ~ Success & Marriage! (5) 1895 Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American Sculptor (1866-1947) MacNeil’s bronze of…
  5. “PRIMITIVE INDIAN MUSIC” ~ Part 3: 1894 Eda Lord’s Ticket to the Chicago World’s Fair (5) Eda Lord, (the woman who purchased the MacNeil bronze statue,…
  6. MacNeil “Merry Christmas” (5) Christmas Greetings from the home of Hermon and Carol MacNeil. …

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Out of public view, deep in the archives of the Chicago Art Institute rests a 127 year old bust of Charles F. Browne,  American artist.

Cast in Bronze with a dark brown patina, the piece is signed on pedestal; “MacNeil ’94” / “American Art Bronze Foundry. J. Berchem. / Chicago”

Charles Francis Browne, MacNeil Colleague and American Artist.

The subject was Hermon MacNeil’s colleague, frontier traveling companion, and studio mate in their Marquette Building studio.  The piece came out of their years in Chicago after the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

The archival piece enters its third century of history “OFF VIEW” at the archives of  the Art Institute of Chicago.  Here we offered it exclusively to You, —“Friends of Hermon Atkins MacNeil”  —  & followers of ‘HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com’.   ENJOY !!

1895.   With Hamlin Garland as their guide, the pair rode by train and horse back to the south west territories of the Navajo, Hopi, (Moqui). MacNeil recalled years later, “We found Indians a plenty and perhaps because I was keenly interested in them I was in heaven and I flared to a high pitch, working from sunrise to dark. …”

“Browne painted murals for the Children’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition and became an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago’s rapidly growing school.” 2

Hamilin Garland and Browne were “double” brothers-in-law having married sisters of Lorado Taft, the chief sculptor of the Exposition. Taft was the brother of both of their wives.  They all along with MacNeil were part of the Eagles Nest, a summer artist  colony in Oregon, Illinois.  Browne was a founder of the summer group.

Portrait of Charles F. Browne by H. A. MacNeil 1894. Art Institute of Chicago. [Signed on pedestal; “MacNeil ’94” / “American Art Bronze Foundry. J. Berchem. / Chicago”] 1

The adventure in the Summer of 1895 shaped the lives of all three men, but especially MacNeil who evolved an enduring interest in the Native American Indian as a subject of Beaux Arts sculpture.  

The dating of the bust of C. F. Browne precedes their venture to the Southwest Territory but documents the shared years of their early careers in the 19th century.  

Writing in 1943, MacNeil recalls these years in Chicago:

“I took a small studio in Chicago and tried to see if I could make a go of it. C. F. Browne, painter, was also stranded there and I invited him to share a studio with me. During that year (evenings) I was asked to teach sculpture and drawing in the school of the Art Institute and also had the good fortune to have four bas-reliefs to do illustrating the life of Pere Marquette.”  [ MacNeil, Autobiography

MacNeil’s four bas-reliefs of the life of Pere Marquette still make frame the four-door entrance of the building

The Marquette Building panels after cleaning efforts several years ago sparkle with history and beauty at the 140 South Dearborn Street entrance.

Chicago Architecture celebrated the building renovation and mentioned the 126 year old sculpture panels”

“At the main entrance are four bronze relief sculptures by Hermon A. MacNeil illustrating Father Marquette and Louis Joliet’s travels. They depict the pair launching their canoes, meeting Native Americans, arriving at the Chicago River, and interring Marquette’s body. On the revolving doors are kick plates with tomahawks and push plates with panther heads designed by Edward Kemeys (of the Art Institute lions fame). The vestibule features French and Catholic motifs like fleurs-de-lis and the cross.” 

~ ~ ~ ~  Chicago Art Institute Notations for this work ~ ~ ~ ~

Portrait of Charles F. Browne by H. A. MacNeil 1894.

Portrait of Charles Francis Browne.  Date: 1894
Artist: Hermon Atkins MacNeil.  American, 1866–1947
ABOUT THIS ARTWORK:  Currently Off View

SOURCES:

  1. Art Institute of Chicago. Portrait of Charles Frances Brown by Hermon MacNeil.    https://www.artic.edu/artworks/102974/portrait-of-charles-francis-browne
  2. See Also:  M Christine Schwartz Collection.  https://schwartzcollection.com/artist/charles-francis-browne/

 

Related Images:

2021

PAN                                              MINERVA

 Two bas relief panels by Hermon A. MacNeil have been discovered.  PAN on the left – MINERVA on the right.

They have remained virtually hidden for  over 100 years.

Their original installation and images are verified, but their continued deposition as of 2021 remains uncertain.

The above article from 1916 accompanied the the photos of Pan and Minerva in The International Studio, Vol 59, p LVIII.

Hermon A. MacNeil sculpted these bas reliefs over  a century ago.  Documentation of Pan and Minerva has appeared in recent searches by the webmaster.  

Information discovered in recent weeks include:

  • A Pair of Bas-reliefs of PAN and MINERVA
  • Material: 2 terra cotta reliefs
  • Dimensions: 2 1/2 feet by 4 feet
  • Mr. Hill Tolerton, Owner
  • William C. Hays, Architect
  • Location: 540 Sutter St., San Francisco
  • Building originally designed as an Art establishment
  • Made in Italian Renaissance style with an  upper mezzanine level
  • Adjoining Courtyard patterned after that of the Italian Building in the late Pan-Pacific Exposition  of 1915
  • The 2 reliefs no longer appear on the face of the building as was the stated design. [SEE Google street PHOTO included  below of 540 Sutter Street today]
  • The above images are the only record of the MacNeil work presently found.  Other evidence may be uncovered in subsequent searches.

Mr. Tolerton wanted the facade of his new Art Gallery on Sutter Street in San Francisco ornamented by two “sculptured placques”.  He commissioned MacNeil, a sculptor of the Pan Pacific Exposition of 1915, to make these reliefs of Pan and Minerva to grace his new Art building.

One of Pan the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr.

The other of Minerva the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools, and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena.

THESE TWO ICONS MARKED TOLERTON’S NEW BUILDING AS AN ART CENTER.  [ They do not appear in the street photo captured below from 2020 ]

No trace of the MacNeil bas relief panels of Pan and Minerva at 540 Sutter Street, San Francisco in this 2020 street photo via Google maps. Perhaps they were originally in the space high above the doorway and window a century ago in what now appears as stucco finish.  SO, … PAN & MINERVA still remain hidden in the 21st century — if they still exist at all!

SOURCES:

  1. “Two Bas Reliefs by Hermon A. MacNeil”, The International Studio, Ed: Charles Holmes, et. al. Vol.59, p. lviii.  from Google Books on 1/3/2021 at https://books.google.com/books?id=q09aAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR58&dq=Pan+Minerva+san+francisco+Mr.+Hill+Tolerton+1916&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiWheuZtYPuAhVWZc0KHWyZDScQ6AEwAHoECAMQAg#v=onepage&q=Pan%20Minerva%20san%20francisco%20Mr.%20Hill%20Tolerton%201916&f=false
  2. “A New San Francisco Gallery”, American Art News.  Vol. XIV, No. 33, New York, May 20, 1916. p. 1.

Related Images:

Christmas Eve 1895.

Chicago, Illinois

There was a Wedding in …

Hermon MacNeil’s Studio

~ 1733 Marquette Building ~

Married in a private ceremony on Christmas Day Hermon and Carol MacNeil had a reception in the Marquette Building

Carol Louise Brooks as a young girl. An Etching by William Harry Warren Bicknell. (about 1891)

 

 

Every Christmas we remember this

Special Christmas Day Wedding of two sculptors. 

They met in Chicago, Carol’s hometown as they sculpted the “White City” of The Worlds Columbian Exposition (aka. Chicago Worlds Fair). That event opened in May 1893.  

Hermon made figures on the Electricity Building. Carol (Carrie) was a student of Lorado Taft and became a “White Rabbit”, that group of select females  permitted to sculpt as the deadline for opening day loomed closer.

Two years later Hermon, age 29, proposed to Carol (Carrie) just 24.  She accepted. They got a Marriage License on Christmas Eve and used it the next day.  Several weeks later they sailed to Rome where Hermon had accepted the Reinhart Fellowship and they both continued to learn sculpture for 3 years.  And then spent a a fourth year in Paris.

~ Christmas Day 1895 ~

Related Images:

Hermon MacNeil often made Christmas Cards that  featured his own drawings and studio images.

MacNeil Christmas card from 1922.

Here’s a Card from 1922  ==>>

This pencil sketch proclaiming “Merry Christmas 1922” appears reminiscent of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”

In that composition, a Native Chief, possibly Sioux, coaches a young warrior through a rite of passage — shooting an arrow into the of the sun.

In MacNeil’s 1922 Christmas drawing, a similar pair of figures wave a banner of seasons greetings.  Their presence seems a reprise of the Sun Vow sculpture.

While that was over a century ago, here’s what we can know  today:

  • We know being an artist, MacNeil often carried and kept sketchbooks. 
  • We know he would sit in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his sketchbook.
  • We know he sketched D. L Moody at an interdenominational Sunday Worship in Wild Bill’s Arena (since no Sunday shows were allowed and Moody rented the venue)
  • We know he traveled, sketched and sculpted on his trip to the Southwest territories in 1895 (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado). 
  • We know he formed clay and plaster images there; and he shipped many back to Chicago.
  • We know that his memory of Native images dominated his sculptures for the next ten years.

I suspect that the idea for this card sprang up from the artist’s visual memory, perhaps, revived from an old sketchbook.  A dusty record of images that he first saw three decades earlier at the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Here’s More from this website:

“Native American Themes: His first introduction to native subjects came through Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. During the 1893 Worlds Fair, Buffalo Bill’s troupe performed in a carnival setting outside the main entrance. Fascinated, MacNeil’s artist-eye and imagination took every opportunity to see the show and sketch the ceremonies and rituals of Indian life — MacNeil often carried a sketch book. He latter befriended Black Pipe, a Sioux warrior from the show, who he found down-and-out on the Chicago streets after the carnival midways of the Fair had  closed.  MacNeil invited Black Pipe to model for him and assist in studio labors, which he did for over a year.  Inspired by these native subjects and encouraged by Edward Everett Ayers, MacNeil found a respect for this vanishing Native culture and made subsequent trips to the southwest.  When the Marquette Building was constructed, MacNeil was awarded a commission to complete Four Bas Relief Panels  of over the main entrance.  His work depicts four scenes from Marquette’s trip through the Great Lakes region.”

“In the summer of 1895, along with Hamlin Garland (a writer) and C. F. Browne (a painter), he traveled to the four-corners territories (now, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah) seeing American Indians (Navajo, and Moqui — now Hopi) in their changing cultural element on various reservations.  While there, he was asked to sculpt, out of available materials, a likeness of Chief Manuelito. The Navajo warrior had died in despair after being imprisoned for four years as a renegade by the U. S. Government (Col. Kit Carson) twenty-five years earlier.  Manuelito’s likeness (click here), made of available materials, brought tears to his widow’s eyes, and remains an object of cultural pride in Gallup, New Mexico to this day.” SOURCE: Click HERE

Related Images:

2015

My recent post about our December 3rd journey on the CTA Blue Line train to the Chicago Loop and the Art Institute of Chicago ended with a discussion of “The Sun Vow” and my photo array taken in the Sculpture Court.  [Searching for Uncle Hermon in Chicago ~ “The Sun Vow” ]

Another MacNeil piece just steps away in the adjoining American Gallery provides a “preface” to the story of “The Sun Vow”.

Modeled in 1894 that earlier piece was called “Vow of Vengeance.” It shows one of MacNeil’s early studies in Native American depiction.  It followed his exposure to the Chicago World Fair, his fascination with sketching the Indians in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and his modeling work with Black Pipe. (Black Pipe was a young Sioux who worked in Hermon’s studio and modeled for several pieces during 1893-94.  He helped with physical labor in the studio as well.  CLICK for MORE on Black Pipe and “Primitive Chant”) 

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MacNeil’s early study “Vow of Vengeance” that evolved into “The Sun Vow”. Art Institute of Chicago. [ Photo Credit: Dan Leininger, 2014 ]

Several pieces dated 1894 seemed to be early prototypes for later larger works and castings.  The “Vow of Vengeance” appears to be one of the more prominent.  I know of no other copies elsewhere.

A blog about the Art Institute observes some mingling of the identity of the two pieces:

The Vow of Vengeance -1894
By Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
What’s in a name?
Well, somehow I noticed a discrepancy in the name..
The Art Institute website calls it – The Vow of Vengeance [1894]
But marker at the Art Institute has the name – The Sun Vow [Modeled-1898, Cast-1901]. http://theartinstituteofchicago.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html.

 The Two “Vows” Compared  IMG_0698

While the “Vow of Vengeance” and “The Sun Vow” contain similar elements, what they communicate seems quite different:

  1. TITLE: The two titles carry contrasting emotional messages. The first (Vow of Vengeance) conveys negative aggression and hostile feeling toward some enemy, while the second (Sun Vow) depicts a more positive rite of passage from boyhood to manhood within a setting of family and tribal affirmation.
  2. GROUPING: The boy and the Elder (Warrior, Chief) are grouped to convey different emotional tones in the two pieces.  In “Vengeance,” the chief wears his war bonnet on his head. He is dressed to present tribal authority to the enemy. His face seems harsh and his posture stiff.  The Boy strains his head high up into the air.  Their grouping seems tense. IMG_0678In “Sun Vow” the two figures are closer and seem to be “more one.” The Chief has removed his bonnet so as to lean into the boy’s line of sight. The boy is also more grace-full. He looks to the arrow and the sun without straining.  Both gaze in the seeming wonder and mystical pleasure of the physical rite. 

1894 ~ Prototype Year:

In addition to the “Vow of Vengeance” we have found evidence of another prototype from 1894.

A previous posting tells James Dixon’s story of a MacNeil piece acquired by his Great-great grandmother, Edna Lord.  The sculpture bears the title  “Primitive Music” on its base.  [ CLICK Here for more ]

Photos on that previous post suggest that Edna Lord’s  “Primitive Indian Music” was an early prototype of the “Primitive Chant” (which was much more polished and finely surfaced)

It is also based on “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave. MacNeil  first saw Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show and we know that he returned many times to study the Indians.   Like MacNeil, I have return to this story of “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave, numerous times, and perhaps, will return many more.  ~~  DNL

Hermon MacNeil ~ After the World’s Columbian Exposition

The period after the end of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair was a lean, even dry time, financially for Hermon MacNeil. We do know that he continued to maintain a studio, sculpt models, teach at the Art Institute of Chicago, and associate with art colleagues and benefactors there. Yet, it seems a productive time of transition, expression, and experimentation for the as the young sculptor.

Traveling to the Art Museum, we walked out of the underground on Dearborn Street just a block south of the Marquette Building which is home to Hermon MacNeil’s 1895 sculptures of 4 bronze relief panels [Cick Here]. This commission marked his recognition and selection for the award of the Rinehart Roman Scholarship.  This began 3 years in Rome and another in Paris for he and his young bride, Carol Brooks. The bronze reliefs stands today as an icon to Marquette and his life among the Native peoples. The building has been restored by the MacArthur Foundation and now houses their international headquarters.

Those works tell the story Father Marquette explorations to Native peoples of Illinois. MacNeil would return to Chicago and the Marquette themes three decades later as he sculpted the bronze grouping [CLICK HERE] of Pere Marquette, Louis Jolliete, and an Illinois Indian on Marshall Boulevard.  Commissioned by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson  Monument Fund, this sculpture has faced the greenway of the boulevard for 88 years.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at hefoot of the Monument.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at the foot of the Monument.

Related Images:

I sit here in Chicago during this Christmas Season, imagining a Christmas wedding ceremony one hundred and nineteen years ago.

~

On Christmas Eve day in 1895, Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks purchased a Cook County license to solemnize their marriage. The very next day, Christmas 1895, they shared their vows before God and a Congregational minister named, Edward F. Williams, here in Chicago.  The record looks like this:

Marriage License of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks issued on December 24th, 1895 and completed on Christmas Day 1895 by Rev. Edward F. Williams, Congregational Minister.

Marriage License of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks issued on December 24th, 1895 and completed on Christmas Day 1895 by Rev. Edward F. Williams, Congregational Minister.

Both Hermon and Carol were sculptors. Hermon had completed 4 bronze relief sculpture panels for the new Marquette Building. They had fellow friends among the art community, sculptor colleagues from the  Chicago World’s Fair, students and teachers from the Art Institute of Chicago, and “White Rabbits” team of women sculptors.  We don’t have any record of who might have witnessed their nuptials.

~

But it was Christmas Day, a time when families gather.  Hermon’s family was far away in Massachusetts. Carol’s was born in Chicago and studied there at the Art Institute with Lorado Taft working on the 1893 Worlds Fair with her “White Rabbit” colleagues. Perhaps some friends or family were present or even hosted some wedding celebration. Her parents were close enough to be present, but no evidence suggests that.  It appears to have been a quick, quiet, modest ceremony.  The less than a one-day turn around on their marriage license would support that.  In addition, we know that they sailed a week later for Rome and Hermon’s Roman Reinhart Scholarship studies there. A  December 22, 1895 – New York Sun, article (CLICK HERE) supports that as well as a letter from Amy Ardis Bradley [ CLICK for MORE ]

~

New York Sun December 22, 1895 "The Reinhart Prize Winner ~ Hermon Atkins Macneil of Chicago"

New York Sun December 22, 1895 “The Reinhart Prize Winner ~ Hermon Atkins Macneil of Chicago”

The officiating minister, Rev. Edward (Franklin) Williams appears to have been a prominent clergy described as “a Congregational minister, educator, field agent for the United States Christian Commission, missionary, and writer.” Source: Edward Franklin Williams papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana )  He wrote Carol’s name as “Carrie” in his handwritten certification on the bottom of the license.  She went by ‘Carrie’ among her friends.

 ~

Whether Rev. Williams considered her a ‘friend’ we do not know.  Philip Khopf, the Cook County clerk, wrote ‘Carol’ in the top portion of the certificate.  Rev. Williams could have copied “Carol” from the official record above, but chose to use ‘Carrie’ instead.  The license lists Carol as being 24 years of age and Hermon as 29.  We know that the minister was 63 years of age when he led their ceremony.  Until 1891 he was pastor of the South Congregational Church, in suburban Chicago.  For health reasons he had “an extended stay abroad (June, 1891 to July, 1893), primarily in Germany, where he pursued studies in Berlin.” Returning to Chicago he studied and lectured at Chicago Theological Seminary during 1894.

 ~

Whether Rev. Williams had some previous knowledge with Carrie and Hermon or was a friend of the family, is uncertain.  He seemed very connected to the Chicago community and many of the potential benefactors of the arts. At a minimum, his use of “Carrie” seems to indicate a ‘cordial’ style of ministry and interaction. It also seems consistent with his servant-attitude toward needs of the soldiers and wounded he encountered during the Civil War.

~

CLICK HERE for more Links and info about Hermon and Carrie’s marriage in 1895:

~

More biographical information on Rev. Williams is offered below.

Williams, Edward Franklin (1832-1919)

 Historical Note: Edward Franklin Williams was a Congregational minister, educator, field agent for the United States Christian Commission, missionary, and writer.  Edward Franklin Williams was born in Massachusetts in 1832, the son of Delilah Morse Williams and George Williams. Williams attended Yale University from 1852 to 1856, and he continued to earn an advanced degree from Yale. He later attended the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he graduated and earned his license to preach in 1861.Williams was exempt from the draft due to a tubercular condition in his lungs, and thus he did not fight in the Civil War. In April 1863, Williams received a commission as a field agent for the United States Christian Commission. With the Commission, he served two and a half years in the armies of the Potomac and the James.After the war, Williams was sent as principal to begin was became the Lookout Mountain Educational Institutions in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1867, Williams was appointed by the American Missionary Association to teach in the Normal and Preparatory Division of what was later Howard University. He left Howard to preach at several churches in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York, ultimately serving as pastor of Tabernacle Church in Chicago and Forty-Seventh Street Congregational Church, which later became South Congregational Church, in suburban Chicago, where he served until 1891.By 1880, Williams was writing a monthly column for The Congregationalist under a pen name, “Franklin.” He continued writing for this publication until 1908. He continued as a prolific writer, particularly in the 1890s.

From 1901 to 1911 Williams served as pastor of the Evanston Ave. Congregational Church in Chicago. Williams died in 1919 in Chicago.

[ Sources: Edward Franklin Williams papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana ]

 

 

Related Images:

On a cold December day we took the CTA Blue Line to Jackson street and walked out of the underground on Dearborn Street at the Federal Court Building.  We were just a block south of the Marquette Building which is home to Hermon MacNeil’s 1895 sculptures of 4 bronze relief panels [Cick Here] that tell the story Father Marquette explorations to Native peoples of Illinois.

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We walked past the Federal Courts, then turned east toward the Art Institute of Chicago.

There sculptor Edward Kemeys’ twin bronze Lions (Mr. Defiance and Mr. Prowl) greeted us at the entrance in their Holiday regalia. They have stood guard there since 1893 when Mrs. Henry Field commissioned them.

Above is “Mister ‘In-an-Attitude-of-Defiance’,” as he rests on a Christmas package that normally is his base.  The mood was festive as sixty people smiled and waited on the steps (between Mr. Prowler and Mr. Defiance) until the Museum doors were opened at 10 am.

1) Prowler and Defiance,  2)Mrs. Henry Field, and 3) Hermon MacNeil are all contemporaries of the 1893-95 era of the Chicago World’s Fair (Worlds Columbian Exposition).

Once inside we spent the morning admiring early art of Dutch and French collections. Eventually, we came opon a fovorite, Jules Adolphe Breton’s The Song of the Lark, (1884).

Part of the Field Collection, French artist, Jules Adolphe Breton's The Song of the Lark, 1884. is admired by a happy visitor.

Part of the Field Collection, French artist, Jules Adolphe Breton’s The Song of the Lark, 1884. is admired by a happy visitor.

After some lunch in the modern art area, we went to find MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”.  Here are my results.

While I could go on-and-on about this most famous of Uncle Hermon’s works, I will let my photographs speak for themselves.  Enjoy!

IMG_0678

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 IMG_0681 IMG_0680 IMG_0679 IMG_0678 IMG_0677 IMG_0676 IMG_0675

IMG_0657

 

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Related Images:

~ Christmas Day 1895 ~

In 1895, Amy Aldis Bradley wrote of Hermon MacNeil:

“…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. (http://marquette.macfound.org/slide/herman-macneil/ )

One hundred and seventeen years ago today,  Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks were united in marriage in Chicago, Illinois by Rev. Edward F. Williams, a Congregational Minister.  They purchased their Marriage License on Christmas Eve Day 1895. [CLICK HERE to See their License]

HAM-sketch-CD3Both Hermon and Carol were sculptors who worked on the 1983 Chicago World’s Fair (World’s Columbian Exposition).  Just days earlier MacNeil received word that he had won the Rinehart Roman Scholarship.  (Carol had also studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies).  Within the week, the pair left for Rome, passing three years there (1896-1899).  It was a romantic time of  study together under the same masters.  With frugality, the income of Hermon’s Rinehart scholarship supported them both.  They travelled through Italy occasionally bartering a room for sculpture.  They spend a fourth year in Paris.”  

According to information from the MacArthur Foundation (current owner and curator of the Marquette Building), Amy Aldis Bradley’s complete words in 1895 to Peter Brooks:

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.” (http://marquette.macfound.org/slide/herman-macneil/ )

Related Images:

 

"Hermon Atkins MacNeil" in studio smock. A portrait by Milton Herbert Bancroft

In December 1895, 

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

  • Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s four bas relief panels depicting the life of Fr. Pére Marquette were put in place on the new Marquette Building in Chicago.
  • He received word that he had been awarded the Rinehart Prize for study in Rome.
  • On Christmas Day he married Carol Louise Brooks, a sculptor herself, who studied with MacNeil and shared many of the same colleagues.

    Carol Brooks MacNeil - 1907 - Twelve years after her marriage to Hermon

  • On New Years Day, or there about, they sailed for Rome and what would become 3 years of further study there, then going to Paris for a fourth year and exhibiting at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.

While we can imagine Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s state of mind in December 1895 to be quite elated, we have actual historical reference on MacNeil’s mood written by Amy Aldis Bradley, another artist friend who completed art for the Marquette project.

Amy Aldis Bradley wrote in 1895 to Peter Brooks, developer for the new Marquette Building in Chicago and employer of her father, stating the following: 

  “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 [Rinehart] 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.  (Based of information from the MacArthur Foundation, current owner and curator of the Marquette Building, cited at their website: (http://marquette.macfound.org/slide/herman-macneil/ )

Marriage License of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks issued on December 24th, 1895 and completed on Christmas Day 1895 by Rev. Edward F. Williams, Congregational Minister.

Hermon and Carol obtained a marriage license on Christmas Eve Day (Dec. 24th).  They were married on Christmas Day.  The dates seem to imply that they had a wedding ‘not long in the planning.’

Christmas Day in 1895, fell on a Wednesday. The following Wednesday, of course, was New Years Day. We do not have other confirmation that they sailed on New Years Day for France, but it seems to be consistent with plans to go to Rome quickly. The article below was written on December 19th, then published on December 22, 1895 in the NY Sun.  The reporter states that MacNeil would like to leave for Rome in about a week.  That is consistent with the other evidence.

We know that MacNeil inquired of the  Rinehart Committee if he could still fulfill the Rinehart Award conditions if he was a married man. They suggested that it would be a one year award under those conditions.  As it turned out he was given three years.  We do not know if he their fourth year spent in Paris was at their own expense or financed on their own.

The full text of the December 22, 1895 article that appeared in the New York Sun is posted below. In it the reporter states:

“When found in his studio yesterday, the young sculptor was busily at work on a crude mass of clay, from which were gradually emerging the features and forms of a Pueblo Indian. He was surrounded by a miscellaneous assortment of tools, plaster, and casts.  He left his work to discuss his good fortune.”

Here is is in its entirety. Enjoy!

December 22, 1895 – New York Sun, (CLICK HERE) see columns 5 and 6

New York Sun December 22, 1895 "The Rinehart Prize Winner ~ Hermon Atkins MacNeil of Chicago"

Related Images:

1895

Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American Sculptor (1866-1947)

MacNeil’s bronze of Blackpipe, a Sioux warrior he befriended in 1893 (source Smithsonian Archives)

December of 1895 was an exciting time in the life of Hermon A. MacNeil — A time when he was described as “the most happy young man I know.”

Chicago. In fact, 1985, in general, had been a productive year for the sculptor.  Following the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, times had been tough for both artists and Fair workers.   MacNeil had found Black Pipe, (the Sioux from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show), cold and hungry on the streets of Chicago.  He took him in as studio help and a model for future sculptures. 

Marquette.  During 1895, Hermon had completed the four bronze panels depicting the life of Fr. Jacques (Père) Marquette.  They were put in place over the four entry doors of the Marquette Building (CLICK HERE) where he and his artist friend, Charles F. Browne, shared a studio. 

Panel 4 – “The de Profundis was intoned ..

According to information from the MacArthur Foundation (current owner and curator of the Marquette Building), Amy Aldis Bradley wrote in 1895 to Peter Brooks:

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.” (http://marquette.macfound.org/slide/herman-macneil/ )

 Rinehart Prize. In December,  he received news that he had been named as recipient of the Rinehart Roman Scholarship for study in Rome.  Newspapers such as the Nov. 25, 1895 Chicago Tribune (CLICK HERE), and the Dec. 22, 1895 -New York Sun, (CLICK HERE) (columns 5 & 6), contained the news of the selection of this 29 year-old western artist to receive the Prix Rome.

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch - Chicago-Sun

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch – The Sun (New York City)

The sculptors on the committee that selected MacNeil for the  award were the ‘giants’ among American sculptors of the 19th century. As mentioned in the above newspapers, the Rinehart Roman committee included Augustus Saint Gaudens, John Quincy Adams Ward, and Daniel Chester French

These famous sculptors were in the prime of their careers.  Saint Gaudens, at 47, had been the sculptural advisor for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  One tradition suggests that MacNeil asked Saint Gaudens for a letter of reference to Phillip Martiny that got him work on the  that Exposition in  1893. John Quincy Adams Ward, at age 65 was the ‘grandfather’ of American sculptors, and the founder as well as standing president of the National Sculpture Society. Daniel Chester French, age 45, was also a founding member of the National Sculpture Society, and sculpted the colossal sixty-foot golden “Republic” centerpiece statue for the Chicago Fair. ( A thirty foot tall miniature golden replica of which still graces Jackson Park in Chicago today.)

Marriage:

On Christmas Day 1895, in Chicago, he married Carol Louise Brooks, also a sculptor. Earlier MacNeil was informed that he had won the Rinehart Roman Scholarship. Following their wedding, the pair left for Rome, passing three years there (1896-1899) and eventually spend a fourth year in Paris where their first son, Claude, was born.  During those years they study together under the same masters and  live on the shared income of Hermon’s Rinehart Scholarship.  (Carol  had also studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies and been a member of “The White Rabbits” ~ a self christened group of women sculptors called in to complete the massive work load of ‘staff’ statues needed for the Chicago Fair in 1893. )

Future:

Other events from 1895 would later unfold into sculpture-opportunities for Hermon MacNeil. In May in Greenwich Village, New York City, Stanford White, with assistance from both Frederick MacMonnies and Phillip Martiny, completed a permanent Washington Arch. 

, 1895 photo of Empty pedestals on the new Washington Arch with New Yorkers strolling into the popular park.  The skyline includes Judson Memorial Church tower to the right of the Arch.  NYC Citizens would wait more than twenty years before the MacNeil and Calder tributes to George Washington as Commander-in-Chief and as President would be commissioned and put in place in 1916 and 1918. (Photo credit: NYC -Architecture.com: ~  http://nyc-architecture.com/GV/GV046WashingtonSquareArch.htm)

The first one, made in 1889 of paper and wood, commemorated the centennial of  the inauguration of  George Washington.  Received with great popularity, the citizens of NYC demanded a permanent Arch monument for their first President.  White’s design was dedicated on May 4, 1895 with two empty pedestals, meant for statues of Washington.  These niches on the north face of the monument remained empty for almost two decades before MacNeil’s statue of Washington as Commander-in-Chief would fill one pedestal (east side, in 1916), and Alexander Stirling Calder’s statue of Washington as Statesman would fill the other (west side, in 1918).

Related Images:

Gregory H. Jenkins AIA, Chicago architect and keeper of the  “Chicago Sculpture in the Loop” website has documented the restoration of Hermon Akins MacNeil ‘s 117 year old bronze relief panels depicting the burial of Pere Marquette by the Native American people who he befriended. The four panels are part of the historic character and preservation of the The Marquette Building, a Chicago architectural and business land mark currently home to Holabird and Roche.

The Marquette building in the Loop is one of Chicago’s many commercial and corporate centers committed to preserving the history, art, and architecture of the city.

“I walk by there everyday on my way to work,” my daughter, Rachel, said when I showed her Gregory Jenkin’s well-done website postings.   The four bronze panels are an inconspicuous part of the Marquette Building at 140 Dearborn St in the downtown. These art treasures are easily lost to passer-byes in the bustling Chicago loop.   As you can see from the photo below, they reside about 10 feet above the noise and scurry of the fast-paced pedestrians, cars, limos, delivery trucks and  on Dearborn St (as in Ft Dearborn, children! – see below).

The four panels above the doors were restored in the summer of 2009 by  the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, as a part of its ongoing curatorship of the arts and the The Marquette Building. Gregory H. Jenkins posted the following comments on the significance of this art and preservation on the website:

“The Marquette Building was completed in 1895. Twenty years had passed since the Battle of Little Bighorn. And the passing of the the American Indian had, by then, become on object of confused Romanticism. The Fort Dearborn Massacre was still a story Chicago grandparents told their grandchildren. (Bad Indians!) But the country now stretched from Ocean to Ocean. And the time of Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet hiking a bucolic Chicago River –helped along by Native Americans — was, surely, regretfully, gone forever.”

In four postings Jenkins follows the progress of the restoration replacement of the panels

July 4, 2009 – Post 1 – http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-buiding-hermon-atkins-macneil.html

July 12, 2009 – Post 2:  http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/search?q=macNeil&updated-max=2009-07-01T15%3A23%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=20

July 18, 2009 – Post 3:  http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-building-hermon-atkins_18.html

July 22, 2009 – Post 4: http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-building-hermon-atkins_22.html

MacNeil’s bronze relief sculptures tell the story of Marquette’s discoveries and life among the Illinois people. [This picture of 6-12-10 includes the webmaster and family mambers examining and documenting the art.

Jenkins tells some of the MacNeil history of his contact with the Lakota Sioux and other Native people who were a part of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show in conjunction with the Chicago World’s fair of 1893: “Hermon Atkins MacNeil met Black Pipe, of the Lakota Sioux on the Midway in 1893. This Indian, who had seen the last of the open prairies, performed at Wild Bill Cody’s Wild West Show at the Chicago World’s Fair and stayed in Chicago after the Fair to work and model for MacNeil. His rough features, often repeated in MacNeil’s work, are contrasted here with the delicate images of two children. Both gain from the proximity.” Posted by Gregory H. Jenkins AIA

 

 

So Chicagoans, look up next time you are on Dearborn Street and take in the art and history of Chicago.

Thank You Mr. Jenkins, for lifting our eyes above the sidewalk and for enjoying the Loop Art from places as remote as South Dakota (Land of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people)   ~ the Webmaster, Sioux Falls, SD

 

 

 

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Apr
26

A Brief Bio – H. A. MacNeil

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Hermon Atkins MacNeil (about the time of his marriage to Carol Brooks on Christmas Day 1895)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor, (February 27, 1866 – October 2, 1947) was most influential in winning worldwide recognition of the American Indian as a valid artistic focus in American and European Art. His statues depicting the Native American themes became an introduction for Americans and Europeans to a ‘truly American’ subject matter for the arts. His many later monument sculptures still grace public spaces in dozens of cities across the United States.  (Hot-links on this website will take you there — virtually)

Early Life and Career:  Born in Everett (Chelsea, Malden) Massachusetts on his parent’s farm, MacNeil received his formal training in the arts at the Normal Art School in Boston (now Mass Art) in 1886. Upon graduation in 1886 he moved to Cornell, New York where he became an instructor in industrial art and modeling at Cornell University from 1886 to 1888. Seeking continued education, he followed the path of many sculptors/artists of his day and left for study and experience in Europe.  Settling in Paris, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Julien Academy as a pupil of Henri M. Chapu and Alexandre Falguière.

2016 MacNeil Medallion marking the 150th Anniversary the birth of Hermon A. MacNeil. Commissioned by our webmaster, these numbered medals are available on eBay.

Chicago:  In 1891, he was back in the United States working with Philip Martiny assisting on the architectural sculptures for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. With Lorado Taft, sculpture director, he prepared preliminary sketches and was asked to craft several sculptures for the Electricity Building.   Afterward, he settled in Chicago.  He taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and opened a studio, shared with artist Charles F. Browne, where he continued developing his work depicting the American Indian.

Native American Themes: His first introduction to native subjects came through Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. During the 1893 Worlds Fair, Buffalo Bill’s troupe performed in a carnival setting outside the main entrance. Fascinated, MacNeil’s artist-eye and imagination took every opportunity to see the show and sketch the ceremonies and rituals of Indian life — MacNeil often carried a sketch book. He latter befriended Black Pipe, a Sioux warrior from the show, who he found down-and-out on the Chicago streets after the carnival midways of the Fair had  closed.  MacNeil invited Black Pipe to model for him and assist in studio labors, which he did for over a year.  Inspired by these native subjects and encouraged by Edward Everett Ayers, MacNeil found a respect for this vanishing Native culture and made subsequent trips to the southwest.  When the Marquette Building was constructed, MacNeil was awarded a commission to complete Four Bas Relief Panels  of over the main entrance.  His work depicts four scenes from Marquette’s trip through the Great Lakes region. 

In the summer of 1895, along with Hamlin Garland (a writer) and C. F. Browne (a painter), he traveled to the four-corners territories (now, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah) seeing American Indians (Navajo, and Moqui — now Hopi) in their changing cultural element on various reservations.  While there, he was asked to sculpt, out of available materials, a likeness of Chief Manuelito. The Navajo warrior had died in despair after being imprisoned for four years as a renegade by the U. S. Government (Col. Kit Carson) twenty-five years earlier.  Manuelito’s likeness (click here), made of available materials, brought tears to his widow’s eyes, and remains an object of cultural pride in Gallup, New Mexico to this day. 

Rinehart Prize. In December,  he received news that he had been named as recipient of the Rinehart Roman Scholarship for study in Rome.  Newspapers such as the Nov. 25, 1895 Chicago Tribune (CLICK HERE), and the Dec. 22, 1895 -New York Sun, (CLICK HERE) (columns 5 & 6), contained the news of the selection of this 29 year-old western artist to receive the Prix Rome, namely, the Rinehart Roman Scholarship. The three sculptors on the committee that selected MacNeil for the  award were the ‘giants’ among American sculptors of the 19th century.  The Rinehart Roman committee included Augustus Saint Gaudens, John Quincy Adams Ward, and Daniel Chester French

Marriage: On Christmas Day 1895, in Chicago, he married Carol (Carrie) Louise Brooks, also a sculptor (see their marriage record below). Following their wedding, the pair left for Rome, passing three years there (1896-1899) and eventually spend a fourth year in Paris where their first son, Claude, was born.  During those years they studied studied sculpture together under the same masters and shared the income of Hermon’s Rinehart scholarship. (Carol had also studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies).

Rome: While living in Rome from 1896-99, Hermon MacNeil made his studio in the Villa dell’ Aurora. There he put into bronze several myths and dances of the Moqui (Hopi) Indian tribes from his visits there in 1895. His first creation theReturn of the Snakes’, depicted a nude Indian running through the prickly-pear cactus carrying two handfuls of rattlesnakes. (1897 “The Moqui Runner” Modeled 1896, Cast 1897).  This Indian priest, having used the snakes in a tribal ceremony to pray for rain to save the crops, is running down the mesa to free the snakes so that they may convey the prayers for rain to heaven.  (The concept later became the subject of  his 1931 Society of Medalists Commemorative (Issue #3; HOPI and Prayer for Rain). During his time in Rome he also sculpted the Sun Vow,’ the piece for which he became most famous and most often remembered.  There in the hallowed cultural dominance of millennia of Geeco-Roman art, MacNeil chose to give sculptural life to his memories and studies of the American Native of the West. 
 
American Sculptor:  At the turn of the century MacNeil was back in the states, bringing with him his fame from achievements in Europe and growing recognition in the United. States. Settling in New York City, Queens, College Point, he build a home and studio.  For the next five decades he focused on the many commissions he received for exhibitions throughout the states as well as private sales of his works.
 
Expositions:  His handy works were entered into the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo (1901); the Charleston Exposition in South Carolina (1902); the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (1904); the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon (1905); and the Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco (1915).  
Coins & Medals:
He sculpted the Pan-American Exposition Medal (1901), the Standing Liberty Quarter (1916), and the Society of Medalists #3 (Prayer for Rain, 1931).  
 
Buildings & Monuments:    He made many building sculptures for these expositions, a few of which still remain.  For the 1904 Fair he worked with architect Case Gilbert on the Palace of Fine Arts (now the home of the Saint Louis Art Museum).  It contains three of his bas relief panels above the doors.  Decades later, Gilbert, had MacNeil sculpt the East Pediment of the U. S. Supreme Court Building where Moses is the center of 11 figures.  Other public buildings bearing his works include the Connecticut Capitol (six statues), the Missouri Capitol (dozens of figures in a one hundred foot stone frieze), the Cook County Court House (two pairs of figures) and Marquette Buildings (four bronze panels per the entrances).  The Pony Express statue in Saint Joseph Missouri (1940) was probably his last public work completed in his 81 years of life.

“The Pony Express” (1940) by H. A. MacNeil; St. Joseph, MO (photo by Dan Leininger)

 
A highly successful and creative sculptor/artist, MacNeil died at age eighty-one in his home/studio on Long Island Sound where he had worked for forty-seven years.
 
EXPLORE this Website:  

Launched in April 2010, this Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor. Trained in the Beaux Arts School of Paris, he led a generation of American sculptors to capture many fading Native American images in the realism of this classic style. He designed and sculpted for World’s Fairs, public monuments (see links below), coins, and buildings across to country.
We, here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com, celebrate his work daily.
We have designated each February as “MacNeil Month”  (two dozen examples) to honor his birth.

Enjoy over 300 stories of H. A. MacNeil’s work and life here, on-site, in your area, on vacation, wherever…

  • — Google Maps show location of sculptures!
  • — Click on list of “Public Sculptures of H.A.MacNeil” to see photos.
  • — Study & Leave COMMENTS at the bottom of any Posting.
  • — All in one cyber-space you can Celebrate a lifetime of art

A list of over forty web links to “Sculptures of Hermon Atkins MacNeil” can be found (to your right) or at  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/.  

 
This page is adapted from the following sources:
  1. www.nygardgallery.com at:http://www.fada.com/browse_by_artist.html?gallery_no=26&artist=3522&bio=1 
  2. Holden, Jean Stansbury (October 1907). “The Sculptors MacNeil“. The World’s Work: A History of Our TimeXIV: 9403–9419.
  3. Hermon Atkins MacNeil –  Wikipedia.org
  4. Daniel Neil Leininger.  This website: https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/   ]

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Comments (1)

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