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!

Archive for Commemorative Medals

TODAY marks the  153rd anniversary of the birth

of Hermon Atkins MacNeil

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

AND THE 10th Year of my Search for “Uncle Hermon”
for whom this website is dedicated.

For a brief summary of his life and work click here for => A Brief Bio of Hermon Atkins MacNeil 

This website also is inspired by the memory of my mother, Ollie McNeil Leininger.

I remember my mother telling me about her “Uncle Hermon.” 

She handed me some Liberty Standing Quarters”  from her grocery change and showed me the little “M” at the left foot of Lady Liberty.

She showed me “The Sun Vow” statue in the Saint Louis Art Museum.  We also visited The Pony Express” statue in St. Joseph, Missouri.  I grew up with a sense of pride and quiet fascination with mom’s “Uncle Hermon” 

I never met “Uncle Hermon”

Hermon A. MacNeil died on October 2, 1947 at the age of 81 years, 7 months, and 8 days.  On the day that he died I was just two years-old.

To read the whole article, Click and open in a separate window

My own Mother died years later in the winter of 1985. At that time, I wrote:

With her passing a warm, safe feeling faded from my world. I was the “baby” of her six children. Her death ushered in feelings of being a midlife orphan who would soon turn forty. Darkness seemed to creep in from the far corners of my life. A strange fearful child inside of me said, “Who will take care of me now?”

 

As the years passed, I would think of mom, and occasionally, of her “Uncle Hermon.”

By the turn of the 2K millennium, computers and the internet had become household items.  This allowed people to hunt, find, and save data.  I found fascinating stories about Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Virtually anything from anywhere could be researched. 

In 2010, I met Dan DeBlock. He is a retired Army Chaplain and Lutheran Minister who builds websites for churches.  It started as a hobby interest and became Leiturgia Communications, Inc. The Host and Tech Support for this website.

One day I asked Dan DeBlock, “Could a website be built as virtual gallery of the sculpture of Hermon Atkins MacNeil?”

Nine years and 170 stories later, “HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com” is the answer to my question and Dan’s hosting.

In that year (2010), I seriously began my “Searching for Uncle Hermon.”

That journey continues.  This is story # 171 – A Birthday Present for Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School.

 

The year 2016 marks the sesquicentennial of the birth of Hermon Atkins  MacNeil on February 27, 1886.

2016-rev-1

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

While we celebrate each February as “MacNeil Month,”  this year is extra special as the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Several events during 2016 will acknowledge that here on HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com:

.

 

  • The newly commissioned 2016 MacNeil Medallion will be available for sale on eBay.  CLICK HERE
  • Postings will continue to celebrate the life and art of Hermon A. MacNeil.
  • Kisimul Castle the home of the MacNeil Chieftans from the 14th century, will be featured.
  • The origins of the MacNeil Clan on the Isle of Barra in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides will be visited with photos and history .
  • The webmaster’s ongoing travels and activity will be presented as his “Search for Uncle Hermon” continues as a odyssey of retirement.
  • Antique “MacNeil Postcards” of some of his sculptures across the U. S. will be presented as features.
  • MacNeil’s years in Paris will be revisited with photos of the newly restored Ecole de Beaux Arts where he studied and taught.
  • MacNeil’s teachers in Paris will be featured with photos of their sculptures in the Musee d’Orsay in the center of Paris. This museum was built as the railroad station for the Universal Exposition of 1900 in which MacNeil and his contemporary sculptors exhibited and received prizes.
  • Our recent Travels to Scotland will be featured with photos and stories.
  • Our travels to France this year will be shared.

ALL in ALL, 2016 begins as a banner year for this website. SO stay tuned.

Better yet, SUBSCRIBE by clicking the button.

2016 marks a banner year for this website.

This February 27th, 2016 marks another anniversary of the birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil  our patron sculptor.

2016-rev-12016 actually celebrates the:

150th

Anniversary 

of the birth of

HERMON ATKINS Mac NEIL

In honor of this Anniversary, we have commissioned a MacNeil Medallion commemorating his birth and the Centennial of the first minting of the Liberty Standing Quarter.

This beautiful bronze medal features the image of MacNeil at about age 60.  It is plated in nickel and measures 3 inches (77 mm) in diameter.  

It is available on now eBay. CLICK HERE

The other side of the medallion celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the first mintings of the Standing Liberty Quarter.  BUT More About that later.

Upcoming: MacNeil Roots and Pursuits

2016-obs-1NOW ON eBay, (Click Here) This new Medallion is a bronze medal 3″ in diameter with nickel plating.  Minted in 2016, it commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil, as well as, the 100th Centenary year of the Standing Liberty Quarter minted from 1916-1930.

The center of the face duplicates the obverse of MacNeil’s original sculpture of  Miss Liberty from 1916. The “M” at the bottom (to the right of the 13th star) is the only form of signature allowed for the sculptor.

2016-rev-1

The reverse features the central image of Hermon A. MacNeil (1886-1947) and denotes the 150th Anniversary of his birth. This sesquicentennial will be celebrated here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com for the next 366 days of 2016.       [ CLICK HERE for eBay link ]

2016-obs-42016-obs-32016-rev-seq

Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) – “Hopi” (Obverse) and “Prayer for Rain” (Reverse)  Society of Medallists (SOM), Issue #3 of 1931, was based on MacNeil’s “Moqui (Hopi) Runner” statue of 1897.  This was the only SOM issue that MacNeil would ever sculpt.  Yet nearly fifty years later (1943), he vividly described these images of his 1895 travels to the Hopi (Moqui) Mesa in his Autobiographical Sketches.

MacNeil’s brief artists intro accompanying the medal is as follows:

Four examples of various finish patinas medals that MacNeil selected for SOM#3 in 1931 (from collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

Four examples of various finish patinas on medals that MacNeil selected for SOM#3 in 1931 (Reverse view. From collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

“The two incidents of the Hopi Prayer for Rain on the mesas of northeastern Arizona depicted on this medal are chosen by your sculptor because of the extraordinary vital enthusiasm and power that the Indians throw into this ceremony. Having witnessed it and been thrilled by the intensity of their emotion and on further study by the complicated and perfectly natural development of this drama, I cannot help feel that in it we find a basic note underlying all religions. All these Southwest Indians, living as they do in an arid region, have developed their religion along the lines of their greatest need –water.”

In the documentation accompanying each medal, MacNeil offered the following additional narrative of his witnessing of this ritual nearly 36 years earlier while on his 1895 venture to the Southwest with Hamlin Garland and Charles F. Browne:

This is one of their greatest and most important ceremonies. Occurring in August, it is filled with ritualism for nine days and in their kiva, an underground chamber, they have ceremonies with these snakes that have been gathered by the antelope and snake clans of their tribe for six days, from the north, east, south and west, also from above and below, therefore from all the directions of the universe. These snakes, so far as our best authority goes, although a portion of them are poisonous varieties, are not tampered with but are handled freely by the Indians, both during their underground ceremonies, and later on the last day above ground, in their public ceremony. During the last day ceremony they dance two and two, one with the snakes in his mouth, sometimes two at a time, while the other, accompanying him, wards off the head of the snake from the face of his companion with an eagle feather. It will be remembered that the eagle preys on the snake in nature and the smell of the eagle feather is supposed to frighten the snake with the intention of preventing him from biting.  This ceremony was so intense and apparently so vital to them that although I myself saw two Indians bitten, they seem to be so completely under the control of the spirit that although I watched for further developments, yet there seemed to be no swelling or poisonous effects from the bites.

Even though the dancing takes place after the participants have taken hardly any food during the nine days, yet immediately after the public ceremony, which is performed in a circular action around the sacred stone on the mesa at Waslpi, they each take an emetic. After circling twice around the sacred rock, the one bearing snakes in his mouth emits them and a third follower immediately grabs the snake from the ground and carries it back to a little improvised enclosure of cottonwood boughs. After all the snakes have been used on this manner each Indian grabs into the bunch and with his hands filled with the snakes, each one starts running down the trail off the mesa onto the plains as shown on the reverse side of the medal and figuratively deposits the snakes again in their underground abodes.

Obverse of SOM#3 by Hermon MacNeil (collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

Obverse of SOM#3 by Hermon MacNeil (collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

Behind the heads of the dancers on the obverse is shown the sand picture drawn by the Indians themselves with colored earths on the floor of their kiva or underground chamber, about which they performed sacred ceremonials previous to the public dance. On this side of the medal the attempt is also made to show the apparent basic reason for the use of the snake in this prayer for water. This reason or theory seems to have evolved from the similarity in action between the snake on the earth and the lightning in the sky. The Indian, however, has evolved the theory of a kind of cousinship through these angular moving reptiles with the still more angular movement of the lightning to jar the rain clouds for rain, thus making their chief need their strongest prayer. Curiously enough, although there had been no sign of rain for weeks, the day following the remarkable ceremony, a little cloud appeared in the sky and the next day it rained copiously.” 

[ SOURCE: Society of Medalists documentation accompanying the medals; reproduced at “Medals4Trade” ]

1931 "Moqui Rain Dance" (reverse) SOM #3 ~ Dan Leininger, webmaster

1931 “Moqui Rain Dance” (Obverse) SOM #3 ~ Dan Leininger, webmaster

"Medal Maker" VHS of 1929 with remake in 1997

The screen capture (below) shows a frame from the 1929 silent movie “The Medal Maker.”     This photo frame shows four presidents of the National Sculpture Society who were also “Medal Makers” presenting the NSS‘s ‘Special Award Medal’ to Daniel Chester French (center).  French (1850-1931) died just 2 years after this video was made.  The making of the Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser is told in “The Medal Maker” (see cover at right).

Three of these sculptors (Fraser, Weinman and MacNeil) had already redesigned US Coinage.  They created the Buffalo Nickel (JEF), the Liberty [Mercury] Dime & Walking Liberty Half-Dollar (AAW), and the Standing Liberty Quarter (HAM). 

Below are Society of Medalists creations and stories from each sculptor on some of their medal making. (The SOM medal images below are from the collection of the webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger.)

This screen capture shows the video playing on this website as posted on Sept 26, 2011 

Laura Garden Frazer and James Earle Frazer were both sculptors.(http://www.nysmhs.org/history/LauraGardinFraser/index.htm)

All five sculptors contributed to the “Society of Medalists” series of the Medallic Arts Company started in 1930, one year after this video was made.  Laura Gardin Fraser, the maker of the NSS Special Award Medal, is the fifth medal maker featured here. She also sculpted the SOM#1, First Issue of the entire SOM series.  Her NSS Award Medal (100mm or 4 inches) is featured below also.

  • James Earl Fraser (1876-1953) ~ SOM #45 “The Pony Express” and “New Frontiers” 1952″ James Earle Fraser was the husband of Laura Gardin Fraser and 13 years her senior.  He chose historic images of the west, namely, the “Pony Express” and the oxen-drawn “Covered Wagon.”  He stated that the Covered Wagon was a childhood image that he remembered from his childhood in South Dakota and Minnesota.

James Earle Fraser's "Pony Express" and "New Frontier"

  • Adolph Alex Weinman (1870-1952). ~ SOM#39 ~ 1949 ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny.” Weinman  offers the following  description of his inspiration for this piece:
  • “… for ‘Genesis’, look up chapter one in your Bible, I could not say it nearly as well. As to the ‘Web of Destiny’, that should be easily interpreted. The little fellow is Eros, who can perform more miracles in guiding the strands of destiny than any power known to man.”  (J.E.F. -SOM #39)
Adolph Alex Weinman ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny” SOM #39 ~ 1949
Obverse:  Male nude figure to l. in seated in fetal pose holding hammer and chise, imposed on Pegasus to l.: Mute.
Reverse:   Flame.: NATIONAL SCULPTURE SOCIETY/ SPECIAL — MEDAL/ OF — HONOR
Measurements: 100 mm / 4 inches
  • Laura Gardin Fraser's NSS Award Medal presented to Daniel Chester French. The sculptor with mallet and chisel in hands, rests in slumberous thought as Pegasus rises to to seek messages from the gods. This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

  • NSS Special Award Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser ~ 1929 (obv). This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

 

  •  Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) – “Hopi” and “Prayer for Rain” SOM #31 ~ 1931.   Based on MacNeil’s “Moqui (Hopi) Runner” of 1897, this was the only SOM medal that he would sculpt.
  • For his lengthy explanation of the theme he chose, see this website:  “Medals4Trade”
  • MacNeil’s brief intro to the medal is as follows: “The two incidents of the Hopi Prayer for Rain on the mesas of northeastern Arizona depicted on this medal are chosen by your sculptor because of the extraordinary vital enthusiasm and power that the Indians throw into this ceremony. Having witnessed it and been thrilled by the intensity of their emotion and on further study by the complicated and perfectly natural development of this drama, I cannot help feel that in it we find a basic note underlying all religions. All these Southwest Indians, living as they do in an arid region, have developed their religion along the lines of their greatest need –water.”

Hermon MacNeil's "Prayer for Rain" was based on his statue "The Moqui Runner"

Four examples of various finish patinas medals that MacNeil selected for SOM#3 in 1931 (from collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

Reverse of SOM#3 by Hermon MacNeil (collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)
  • Herbert Adams (1858-1945)~ SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner 1934
  • “Oh What Are the Prizes We Perish to Win” (on obverse), “To the First Little Shiner We Caught with a Pin” (on reverse).     Numbers Issued: 1,207 Bronze, 100 Silver.
  • The words that Adams placed on the medal are translation of the two lines from Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem, “Song of a Piece of Eight”, ~ He made the medal eight-sided (as a piece-of-eight) reminiscent of the pirate poem “Oh what are the prizes we perish to win. To the first little ‘shiner’ we caught with a pin.”

  • Herbert Adams SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner ~ 1934

    ALL FOUR MEN in the photo (excluding Daniel Chester French) would become Medal Makers for the SOM Series.  The Society of Medalists series (begun in 1930 after this photo of 1929) was created by Medallic Art Company.  It enlisted sculptors for the next 65 years.  That list would read like the Who’s Who of Sculptors (American and otherwise) from 1930 to 1995.

  • LAURA GARDIN FRASER was “The Medal Maker” featured in this film by that same name.  I imagine that she was present for the presentation of the medal to French.  She made numerous other medals (George Washington Bicentennial Medal 1932, Gilbert Stuart It seems ironic that her husband, James Earle Fraser, is admiring the medal and explaining some of her technique with the other sculptors.  It is likely that Carol Brooks MacNeil was also present at the event.  Women, however, were not in leadership in her era.

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.

Webmaster: Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.
COME BACK & WATCH US GROW

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