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 Friends of Hermon MacNeil

George Washington statues

Both George Washington statues on the Arch were defaced with red paint in Washington Square.  [Credit: Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post]

We were saddened to hear that “red paint” was splattered over statues of George Washington in NYC yesterday.

CLICK HERE for the New York Post story of the defacing. By Kevin Sheehan and Tina Moore June 29, 2020 | 12:26pm |

George Washington statue

Vandalism on June 29, 2020 left MacNeil’s statue “bleeding” red paint of of the 104 year-old marble monument.

The news arrived this morning from Antonio Bueti, a New York native, MacNeil buff, and Friend of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com/

Three weeks ago, I posted Photos and the story of BLM Protesters marching through the Arch during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd. CLICK HERE

Both Statues on the Arch were attacked.  Hermon A. MacNeil and Alexander Stirling Calder made the pair of companion pieces that sit on the supporting walls of the Arch at the end of Fifth Avenue. One was “The Soldier” and the other was “The President.”
“We had to work together on those statues, Calder and I,” said Mr. MacNeil, “and we had some hot arguments over them, though we are good friends. Of course, each of us had his own statue to do, but we had to treat them in the same restrained manner, to fit each other and the Arch itself”  J. Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America: Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, 1924, reprint 1968
MacNeil and Calder had their work placed on the Arch several years after it was constructed.
 
PLEASE NOTE:  Similar vandalism was done on the “Confederate Defenders” in Charleston, SC, [CLICK HERE] after the murders at the Mother Emmanuel AME Church down the street ON JUNE 17, 2015.
Dylan Roof was indited for murder in the Charleston Church Massacre on July 17, 2015.  “In December 2016 he was convicted of 33 federal hate crime and murder charges. On January 10, 2017, he was sentenced to death for these crimes.[9]  https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/charleston-church-shooting/dylann-roof-indicted-murder-church-massacre-n388066
 
Turbulent times raise issues of removal and/or further vandalism. 
 
We await further updates on this news. …

By The original uploader was TonyTheTiger at English Wikipedia.(Original text: en:User:TonyTheTiger) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3588095

Carrie as a young girl. Ink drawn portrait by HW Bucknell in 1892 for her parents.

CHRISTMAS DAY

1895

They had a wedding reception in the Marquette Building in the Studio of Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

The Brooks of Winnetka, Illinois hosted the reception for Carol (“Carrie” to her friends) and the “happiest man in the world” – her new husband – “Hermon Atkins MacNeil”. 

Carrie’s father and mother, Alden F. and Ellen T. (nee, Woodworth) Brooks 
lived at 518 Elder Lane, Winnetka. He was a portrait painter for whom President William McKinley once sat.  Hermon would later sculpt the memorial statue of William McKinley at the Columbus, Ohio Capitol Building. McKinley was assassinated in 1901 at the Buffalo Worlds Fair. 

Carrie preferred sculpture to painting, though she grew up in her parents home with a great awareness and appreciation of the arts and Chicago community, and the Chicago Art Institute.

A 2019 photo of the home where Carrie Brooks parents lived when he died at 93 years of age in 1932. The home still stands  at 436 Elder Lane and Woodlawn avenue, in the north shore Chicago suburb of Winnetka, Illinois. The neighborhood appears very original and well maintained even today. They lived elsewhere in Hyde Park when they hosted the wedding reception for Carrie and Hermon 124 years ago.

Happy Christmas Memories

Merry Christmas

and

Happy Anniversary 

( X 124) to the MacNeil Sculptor Couple

our favorite Christmas Coupe Today!

 

Invitation below…

Here is the printed invitation for the Brook’s Christmas Day reception for Carol (Carrie) and Hermon MacNeil at the Marquette Building

DSCN4192

A model of the railroad station built for the Universal Exposition of 1900 in Paris. The building is the present day Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay in the center of Paris was originally built as the railroad station for the Universal Exposition of 1900. MacNeil and his contemporary sculptors exhibited and received prizes in that competition.

It now is a Museum.   Sculptures made by MacNeil’s teachers are a part of the exhibits.  MacNeil had many teachers in Paris  at the Ecole Des Beau Arts. Below are the signatures of A [Alexandre] Falguiere and H [Henri] Chapu from two of their marble sculptures.

DSCN4121DSCN4109

Alexandre Falguiere (1831 – 1900)

Falguiere’s sculpture of Tarcisius was completed in 1867 when MacNeil was just 1 year old.

Alexandre Falguiere (1831-1900), Tarcisius, martyr chretien, 1867

Alexandre Falguiere (1831-1900), Tarcisius, martyr chretien, 1867

DSCN4129

Falguiere placed Christian symbols on has interpretation of the young martyr: Two doves of peace, olive branches, alpha and omega, and a cross of the chi-rho letters.

DSCN4132 DSCN4130 DSCN4119

Henri Chapu (1833-1891)

A beautiful feature of Chapu’s work graces the Musee d’Orsay — Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc a’ Domremy 1870.DSCN4110

DSCN4114 DSCN4104

DSCN4113

Jeanne dArc A Domrem by Henri Chapu 1870

Jeanne dArc A Domremy by Henri Chapu 1870

Another art work of Hermon A. MacNeil has emerged through the kindnesses of the Orr family and the attraction of this website  —  namely, a beautiful portrait bust of Hermon MacNeil’s physician, Dr. Francis G. Reilly.

Pat Orr send the information about his MacNeil painting of “Dave Blue” as presented in my previous posting.  He was also kind enough to ask his brother, Tim Orr, to send some photos of another Hermon MacNeil creation that has been in their family (for almost) five generations.  

Pat sent the following request to Tim:

Profile view of plaster bust of Dr. F. G. Reilly created by Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

Profile view of plaster bust of Dr. F. G. Reilly created by Hermon Atkins MacNeil. (photo courtesy and permission of Tim Orr)

Dan has a website dedicated to the life and works of his uncle H.A. MacNeil.  I have the oil painting of Dave Blue Who Lived Under the Ground and you have the bronze bust of Daddy Boy (Grandma’s father, Dr. Francis Reilly). Could you email him some pics.  See his directions below.  He wants to add the discoveries of his uncle’s work to his website and possibly a book as well.

Tim sent several photos of the bust of “Daddy Boy,” as the family has called their heirloom piece. Enhanced profile and frontal views are posted here.

Pat also included some tidbits of family history he gathered in his “MacNeil detective work:’

Bust of F.G. Reilly, MD, FACS was the physician for Hermon A. MacNeil. This bust was a gift to Dr. Reilly by the artist.

Bust of F.G. Reilly, MD, FACS was the physician for Hermon A. MacNeil. This bust was a gift to Dr. Reilly by the artist.

 I have a few more details of interesting information for you.  I spoke with my mother and she said H A MacNeil was a neighbor of my great grandparents in the Catskills. They had a summer house there, and he had one down the road. Apparently, my great grandfather was his doctor. In fact, H A did a bronze bust of my great grandfather which my brother has now at his house.  …

In terms of the home in upstate New York called “Bittersweet” I don’t know what happened to that.  I imagine it was sold at some point along the way.  That was way before my time.  I was born in Washington, D.C. in 1970.

Did you ever meet your uncle, or you just know him by way of photographs?

Tim provided additional interesting family details not mentioned before:

As I understand the story, the bust was compensation to my GG (sic: great-grandfather) for medical services rendered…but that could just be a story. The medallion was either a gift or he may have purchased it, or could have been compensation also.  As an aside, the vacation home in Liberty NY is now under water, a part of a reservoir network in that area I believe.

Tim Orr sent this photo of a SOM#3 medallion at the base o the bust.

Tim Orr sent this photo of a SOM#3 medallion at the base o the bust.

The idea of “compensation” (barter) makes sense in that era and in Hermon MacNeil’s history of doing that with Inn-keepers in his early years of travel in Italy and Paris . 

Thanks to Pat and Tim Orr for sharing heir family history and treasures.  They give us insight into Hermon A. MacNeil and their own family

 

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas board signed "H.A. MacNeil SC" in two places.

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas board signed
“H.A. MacNeil SC” in two places.

WHO IS DAVE BLUE ?

Another mystery oil painting entitled “Dave Blue,” has surfaced through an inquiry on this website.  The work is signed, “H. A. MacNeil SC” in two places.

Patrick Orr wrote from Connecticut,

“IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I HAVE A PAINTING BY H.A. MACNEIL?”

Patrick included several photos from which the detail at your right enlargement below were taken.

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas board signed "H.A. MacNeil SC" in two places.

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas.

In our ongoing correspondence,  I explained  to Patrick the following:

A. MacNeil often placed the letters “SC” after his signature on works meaning “Sculptor.”  This was his standard manner of signing his works. Interesting that he did so to an oil painting as well.  See numerous examples on the masthead photos on my website.

B. MacNeil is known to have painted oils. Mostly for fun or gifts.  My mother had an oil painting as a wedding gift that he gave her in 1929.

C. You have a unique and interesting piece. Just on the basis of looking at the pictures, I would say there is little reason to doubt that this piece is what it claims to be.

D. I doubt that a forger would bother to make a fake “MacNeil” oil painting.

E. Hermon would sketch when he went places or saw interesting people. He had an artists eye.

I asked Patrick where he got the work:

“The painting belonged to my grandparents, and when they died I asked my uncle if I could have it. I always liked it. I have no idea how they acquired it.”

“My grandparents and their grandparents are from the lower west side of Manhattan.  In the 1970s my grandparents moved to CT.  I don’t remember any stories unfortunately, but I will ask my mother.  They definitely treasured it.  Everybody always commented on it.”

“Who was Dave Blue?  Did he live in a cave?  Was he blind?  Was he a freed slave or son of slaves?  A mystery and so very intriguing.”

SO, Pat Orr agreed that I could post his “MacNeil Mystery” on my website. The next day another email arrived from Patrick:

“I have some interesting information for you. I spoke with my mother and she said H A MacNeil was a neighbor of my great grandparents in the Catskills. They had a summer house there, and he had one down the road. Apparently, my great grandfather was his doctor. In fact, H A did a bronze bust of my great grandfather which my brother has now at his house. The painting I have was a gift he gave to them.

… Unfortunately, my mom doesn’t know about the history or background of the painting itself. She doesn’t know when or where it was done.”

That fits in with the sticker on the back of the canvas being from a New York art supplier. I can imagine him picking up the canvas in New York, and then taking it with him on his travels and using it to do the study of the old black man.”

SO, the intriging “MacNeil Mystery” remains:

“Dave Blue who lived under the ground.”

  1. Who was Dave Blue?  

  2. Did he live in the ground?  

  3. Was he blind?  

  4. Was he a freed slave or son of slaves? 

Maybe we will get responses from other painting owners.

Maybe “Mr. Blue” has some relatives out there.

THANKS PAT, for making us curious.

We celebrate “MacNeil Month” each February.  This February 27, 2014 marks the 148th anniversary of the birth of our patron sculptor, Hermon Atkins MacNeil.   During MacNeil Month 2014 here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com , we will share some biography of Hermon A. MacNeil gleaned from my “search for ‘Uncle Hermon’.”

Hermon Atkins MacNeil ~American Sculptor

MacNeil Clan history, like all family history, is filled with people we have never met.  One MacNeil who has always fascinated me is Hermon Atkins MacNeil.  Researching “Uncle” Hermon has also led me to another amazing man, Robert Lister MacNeil. Both men were present when the Clan MacNeil Association of America was formed ninety-three years ago. 

MacNeil kinsman. 

Kisimul Castle, built on an island in Castlebay, Barra is the seat of the current clan chief, Rory MacNeil, and was restored from a ruinous state by his US born grandfather in the early 20th century. Archaeological evidence has revealed that there has been human occupation on the island since at least the Bronze Age. The present castle dates from the 14th century.  http://www.greatscottishclans.com/clans/images/clan_macneil_castle.gif

Kisimul Castle, built on an island in Castlebay, Barra is the seat of the current clan chief, Rory MacNeil, and was restored from a ruinous state by his US born grandfather in the early 20th century. Archaeological evidence has revealed that there has been human occupation on the island since at least the Bronze Age. The present castle dates from the 14th century.  ( Credit: http://www.greatscottishclans.com/clans/images/clan_macneil_castle.gif )

On May 26, 1921, the Clan MacNeil Association of America was organized in New York City.  Central to that moment were Robert Lister MacNeil, (The MacNeil of Barra – 45th Chief of the Clan), and Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a sculptor, who served as the clan’s first president.  At that time, Robert Lister was 32 years of age, a practicing architect in New York City, and a veteran of the First World War. He had succeeded to the chiefship of the Clan MacNeil just six years earlier.  His dreams of the Isle of Barra and restoring Kisimul Castle (as told in his book The Castle in the Sea) were but faint hopes that would await decades and the efforts of many MacNeils for their accomplishment. 

His other kinsman was Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Hermon was the older of the two, an accomplished sculptor, also practicing in New York City, he had already created a myriad of statues, sculptures, monuments, as well as, the U.S. Standing Liberty Quarter first minted in 1916.  Although these two MacNeils were 23 years apart in age, they were both trained in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, a school for architects and sculptors in the Classic Greco-Roman styles.  A lasting bond between them formed through their shared artistic talents, professional skills, and years of Clan MacNeil activity.

Hermon MacNeil designed a bronze plaque that was unveiled and dedicated on May 28, 1928 on the campus of Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, NC. The plaque commemorated the 1735 landing of Neil MacNeil of Jura, Scotland with 350 followers.  This group made up mostly of clan members landed at the Cape Fear Settlement in North Carolina. The plaque was placed on a red granite stone and marked another clan project shared by these two men.

In his later years, Robert Lister stated: “Hermon was an outstanding sculptor and one of my dearest friends all the rest of his life.”  In 1970, six years after publishing those words, Robert Lister MacNeil died at the age of 81.  Twenty-three years earlier (in 1947), Hermon Atkins MacNeil had died, also at the same age of 81.  All of the above was discovered as I “searched for Uncle Hermon.” I never met either of these two MacNeil men. The more I learn of them both, the more striking I find the parallels in their lives.

Upcoming: MacNeil Roots and Pursuits

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