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 MacNeil Month

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 about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

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

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/

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/

Here at the HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com website we celebrate every February as

“MacNeil Month”

in honor of the birth of

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

February 27th, 1866. 

This is the first of several postings that will celebrate this theme.  Hermon’s older cousin, Tom Henry MacNeil (my grandfather), was born on February 29th, 1860.  So February is MacNeil Month in several ways.

Here is a recent video of the Sun Vow to start off our month of celebration:

[ CLICK HERE to SEE “SUN VOW” video ]

IMG_0676

IMG_0695

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

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

Today, February 27, 2014 marks the 148th anniversary of the birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil, born this very day in 1866.  So each February, we celebrate “MacNeil Month” in his honor.

In 2010, I formally began searching for “Uncle Hermon” in several ways.  First, I  built this “digital gallery” of his life and work as a sculptor.  HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com is a website dedicated to making his sculpture and career available to the world.

In this virtual gallery you will find over 600 photos and 130 stories of Hermon MacNeil’s life and work.   His statues of George Washington from Washington Arch, NYC; Ezra Cornell at Cornell University, William McKinley at Columbus, Ohio; Abraham Lincoln at Champaign, Illinois; Pony Express at St. Joseph, Missouri; Pere Marquette in Chicago; and monuments in Philadelphia, Charleston, Albany, and Flushing, and dozens of other cities can be studied here.

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative by Artist C. Daughtrey is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative by Artist C. Daughtrey is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

These sculptures, statues, monuments are scattered from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon, and from New York City to Gallup, New Mexico.  A web search of the name “Hermon MacNeil” can bring you here.

HOW DID YOU FIND the Hermon MacNeil website?

Please add comment below.  Tell us what brings you here.

Secondly, this year I joined the Clan MacNeil Association of America.  I did not know its existence until I saw the 1928 news story of the MacNeil plaque dedication in Red Springs.  I have shared MacNeil stories at the annual family reunion of my siblings and our children and grand children.  In August 2013 I attended the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Fest in Estes Park.  What a great celebration of Celtic pride.

Keep watching as I continue the search and research on Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

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

 In August of 1929, Hermon Atkins MacNeil sent a painting to my mother, Ollie Francis McNeil, as a wedding present.  Mother always referred to him as her “Uncle Hermon.”  Painted on an thin (acid-based) cardboard, the piece has aged badly in the eighty-eight years since MacNeil sketched and painted it in 1925.  Here is how it looked in 2010 before continual flaking and deterioration stressed it even further.

This photo from 2010 shows the un-restored landscape painted by Hermon MacNeil in 1925. Several flakes (1/2 to 3/4 of an inch) peeled off from the sky after this photo was taken. The deterioration was destroying this informal piece and suppressing its sentimental value as an MacNeil heirloom. Something had to be done to preserve it for its second century.

This photo from 2010 shows the un-restored landscape painted by Hermon MacNeil in 1925. Several flakes (1/2 to 3/4 of an inch) peeled off from the sky after this photo was taken. The deterioration was destroying this informal piece and suppressing its sentimental value as an MacNeil heirloom. Something had to be done to preserve it for its second century.

Leslie Goodwin examined the fragile conditions of MacNeil heirloom and determined that cleaning, stabilization, and repainting of broken areas could refresh the piece.

Leslie Goodwin examined the fragile conditions of the MacNeil heirloom and determined that cleaning, stabilization, and repainting of broken areas could refresh the piece.

 In August 2013, I received an enquiry on this website from an art restorer, Leslie Goodwin, in Colorado.  She had been asked by a client to evaluate another painting by MacNeil. I offered her what information I knew about Uncle Hermon’s occasional ‘dabbling in oils.’

Later, I sent the photo (at right) of the painting to Leslie.  She thought she could help to preserve this piece. I began making arrangements to mail it to her.  After receiving her address, I determined that I had travel plans that would take me within 20 miles of her studio. Coincidence?

Several weeks later, I delivered the painting, personally, to Leslie Goodwin in Colorado. She was able to carefully examine the fragile conditions of our MacNeil heirloom, firsthand. 

Leslie explained the risks and uncertainties of working with old art. She saw the necessity of stopping the rapid deterioration that recent years were adding to the ageing piece. She suggested that cleaning, stabilization, and repainting of broken areas could refresh the piece.  We both agreed that without professional TLC this MacNeil oil painting would not see a 2nd century of life.

So, carefully, she began the preservation process.  Two days later she called to say she was finished.  She was also pleased with the results.  Pictured BELOW is the resurrected look of Ollie Francis MacNeil Leininger’s wedding present from her “Uncle Hermon.”

After restoration

After restoration the cleaning of the landscape brought out hidden colors.

As I saw the results of Leslie’s work, I felt that I was seeing Mother’ s wedding present as she first saw it in 1929.  The repairs to lost portions of the sky brought the scene back together. The cleaning of the landscape brought out hidden colors that I did not see before. A vibrant freshness came out of the strokes of paint. It looked as though Uncle Hermon ‘sculpted’ in paints with a sculptor’s knife rather than an artist’s brush. And of course, that familiar signature, “H. A. MacNeil,” now jumped out of the corner with new boldness.  ”  I think even Ollie would be proud!

1929-HAM-OFMcNeil-WedGift-Note1

Hermon MacNeil’s handwritten note pencilled on the back of his landscape painting says’ “Landscape sketch by H. A. MacNeil presented to Ollie Francis MacNeil as a wedding present by her uncle. H. A. MacNeil ~~ 1929”

While the painting has some limited value, the real heirloom significance resides in the pencilled message on the back.  Hermon MacNeil’s handwritten note on the back of his landscape painting says, “Landscape sketch by H. A. MacNeil presented to Ollie Francis MacNeil as a wedding present by her uncle. H. A. MacNeil ~~ 1929″

That note confirmed several things for me!

  • Not only did mother address Hermon as “Uncle,” he considered himself to be just that to his cousin’s, (Tom McNeil’s) daughters.
  • Hermon was aware of mother’s wedding, and wanted to send a gift.
  • Hermon sent a gift made by his own hands.
  • Hermon personalized that gift with a handwritten note that included his signature – twice!
  • In addition, the timing of Hermon’s gift and note to Ollie McNeil was about 17 months after the prolonged death of Hermon’s and Carol’s only daughter, Joie Katherine MacNeil, in March 1928.  Joie, age seventeen, died in  Flushing Hospital of an infection which had been slowly draining her health since an attack of scarlet fever several years previously. She convalesced in the MacNeil home on Fifth Avenue (North boulevard), College Point.  My mother, Ollie McNeil, would have been about 2 years older than Joie MacNeil.
  • It also came 3 months after the marriage of their son Alden B. MacNeil to Irene E. Hollo on May 25, 1929.  Those nuptials were held while Hermon and Carol MacNeil were abroad in Italy and Paris from November 1928 to September 1929.
The face of the General shows marble worn through 97 years of exposure and harsh cleaning.

The face of the General shows marble worn through 97 years of exposure and harsh cleaning.

On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington (Feb. 22, 1732), we visit Hermon MacNeil’s famous statue in Washington Square, NYC.  Photos here show it both today and in MacNeil’s original plaster model of 1915 from his College Point studio.  His model was located just this past year. (See photos below).

CLICK BELOW for The Washington Arch as New Yorkers and visitors stroll southward from Fifth Avenue into Washington Park.

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/37-arch/

CLICK BELOW for General George Washington ~ MacNeil’s patriot Commander of the Continental Army.

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/39-washington-3/

CLICK BELOW for President Washington ~ Alexander Stirling Calder’s rendition of the civilian “Mr. President”

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/38-washington-2/

BELOW is my photo of MacNeil’s original studio plaster model for the George Washington Statue.  It is about 3 1/2 feet tall. 

George Washington as Commander-in Chief by H.A. MacNeil

Original Plaster model for “George Washington as Commander-in Chief” by H.A. MacNeil

The actual statues on the Arch are 12 feet tall.  They were both carved by the Piccirilli Brothers.  To see a clay model for the piece CLICK BELOW  =>

http://www.lehman.edu/academics/arts-humanities/piccirilli/img44.php

The Picarrilli’s were a  famous family of stone-carvers and sculptors who made many of the great sculpture carvings of that period (early 20th century).

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