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 Urbana

As mentioned in the previous post of July 22, the Lincoln Hall statue at University of Illinois was cast from a standing Lincoln original plaster sculpture. The Smithsonian Institute archives contain a photo of that piece on right. [or CLICK HERE]

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil's Lincoln standing.

MacNeil's "Lincoln Lawyer" from U of I's Lincoln Hall was modeled from the larger standing Lincoln plaster original

Note the folded arms, the papers in the right hand, and the young clean-shaven Lawyer Lincoln.  The resemblance of the Lincoln Hall figure (left) to the Smithsonian photo (right) is apparent (even in the reduced images seen here).

MacNeil’s original plaster statue of Lincoln (standing) very likely has been lost to the ages.  He sculpted it in 1914 for a competition of the Art Commission of Illinois.  They sought a statue for the City of Springfield. After the commission chose another sculpture, MacNeil worked with Roman Bronze Works  to cast 8 Lincoln busts from the original standing  Lincoln. 

The original may have been destroyed, or more probably, was stored in Roman Bronze Works  (RBW) warehouse . There it would have been subject to the foundry activities, moves, changes and decay of that facility’s history over the  past 100 years since MacNeil created the fragile plaster Lawyer Lincoln.  (Many renowned sculptors desired the “lost wax” method of casting which RBW made available in the U.S. ) During the thirty years from 1897 to 1927,  Roman Bronze Works resided in New York City. The story of RBW  after 1927 seems a bit more complicated:

Roman Bronze Works in New York City, established in 1897 by Ricardo Bertelli, was the pre-eminent sculpture bronze foundry in the United States during the American Renaissance. It continued to cast sculpture after that period ended. Its foundry, long a sub-contractor to Louis Comfort Tiffany‘s Tiffany Studios, moved to Tiffany’s Corona, New York, red brick factory in 1927.[1]

Roman Bronze Works, which made Tiffany’s bronze accessories and lamp bases, moved to Tiffany’s Corona facility in 1927. Roman Bronze Works was purchased in 1946 by Salvatore Schiavo, whose father had been working at the foundry since 1902. His nephew, Philip J. Schiavo, the grandson of the first Schiavo, was the president of the foundry until its closing.[4]

Roman Bronze Works 1890s New York City

 After the foundry closed, an auction was staged of original plaster models of major works by American artists, Frederic Remington, Daniel Chester French, Charles Russell, Bessie Potter Vonnoh and Anna Hyatt Huntington, in New York, 17 September 1988.[5] Some of the molds were moved to warehouse space in Copiague, New York, under the aegis of American Art Restoration, Inc..[6] Fortunately the business archives were preserved and are now at the Amon Carter Museum Library, Fort Worth, Texas.[7]In addition, the foundry has recently been reopened as Roman Bronze Studios by Brain Ramnarine who apprenticed and worked at Roman Bronze Works with Salvatore and Philip Schiavo.  (Source: Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Bronze_Works )

Whether MacNeil’s original plaster model of the standing Lincoln was transported in the 1927 move, or was part of the ownership transfer of 1946 (the year before MacNeil died), or was sold in the 1988 auction of American artists has yet to be documented by this researcher. Perhaps, it was destroyed after the eight busts were cast.  Though no recored of that is found either.Lucy C Rosenfield's RBW book  [A 2002 book  devoted to Roman Bronze Works, by Lucy D. Rosenfeld, A Century of American Sculpture The Roman Bronze Works Foundry bears a photo of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” on the cover. Rosenfeld used the firm’s ledgers and archival photographs now stored at the Amon Carter Museum. This volume warrants future investigation].

LINCOLN BUST FACTS:

  • The bust in Urbana was placed in Lincoln Hall in 1929.
  • This procurement suggested by Lorado Taft occurred fifteen years after the original sculpture was made.
  • The University of Illinois “Lincoln Lawyer” is the only one of MacNeil’s Lincoln busts pictured on this website,
  • It is the only one ever seen by this author,
  • It remains the only one readily found by web searching in general.
  • It is a truly beautiful piece that is now restored to its original patina and brilliance.

Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings. the  others “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear incomplete as follows:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

This past Friday I stopped at Spurlock Museum on the University of Illinois campus to see the newly refurbished bust of Abraham Lincoln that will return to the renovated Lincoln Hall in 2012.

Holly Koreb, Senior Director, and Dave  Evensen, both from the Office of Communications and Marketing at U of I’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,  met me at the museum for a guided viewing and photos.  She sent the  photo of me and Abe added below.  That is Abe on the left.  Thanks, Holly! 

(And BTW, Hermon A. MacNeil was my 1st Cousin twice removed.  But since he considered himself my mother’s Uncle Hermon and I think he was Great, I now consider him my Great Uncle Hermon.)  Back to the Lawyer Lincoln statue …

Beautifully restored and on public display at the Spurlock Museum. “H. A. MacNeil” is the signature on the left hand side of this Lincoln Bust. “Roman Bronze Works” is the foundry mark in small letters on the left rear corner

Examining MacNeil’s creation up close was a true thrill.  The restoration is beautifully done. The  rich brown patina gives the piece a radiance that has not been seen in half a century or more.

Webmaster Dan Leininger visited the Spurlock exhibit of MacNeil’s restored Lincoln Bust last week. (Tour and Photo courtesy of Holly Koreb).

The chance to find and record the MacNeil signature and foundry markings (see below) were a rare treat that will prove impossible in the bust’s niche at Lincoln Hall.

The display panel at the Spurlock states, in part:

The bust, by Hermon A. MacNeil, depicts Lincoln as a young lawyer with his arms folded holding a legal document in his right hand.  It was based on a full figured piece that MacNeil had submitted to the Art Commission of Illinois in a 1914 competition seeking a statue for the city of Springfield.

Although the design was not chosen, MacNeil cast eight busts from the upper part of the sculpture.  In this special exhibit it is possible for the first time to view the bust outside its niche.  You can see MacNeil’s fine work from all sides before it is returned to Lincoln Hall in 2012.

Lincoln the Lawyer , as depicted in Macneil’s sculpture, is one the least known aspects of this great American, BUT probably the BEST place to appreciate his skills, character and talents as a human being.  A segment of  an article from American History Magazine tells the ‘Lawyer – Lincoln’  story in this way:

Abraham Lincoln spent only four of his 56 years as president of the United States. Yet, given the importance of the events that marked his 1861-65 term of office, the nation’s admiration for him as a man of courage and principle, and the abundance of photographic images that recorded his presidency, it is hard for most people to think of him as anything else.  But there were other facets to the career of this man who led the nation through the Civil War years. Prior to his presidency, Lincoln honed his political skills and aspirations through the practice of law. 

 “The bulk of Lincoln’s courtroom work took place away from Springfield as he traveled twice a year with the presiding judge and fellow lawyers to the county seats of Illinois’ Eighth Circuit Court. Since most of those who served on the juries in these small towns were farmers and other country folk, Lincoln–himself a product of a rural environment and by nature a slow talker–recognized the need to argue his cases in the simplest and most straightforward manner. As one observer noted, ‘his illustrations were often quaint and homely, but always clear and apt, and generally conclusive. . . . His wit and humor and inexhaustible store of anecdotes, always to the point, added immensely to his powers as a jury advocate.'”  (Abraham Lincoln: The Lawyer.  American History |  Published: June 12, 2006 at 8:02 pm.  CLICK HERE to see entire article )

History records that Abraham Lincoln traveled the Eighth Circuit of Illinois for nearly a quarter of a century. He stood and spoke to citizens in courtrooms involving over 5000 cases ranging from sensational murder cases to the less glamorous issues of property ownership. (Adapted from David Wiegers, Gurnee, Illinois in his comments on Larado Taft’s standing Lincoln statue in Urbana, Illinois )

The statue is listed, along with over 125 others, in a “List of sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” from Donald Charles Durman’s book “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists of 3 locations for some of MacNeil’s other eight Lincoln busts.  This  bust belonging to the University of Illinois is not listed among them.  They are as follows:
  1. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4
  2. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  3. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

For an archive of Lincoln Bust postings click here:

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/category/location/illinois/university-of-illinois/

Related posts:

  1. “Honest Abe” On Public Display ~ MacNeil Month #7 (15.4) At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released…
  2. Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln! ~ MacNeil’s Sculpture Released from Vault ~ MacNeil Month #4 (14.3)Abe Lincoln will be a little late for his 202nd…
  3. MacNeil Bust of Lincoln Stored in Vault (13.5) Hermon Atkins MacNeil would probably be amused to know that…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hermon MacNeil’s bust of Abe Lincoln DID NOT go out for a walk in 1979. It WAS KIDNAPPED! [Since the bust has no legs, we thought the original “walk and fresh air” story was bogus in the first place.]

Holly Koreb, Senior Director, of the Office of Communications and Marketing at U of I’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, confirmed our suspicions in a message today. She has informed us (within the hour) that a public confession has been posted in audio on the LAS website.  [ www.lincolnhall.illinois.edu/storyography ]

Artist's rendition of the NEW Security system for Lincoln bust! Looks rather flimsy from here.

The anonymous culprit ‘claims’ to be a member of a group of ‘supposed’ pre-professionals who eventually formed themselves into the notorious Statue Liberation Society (hereafter the ‘S.L.S.’).

This student, now an alumnus, garbles on for 7 minutes and 22 seconds [ in a disguised voice] about a harmless prank that resulted  in the kidnapping of the 16th President from his prominent perch in the circular stairwell of Lincoln Hall.

The disguised culprit, now in his seeming mid-life repose, says in part:  “We alerted University police [of the bust’s whereabouts], and certainly we were not responsible for any damage or any scratches that appeared later.” —anonymous member of the Statue Liberation Society

This statement of ‘non-responsibility’ emits fumes of self-satisfaction, deception and a possible lack of understanding of “good clean fun”. (While we will defer to qualified historians of Illini lore for details on this organization, it does seem to be a post-incident fabrication to cover pranks that escalated to grand theft – not to mention the heinous act of kidnapping of a dead president.)

But in a conciliatory effort to NOT rub S.L.S. ‘noses’ in their infamous-hidden past, but to offer instead, a ‘fresh’ renovation to student life, we at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com propose:

  1. That the Statue Liberation Society (S.L.S.) anonymously raise a challenge-reparation of $50,000 to be contributed to the existing ‘Lincoln Hall Scholarship Fund’.
  2. That these donations be met and exceeded by matching gifts from the faculty, staff, alumni and students of U of I.
  3. That the S.L.S. then be invited to shed their cloak of anonymity in a true ‘Lincoln-Douglas’ style of honesty.
  4. And that a spirit of ‘New Beginning’ be initiated by all parties with a rub of Lincoln’s refurbished nose in his new perch at the dedication of the new Lincoln Hall.

We think even our ‘UNCLE HERMON’ would smile at a ‘prank’ like that. 😆

Good Clean Fun for the next student generation!

“Looking Good, Mr. Lincoln! The Lincoln Bust Gets Restored”

The University of Illinois has sent MacNeil’s “Abe Lincoln” to Chicago for 3 month for a restoration of the statue’s patina original.  Now the bust is on display at the Spurlock Museum.

The webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com gets a 20 second voice-over (2:40 to 3:00 min.) in this video.  Our webmaster is a bit tongue-tied, but he is quite sincere.

For the whole story of this “Land of Lincoln,” “Love of Lincoln,” “Lincoln Lore” saga, CHECK out these previous posts on the topic:

Related posts:

  1. “Honest Abe” On Public Display ~ MacNeil Month #7 (15.4) At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released…
  2. Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln! ~ MacNeil’s Sculpture Released from Vault ~ MacNeil Month #4 (14.3) Abe Lincoln will be a little late for his 202nd…
  3. MacNeil Bust of Lincoln Stored in Vault (13.5) Hermon Atkins MacNeil would probably be amused to know that…

 

At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released from the vault.  He is out for public view.

A Nose Waiting to Be Rubbed « 2011 « Articles « LASNews Magazine ... Herman Atkins MacNeil modeled the bust in 1928 from a full-size statue he had made 14 years earlier. He gave the bronze bust a brown patina, which had worn ... www.las.uiuc.edu/alumni/magazine/articles/2011/bust/

No, this is not a student prank (like the 1979 Illini Incident) when the MacNeil’s Lincoln Statue disappeared. This time its actually a year-long Lincoln party.

Starting at noon on Sunday February 20th, the refurbished Lincoln bust by Hermon A. MacNeil will be on public exhibit in the Spurlock Museum at U of I.

In a recent email Dr. Wayne T. Pitard, Director, of Spurlock Museum, told us:

“Having had the chance to look at the bust in great detail, I am enormously impressed with MacNeil’s talent.  It is a wonderful piece, one of my favorite depictions of Lincoln.  I wanted to let you know that during its exhibition at the Spurlock between February 20 and January of next year, people will have the only chance in our lifetimes to actually walk all the way around the bust, to see it from all angles.  Once it goes back into its niche in Lincoln Hall, the back will no longer be accessible.  If you ever are in the neighborhood, you should try to come by and see it here.”

MacNeil’s Lincoln has graced the Lincoln Hall stair case since 1928.  It was removed for safekeeping in a vault when construction began on a total restoration of Lincoln Hall.  The empty niche that the statue normally occupies is visible in this video of the Lincoln Hall Kick Off Ceremony (the miniature bust of Lincoln seen here is NOT one of the MacNeil sculpture, but of another artist.)  For the next year it will be in Spurlock for viewing in a 360 degree venue, unlike the setting shown above before restoration. The Public can celebrate MacNeil’s Lincoln Statue at the Spurlock all year.

Holly Korab, (Senior Director in the Office of Communications and Marketing, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) informed the webmaster this week that:

Mr. MacNeil’s statue is dear to many generations of Illini. We are working on a video for our “This Old Hall” series on the restoration of Lincoln Hall. (Holly, I hope the video has a 360 scene of the statue as it appears on display in Spurlock ~ webmaster). Do you know how Mr. MacNeil felt about our statue?

Gutzon Borglum's famous Lincoln also has a shiny nose from public petting of the piece in Springfield, Illinois.

Well Holly, we do know how MacNeil’s friend and teacher, Lorado Taft, felt about the piece.  Taft was considered the ‘dean of American sculptors’ (especially in the Beaux Arts tradition).  He worked with MacNeil in the 1893 Columbian Exposition — the Chicago World’s Fair.  Carol Brooks, who was one of Taft’s students, would become Herman’s wife in 1895.  She helped Taft as one of the female sculptors known as “White Rabbits.” Through the thirty years since that Exposition, Taft knew the MacNeils and their artistic abilities.  Perhaps this influenced Taft’s choice of the Mac Neil Statue over that of Gutzon Borglum, yet he knew and worked with Borglum as well.   He just seemed to not like the overall effect of the Borglum piece. You can compare for yourself the two Lincolns (superficially, at least) from the photos provided here. More directly Taft stated:

“I regret to say that Borglum’s so called ‘Lincoln’ is my pet aversion; I would prefer not to help in this matter,”

In his book Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, Taft shares his expectation of good sculpture.  In the preface, he states:

“SCULPTURE SHOULD BE THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL OF THE ARTS. IT SHOULD EXTERNALIZE ONLY THE RAREST AND THE MOST ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS OF LIFE, CHOOSING WITH IRREPROACHABLE DISCRIMINATION FROM THE FORMS, THE JOYS AND THE SORROWS OF HUMANITY. A SCULPTED MOMENT WHICH IS NOT ADMIRABLE IS A PERMANENT CRIME, A PERSISTENT AND INEXCUSABLE OBSESSION.” Lorado Taft, Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1921. p. 9.

Further in the book Taft, lauds MacNeil’s work on his Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Albany and the Washington Arch in NY by saying MacNeil showed:

“his good taste united with a fine decorative sense and with much fluency of handling”… Running through all these works is a dependable sanity most gratifying to meet amid the eccentricities and vagaries of current endeavor.  The sculptor has never exemplified this quality to better advantage than in his fine “Lincoln” model, a work meriting enlargement and a prominent place.” Lorado Taft, Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1921. p. 120.

In 1923, Taft, recommended MacNeil to James White, the University supervising architect, for the Lincoln Hall placement. Taft’s friend, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, created a bust of Lincoln that the University purchased for $450. http://www.lincolnhall.illinois.edu/history/lincolnhall/entrance/index.html

How did MacNeil feel about his Lincoln statue?

I can’t answer that directly, but MacNeil expressed his thoughts and feelings about the sculptor’s task in 1917.  At the annual meeting of the American Federation of Arts, MacNeil spoke of the progress of contemporary sculpture.

“Above all else, [the artist’s] work must radiate some charm or strength of human character that touches the passer by.”

Errant Bronzes: George Grey Barnard’s Statues of Abraham Lincoln (American Arts Series/University of Delaware Press Books) by Frederick C. Moffatt (2000), p. 129.

He went on to suggest that this radiated art spirit, had to be discovered in the hearts of the observers of the piece.

I know myself, from reading other accounts of MacNeil describing his Marquette, Jolliet, Illini grouping in Douglas Park Chicago, and his Ezra Cornell statue at Ithica, New York, that this art spirit radiated in MacNeil himself as he planned, prepared and sculpted these works.  His heart went into and radiated from each of his sculptures and memorials.  Studying the details he put in them, reveals that to me.  Now the public can assess that at the Spurlock.

SO, Enjoy, Celebrate, and MacNeil’s Lincoln, The Lawyer. May you anticipate the 2013 re-dedication of Lincoln Hall as your 21st Century tribute to Mr. Lincoln.

MORE LINCOLN LORE:

Lincoln/net Website: by Northern Illinois University – browse primary resource materials about our 16th President. http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/aboutinfo.html

VISIT SPURLOCK MUSEUM – here’s a Google Map

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MacNeil's 1915 "Lincoln" in Lincoln Hall

Abe Lincoln will be a little late for his 202nd Birthday (Feb 12th), but he will be early for Hermon MacNeil’s 145th birthday (Feb 27th).

University of Illinois officials will bring Hermon MacNeil’s bust of Old Abe out of “safe-keeping” to be displayed in Spurlock Museum starting at 1pm on Sunday February 20, 2011.

 

 

Illini news sources bill the event as “A Nose Waiting to Be Rubbed.”

A refurbished Lincoln bust will make a guest appearance at the Spurlock Museum. Who will be the first to rub Lincoln’s nose? The doors to the Spurlock Museum open at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 20, 2011.

Fans of the Lincoln bust in Lincoln Hall won’t have to wait until the building reopens in 2012 to rub its nose for luck. Beginning on February 20, the restored bust will greet visitors to U of I’s Spurlock Museum. The display will afford visitors a rare 360-degree view of the bust and will also offer the chance to restart an old tradition.

Source: LAS News http://www.las.illinois.edu/alumni/magazine/articles/2011/bust/

A Nose Waiting to Be Rubbed « 2011 « Articles « LASNews Magazine ... Herman Atkins MacNeil modeled the bust in 1928 from a full-size statue he had made 14 years earlier. He gave the bronze bust a brown patina, which had worn ... www.las.uiuc.edu/alumni/magazine/articles/2011/bust/

We at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com are pleased that our favorite sculptor’s bust of Lincoln will see the light of day and be out for Public review.  We appreciate the care taken to protect this artwork during the renovation of Lincoln Hall on the Urbana Campus. For updates on the restoration go to: Lincoln Hall Project Website:

Previous Post: May 24, 2010 MacNeil Bust of Lincoln Stored in Vault

For a Series of All of our U of I – Lincoln Hall Posts see: https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/category/location/illinois/university-of-illinois/

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
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WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

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