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 New Mexico

Rarest of the Rare!   A very rare Silver – Society of Medalists #3 – by ‘H. A. MacNeil’ (in lower right).

It is “Silver.”

Only twenty-five were minted in 1931.

In the summer of 1895, Hermon MacNeil traveled to the Southwest.  With Hamlin Garland and Charles Francis Browne, they journey by railroad to the four-corners region of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

With Garland as guide the sculptor and the artist witnessed Native American culture first hand. They visited the Hopi and Navajo reservations immersed in Native American life. They saw the “Prayer for Rain” ~ the Snake Dance ceremony depicted here on the SOM #3.

The “Prayer for Rain” depicts the Moqui (Hopi) runner carrying the snakes to the river to activate the rain cycle of nature. [SOM #3 Reverse]

This Society of Medalists Issue #3, in Silver, by Hermon MacNeil is rare.  This silver “Beauty” is the only one I have seen in my ten years of “Searching for Uncle Hermon” and producing this website.

ONLY 25 were made in SILVER (99.9%).

The Silver issue of MacNeil’s medallion is among the rarest of the rare.  

Over sixty-times that number  were struck in  Bronze  (1,713).  Now nearly eight decades later, those are more common, but also rare and collectible.   [See pictured below — at the end of this article — this author’s collection of the varied Bronze patinas of S.O.M #3.]

The next year (1932), Frederick MacMonnies sculpted a medallion celebrating Charles A. Lindbergh historic flight.  250 of those medallions were struck in Silver.  That makes the Lindbergh issue ten times more common than MacNeil’s “Hopi”.  (10 X 25) — 

Silver minting of most SOM Issues quantities usually ranged from 50 to 125.  Most often 100 silver specimens were struck.  SO the 25 of the MACNEIL’S “Prayer for Rain” creations are twice as rare and up to 10 times as rare as other SOM Issues.

This, all Society of Medalists (SOM) in Silver can be considered rare.  However, this MacNeil piece is definitely “THE RAREST OF THE RARE!”

This images that MacNeil’s placed of the Obverse and Reverse had been burned in his visual memory in 1895.  They lived in his artist’s awareness for decades. It is no stretch to say that they inspired numerous sculptures and pieces that came out of his studio. 

“The Moqui Runner,” “The Primitive Chant,” were “living” in his mind when he first saw these scenes. Then, three decades later, he chose them for his own theme and design.  Thus, the 1931 Society of Medalists Issue #3 became his offering to this young series by American Sculptors.

The following are just a few of the sculptures and monuments, which re-capture some of the Native American culture and history first observed in this 1895 trip to the Hopi (Moqui) people.

By comparison, the SOM’s issued from:

  • 1930 to 1944. ~ struck 2X to 5X this quantity of SILVER medallions. 
  • 1945 to 1950. ~ those SOM silver issues were minted in quantities of 50 to 60.
  • 1950 to 1972. ~ NO silver medallions were struck. 
  • 1973 to 1979. ~ Silver medallions ranged from 140-200. 
  • No Silver coins were struck from 1980-1995
  • In 1995 the “Society of Medalists Series” closed production.

In 1931 design the the Society of Medalist medal #3, Hermon MacNeil chose to immortalize his memory of these images from 1895 in rare silver — 99.9% fine silver!

A Rare Beauty Indeed.   Hi Ho, Silver !

MacNeil Display MacNeil Medallion (front and reverse) in Center. Framed by 10 SOM #3 (Obverse & reverse) of varied patinas. SOURCE: Collection of Webmaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:

Information taken from the six page list entitled: Medal Collectors of America; Checklist of “The Society of Medalists” Issues 1930 – Date. Originally written by D. Wayne Johnson with rights retained by him; used with permission.

His listing includes the original pricing supplied by Paul Bosco in the inaugural issue of the MCA’s publication “The Medal Cabinet” (Summer 2000) for the silver issues and Paul’s update values for the bronze pieces that appeared in the Spring/Summer 2002 edition of “The MCA Advisory.”

GOOD NEWS !   SURPRISE ~ Hermon MacNeil’s Chief Manuelito is back!

Yesterday’s post about MacNeil and Manuelito generated considerable interest and news from Gallup, NM.

Carolyn Milligan saw our Native American Day story and responded:

“The restored Manuelito has been installed.  Early tomorrow I’ll see and visit him. There are a few details to conclude but I will send you images of the restoration. Manuelito[‘s]  dignity and presence have been skillfully restored. You will be pleased with the result.”   … Give me a few days to reply to you and to send you images of Manuelito installed in his new location. You will then have before and after images of Manuelito to include on your website.

Artist Julian Scott’s portrait of Manuelito‑ Chief of the Navajos  [Source: americangallery.wordpress.com

In his seventy-five years of life, the Chief was driven, accused, abused, enraged, betrayed, wise, proud and a thousand other emotions that a leader might feel in a war of cultures.  All these experiences exacted a price from his life and energy. 

Harrison Lapahle’s website offers a brief history of Manuelito.  He describes the warrior’s closing years with a sorrow and painful candor that recalls the similar sorrow of his Navajo Nation. 

“He spent the last ten years of his life unhappy, certain that he had done the wrong thing by encouraging education, and by taking back all the livestock stolen by the young raiders of the tribe. Whisky was small comfort for his misery, but he drank it anyway. All around him his people still believed his words “Education is the ladder,” and they sent more and more of their children to school. They followed Manuelito even though he refused to lead them any longer.

A delegation of Navajo representatives who traveled to Washington, D.C., in 1874 to discuss the provisions of the 1868 treaty with President Ulysses S. Grant. The delegation consisted of (left to right, front row): Carnero Mucho, Mariano, Juanita (Manuelito’s wife), Manuelito, Manuelito Segundo, and Tiene-su-se Standing: “Wild” Hank Sharp (Anglo), Ganado Mucho, Barbas Hueros, Agent Arny, Kentucky Mountain Bill (Anglo), Cabra Negra, Cayatanita, Narbona Primero, and Jesus Arviso, interpreter.

He was a disheartened man, seventy-five years old in 1893, when he became very ill. Measles and then pneumonia brought the weakened old man to his deathbed.

In his fever, the years seemed to fade as he watched the sunlight play in small patches on the hogan wall. He saw the faces around him, his friends and family. He thought he heard Zarcillos Largos say, “Come, on the path of beauty you will restore your strength.” Manuelito closed his eyes in peace.

His death saddened many Navajos who had found strength in his strength. But his life had given his people a new trail to follow, and they walked it proudly, as Manuelito had walked.”  [ http://www.lapahie.com/manuelito.cfm ]

A wonderful surprise!  We await the return of the Chief to Gallup.

Seeing Chief Manuelito with his ‘dignity’ back, will prepare us all for the 21st Century.   

Uncle Hermon would smile.

Statue Adopted by McKinley County as a ‘Gallup Icon’

An improvised art creation of ‘Chief Manuelito’ made 115 years ago by Hermon Macneil at the request of trader/ merchant, C. N. Cotton, will be given a place of public honor by officials of Gallup, New Mexico.
MacNeil’s “Chief Manuelito” will soon be placed in honor at McKinley County Courthouse. [2010 Gallup Independent/ Cable Hoover]

In July, the statue’s owner, Joe DiGregiorio, met with McKinley County Commissioners and told them that he wanted to give the statue to the county because “of its importance to the history of Gallup.”

According to Carolyn Milligan (chair of the McKinley County Fine Arts Committee) the MacNeil “Chief Manuelito” statue has survived a century of weathering, several paintings and a variety of repairs.  The piece has been moved temporarily to Santa Fe for professional restoration. Milligan chaired the committee that recommended that the county commission recieve Joe DiGregiorio’s gift and restore the art piece properly.  She informed me recently of the following:

“I have seen interim reports of the conservation process and plan to visit the work in progress this coming Thursday. Manuelito will  soon reside in our new courthouse annex overlooking the plaza.”

MacNeil had made it one summer around the turn of the century when he was “doing the West,” for the Santa Fe Railroad. Old Man Cotton, an Indian trader, came in and wanted to talk to the sculptor. He showed Hermon a photograph of Manuelito (who had just died) and asked if he could work from it. Macneil said “of course.” He called Mr. Cotton in when he had finished, asking it the sculpture was OK. He said he would see. He let a Navajo woman into the room and closed the door. She came out a few minutes later, crying, Macneil said Cotton said it was OK ( the woman was Manuelito’s widow). http://www.gallupindependent.com/2007/june/062807gbda_gl%5Blndmrkchfmn.html

Bill Donovan, a correspondent for the Gallup Independent, tells us that the Chief Manuelito statue has greeted gallup citizens from his glass enclosure on the front of the Old Cotton Warehouse (Zanios Foods) north of the Sante Fe Railroad track for several decades.

The statue’s historical and cultural importance is evident to Zanios’ manager, Martin Romine: “He’s right outside of my office,” said Martin Romine, manager of Zanios. “People like to come and tell their children and grandchildren about Chief Manuelito. We have lots of chairs in the lobby and the public is welcome. The hours we are open are 8-5 on Monday through Friday, 8-4 on Saturday, and Zanios is closed Sunday. There are information posters on the wall around the sculpture, explaining the history of the building and the art piece.

An “icon” can be defined as an object of great attention and devotion, an image, a representation or picture of a sacred or sanctified personage.  Clearly, the “Chief Manuelito” has become a cultural focal point and gathering place for teaching heritage to generations of residents and visitors of the Gallup community.

We believe that Hermon A. MacNeil would be proud that his efforts have been so influential and inspiring over a century later.

Professor Carolyn Milligan has informed us that the 115 year old statue of Navajo Chief Manuelito will again be on public display in Gallup New Mexico. Sculpted by Hermon Atkins MacNeil in 1895, the 8 foot, 3 inch likeness of the respected Navajo warrior and leader has become a gathering point of cultural pride for citizens and visitors alike. We were recently contacted  by Carolyn Milligan, Associate Professor Emeritus, UNM in Gallup, NM, who is the Chair of the McKinley County Fine Arts Committee. She writes:

Our large sculpture is currently in Santa Fe undergoing a much-needed restoration. I have seen interim reports of the conservation process and plan to visit the work in progress this coming Thursday. Manuelito will  soon reside in our new courthouse annex overlooking the plaza.” She further states,I am contacting you because last year I recommended the County accept a gift from a local businessman who had offered a monumental sculpture of the historic Navajo warrior and later tribal leader, Manuelito. Hermon Atkins MacNeil created this posthumous memorial to Manuelito, commissioned by C.N.Cotton, a wealthy trader with the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni people and who is credited with establishing the national market for Navajo weaving. In the summer of 1895 MacNeil traveled to the Southwest in search of more American Indians. (He found a lot more here than in Chicago!) It was during that trip that MacNeil met Cotton and created the sculpture which then resided in a high niche at the front of Cotton’s store. For a century Manuelito was the visual marker for all travelling on the train that they had arrived in Gallup.”

In July 2010, the McKinley County published a “Request for Proposals (RFP’s) No. 2010-24  for Conservation, Restoration, Including Consultation on Maintenance Plan Moving and Installing for Herman Atkins MacNeil’s CHIEF MANUELITO Sculpture, Gallup, New Mexico”. The proposal describes the sculpture as follows:

http://www.gallupindependent.com/2007/june/062807gbda_gl%5Blndmrkchfmn.html”]”]

The sculpture is a larger than life, polychromed figure of Chief Manuelito (1818–1894), a respected Navajo warrior and leader. It is constructed of gypsum plaster over a wood and metal armature. It was created by Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866–1947), a prominent sculptor, who created many cast bronze public monuments of historic figures in New York City, Chicago, and on the east pediment of the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. MacNeil’s interest in Native American culture brought him to the Southwest as an artist commissioned by the railroad to produce artworks based upon the Native cultures of the Southwest. While in Gallup, MacNeil met C.N.Cotton, a prosperous Gallup trader, who is credited with creating the national market for Navajo rugs. Cotton and Manuelito had been friends. In 1895, (the year following Manuelito’s death from measles and pneumonia), Cotton commissioned MacNeil (and paid him in Navajo rugs) to create this dignified tribute to his friend Manuelito, shown draped in a chief blanket and wearing turquoise nuggets strung around his neck and suspended from his earlobes. The sculpture was planned for, and installed in a high niche on the east façade of the C.N.Cotton store and warehouse, an adobe building adjacent to the Santa Fe Railway tracks in downtown Gallup. For nearly a century the dignified figure of Manuelito was a familiar visual marker to all who traded with C.N. Cotton of his friendship with one of the Navajo’s most respected leaders but the figure also announced to those traveling from the east that they had arrived in Gallup, New Mexico.

Professor Milligan was very complimentary.  “I was very happy to discover your website on Hermon Atkins MacNeil. And I am even more curious about what inspired your interest in this remarkable sculptor.I have been researching Hermon Atkins MacNeil for several months now and I, too was impressed by our MacNeil sculpture when I was first asked to evaluate it close up and make a recommendation to the County regarding the offer of this wonderful gift.  It stands 8′ 3″ and is a polychromed image of Manuelito majestically wrapped in a patterned Chief’s blanket.”

We thank Chair Milligan, the Fine Arts Council, the County of McKinley, and the citizens of Gallup, NM for their pride, interest and commitment to the preservation of this early work of H. A. MacNeil.
More to come on this latest discovery.

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