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 Missouri

The Missouri Capitol burns after being struck by lightning the evening of Feb. 5, 1911, in Jefferson City. City firefighters, state penitentiary inmates and fire crews from Sedalia, Mo., who rushed by train to assist from more than 60 miles away, fought the blaze, but the building was a total loss. ¦ AP Photo/Missouri State Archives

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

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

On February 5, 1911 lightning struck the Missouri Capitol in the evening.  Responders included local firefighters, state penitentiary inmates and even fire crews from as far as sixty miles away in Sedalia, Missouri. Many came by train to help.  But the building was a total loss.  The resulting fire had entirely destroyed the state’s historic building complex (see the ‘day after’ photo below)

After the public saw the devastating results of the fire, donations began to come in for restoration.  School children collected coins, the public sent gifts, and private funds contributes as well.  All helped to rebuild the the Jefferson City capitol with new sculptures and new art making it more spectacular that before.

Hermon A. MacNeil was one of the many famous American sculptors commissioned for sculptures and art for the new Missouri Capitol after the tragic fire.  Other renowned sculptors commissioned for work on the re-built state structure include: James Earl Fraser, Robert Aiken, Alexander A. Weinman, Karl Bitter, and Alexander Stirling C(see photo below)alder.

In this photo provided by the Missouri State Archives, people walk around the ruins of the Missouri Capitol on the day after. (AP Photo/Missouri State Archives) Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/multimedia/image_8158f625-1596-5d61-8c0a-b210ee48de6f.html#ixzz1s4tJIm8l

Allegorical frieze, Missouri Speeding the Western Pioneer by Hermon MacNeil.

Portion of the North Allegorical frieze, “Missouri, the Mother of the West,” Hermon MacNeil – Sculpted in 1924. Note the sculptor’s name appearing along bottom left corner. [ Photo Credit: SIRIS -Smithsonian Institute Research Information System. ]

Stay tuned for more on MacNeil’s work there in Jefferson City.

CLICK HERE FOR: Smithsonian Institute link to eight photos of this frieze

 

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Here are a few images of  Independence from Hermon Atkins MacNeil for this 237th Fourth of July Day in the United States of America.

1) From Vincennes, Indiana at the George Rogers Clark National Monument, Here is a hero of the American Revolution:

MacNeil’s “George Rogers Clark” in the rotunda of the National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana (Photo credit: Dan Leininger – webmaster)

The ranger at the monument commented on the proud dignity that MacNeil’s work conveys in the face and stance of this 26 year-old Virginia patriot, Col. George Rogers Clark. (Photo: Dan Leininger ~ webmaster)

On a recent visit to the monument, the National Park Ranger commented on the pride and confidence that Hermon MacNeil placed in his rendering of Clark’s gaze and pose for this sculpture.  Clark, a Virginia Militia officer, won the approval and support of Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, to conduct a daring attack on the British in the Western frontiers.  Clark crafted, trained, and commanded a special force of two hundred frontiersman, militia, and Kentucky sharpshooters.  Their loyalty to the cause and Clark’s strategy of surprise resulted in capture of the British fortifications on the Western frontiers along the Mississippi, Ohio and Wabash Rivers at Vincennes, IN; Cahokia, IL; Kaskaskia, IL  Enduring severe winter hardships, starvation, and sickness their monumental military achievement resulted in British withdrawal from the West and the surrender of territories east of the Mississippi in the Treaty of Paris in 1783. These are due in part to Clark’s Victories.  He was the oldest of a family of famous brothers.  In 1804 his brother William Clark, along with Meriwether Lewis, would explore the Louisiana Purchase west of the Mississippi for President Jefferson.

2. From New York City, Washington Square Arch. ~ “George Washington, Commander in Chief” by Hermon A. MacNeil.

1916 Photo of the installation of the MacNeil statue. Thia appears to have the statue sitting in the right hand leg of the Arch. The left leg is where it was permanently installed. Photo Credit: John Gomez, NYC.

 

General George Washington with Flags (U.S. and POW/MIA) ~ Washington Arch Greenwich, NYC (Photo courtesy of: Gibson Shell – 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1916 the northeast statue pedestal received its Washington statue after being empty for over 20 years.

The other shelf of the Arch remained empty until 1918 when Alexander Stirling Calder’s “Washington as President” was installed.  The installation on the right is a bit confusing.  This photo was salvaged from a NYC flea market in June 2012 by John Gomez and used with his permission. John purchased this and other photos of interest to this MacNeil researcher and has graciously allowed their use by webmaster.  This ‘strange’ photo shows the MacNeil statue resting on the right-hand side of the Arch where the Calder statue would be placed two years later.  (The ladder, rope and pulleys suggest “Men at Work.”  Compare the 2012 photo to its left.)

For MacNeil this event took place the same year as the first issue of his sculpture for the U.S. Mint’s “Standing Liberty Quarter.”

For more on the Washington Arch: CLICK HERE

3. From Philadelphia, PA. “The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument.”  Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Jim Haas, author and College Point native, sent this Philadelphia shot of Hermon MacNeil’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. That is a rare shot of Jim himself, taken by Lynne, his director of public relations. : ) Jim is a Friend of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com and a generous researcher for the website.  CLICK HERE for Jim’s Books

The second half of the American Revolution (the preservation of the Union) is commemorated in this pair of 60 foot monuments on either side of the parkway entrance.

The back of the monuments read:

~~ “ONE COUNTRY, ONE CONSTITUTION, ONE DESTINY” ~~

~~ “IN GIVING FREEDOM TO THE SLAVE,

WE ASSURE FREEDOM TO THE FREE.” ~~

HEAR & VIEW PHILADELPHIA’S PRIDE IN THIS MACNEIL ART AT:

CLICK HERE  and THEN run video by VIMEO.COM

 

FOR MORE INFO ON THESE MacNeil works see:

  1. DC Memorials – excellent photos ~ CLICK HERE
  2. Philadelphia Pride – “Soldiers & Sailors Monument” ~ by H. A. MacNeil (31.4)
  3. 75th Anniversary of the George Rogers Clark National Monument (9.2)

“Slow but steady wins the race.” 

So said Aesop in the fable of the “Tortoise and the Hare.” And those are the two last figures that Hermon A. MacNeil placed as ‘bookends’ on either end of the East Pediment of the US Supreme Court Building. On our recent visit to Washington, D.C., we slowly made our way to the Supreme Court Building, we walked steadily around to the East Pediment (back side) passing the barricades for all the current landscape construction.

There, hidden high on the seldom-seen back side of **Cass Gilbert’s last architectural achievement, rests the eleven marble figures of Hermon A. MacNeil’s tribute to “Justice: The Guardian of Liberty.”   Unless you walk around the building you will miss this massive work of art.  

Moses, Confucius, and Solon represent three great world civilizations.   Moses (receiver of Hebrew Ten Commandments) is in the center.  To his right is Confucius (Chinese philosopher and teacher).  To Moses’ left is Solon (Athenian lawmaker, statesman, and poet).  MacNeil explained his work as follows:

“Law as an element of civilization was normally and naturally derived or inherited in this country from former civilizations. The ‘Eastern Pediment’ of the Supreme Court Building suggests therefore the treatment of such fundamental laws and precepts as are derived from the East.”

This trio of law makers are framed on left and right by three pairs of allegorical figures.  The rest of the grouping is as follows:

“Flanking this central group – left – is the symbolical figure bearing the means of enforcing the law. On the right a group tempering justice with mercy, allegorically treated. The “Youth” is brought into both these groups to suggest the “Carrying on” of civilization through the knowledge imbibed of right and wrong. The next two figures with shields; Left – The settlement of disputes between states through enlightened judgment. Right – Maritime and other large functions of the Supreme Court in protection of the United States. The last figures: Left – Study and pondering of judgments. Right – A tribute to the fundamental and supreme character of this Court. Finale – The fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.

East Pediment description: CLICK HERE

** NOTE: Gilbert, Sr. died in 1934, one year before the completion of the Supreme Court Building by his son, Cass Gilbert, Jr.  MacNeil and Gilbert first collaborated in 1904 at the Saint Louis World’s Fair.  That “Palace of Fine Arts” on Art Hill now houses the St. Louis Art Museum.”  

The three MacNeil sculptures above the main entrance of Cass Gilbert’s ‘Palace of fine Arts’ are examples of the Beaux Arts style of World Fairs of this era. (http://www.slam.org/).

For more on Supreme Court Building See Also:

1.  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/05/29/tortoise-and-hare-taken-to-supreme-court/

2.  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/08/07/moses-confusius-and-solon-at-supreme-court/

3.  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2012/01/21/hermon-macneils-supreme-court-sculptures-the-tortoise-the-hare-revisited/

For more on Saint Louis World’s Fair See Also:

1.  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/08/06/macneil-sculpture-st-louis-art-museum/

2.  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2011/03/26/1904-louisiana-purchase-exposition-saint-louis-worlds-fair/

3.  https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2011/03/12/expositions-and-worlds-fairs-hermon-a-macneil/

Since 1940, MacNeil's "Pony Express" has galloped westward out of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 10 day mail run to Sacramento, California. The horse was modeled on a wild mustang from North Dakota, named "Pancho Villa."

MacNeil modeled the saddle, spurs and rider's accessories after Dr. Strong's collection of authentic western gear .

The bronze “Pony Express” horse and rider galloping out of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri, since 1940, is Hermon A. MacNeil’s immortalizing of “Pancho Villa.”  The sculptor modeled the monument’s “glorious horse flesh” after an actual “outlaw” wild mustang from the North Dakota prairies, named “Pancho Villa” (after the Mexican outlaw). (See the original 1946 ‘Long Island Star – Journal” story below).

‘Pancho Villa’ put six rodeo cowboys in the hospital before he allowed Dr. S. Meredith Strong, a Flushing physician, to tame and ride him. The ‘cowboy doctor’ (as he was called) bought the animal after its last rodeo performance in Madison Square Garden, New York City.    Originally, “Pancho Villa” was captured from the North Dakota prairie where he ran with a herd of wild horses.

Spurs and saddle detail

Dr. Strong, who died in 1946 (see obituary below), was the National President of the American Rough Riders Association, a group devoted to the preservation of the wild mustangs. He traveled thousands of miles as a lover-of-horse-flesh seeking to preserve this western heritage. He and MacNeil must have had some interesting conversations.  (The newspaper photo below shows Hermon MacNeil seated on the statue).

I am grateful to James E. Haas, (author, researcher, and Hermon-MacNeil-enthusiast) for this resource find. Jim has become this website’s “official research detective” and a true benefactor of history on Hermon A. MacNeil.   Through his detective work over 150 digital sources have been given to me as webmaster. His books on College Point history can be found at his website. CLICK HERE    (http://www.jimhaasbooks.com/).

Hermon MacNeil' "Pony Express" monument is modeled on an actual wild stallion from North Dakota named "Poncho Villa." The man seated on the statue base by the sculptors signature is Hermon MacNeil himself.

In related news the National Pony Express Association will conduct its annual Re-Ride over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from California, through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas to Missouri, June 12 to 23, 2012.  Like the statue, this annual event preserves this history that Dr. Strong and Hermon MacNeil so loved.

“Giddy-up Poncho”

The "Long Island Star-Journal" published this obituary of Meredith Strong on February 4, 1946. Twenty months later, Hermon MacNeil died as well.

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The Sun Vow is certainly Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s most visible and famous sculpture. If you ever have a chance to see it, please do so. (Even our best pictures on this website cannot do justice to the detail of this sculpture or to the creativity of the artist.)

Gibson Shell, sent us some “Sun Vow” photos from his recent excursion to NYC.  These photos do provide detail and a truer sense of MacNeil’s careful presentation of these figures and the  Sun Vow ritual.

Hermon MacNeil's "Sun Vow" graces over a dozen museums including the MMA in NYC.

 

These “Sun Vow” poses are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (73″ – Rogers Fund 1919). The backgrounds have been removed to present MacNeil’s composition without distractions.

Gib is a long-time Beaux Arts photographer — an amateur in the best sense of a ‘devotee, enthusiastic pursuer of any Beaux Arts sculpture.’ Gib has been a generous friend of this website. Dozens of his photos are featured already.  Hundreds more will be seen in future posts.

MacNeil made the “Sun Vow” in Rome as his final requirement for the Roman Rinehart Scholarship. The sculpture is signed with ‘RRS’ designating that commission of the piece. His typical signature “H. A. MacNeil Sc” (Sc for Sculptor~ See Gib’s photo below).

The size of this piece (72-74 measured variously) is the same of those in major museum collections.  Several links on this website (see below and also “MUSEUMS: with MacNeil Art” section in lower right) connect to these “Sun Vows.”  Possibly a dozen of these exist, publicly and privately.

Metropolitan Museum of Art – NYC, NY
Art Institute of Chicago
Phoenix Art Museum ~ Phoenix, AZ (Sun Vow)
The Saint Louis Art Museum ~St. Louis, MO (Reliefs over porch -Sun Vow)

His typical signature "H. A. MacNeil Sc" (Sc for Sculptor). Underneath the initials "RRS" (for "Roman Rinehart Scholarship," his sponsor of study) and the Location of casting "ROME"

Numerous smaller casts (about 36″) and even miniatures authorized by MacNeil himself were cast up until the 1920s.  These also are highly desirable and found in many museums.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center – Cody WY (Sun Vow)
Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando FL
Chrysler Museum of Art – Norfolk, VA

Herman Atkins MacNeil often placed “Sc” behind his signature on sculptures (as seen above, and in other photos on his signature on this website.

According to McSpadden, an article on MacNeil in the Craftsman stated,

“In The Moqui Runner, The Primitive Chant, The Sun Vow, The Coming of the White Man, and many others of his Indian statues, MacNeil always gives you the feeling of the Indian himself, of his attitude toward his own culture of the Sun Vow that MacNeil has memorialized, are a compounded and profound statement of the power of art and artists. vanishing tribes, and his point of view toward the white race which has absorbed his country. It is never the Indian of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, trapped out for curiosity seekers, but the grave, sad, childlike man of the plains, faithful to his own tribe, once loyal to us, though now resentful; and always a thinker, a poet, and a philosopher.”  (McSpadden lists the following source: “The Art of MacNeil,” Craftsman. September 1909).

( See also: Florence Finch Kelly, “American Bronzes at the Metropolitan Museum: An Important Collection in Process of Formation.” Craftsman, 1907: Volume XI, February 1907, Number 5, pp 545-559.)

 

Dr. Andrew Walker, an associate curator at the St. Louis Art Museum,  has written a chapter in “Shaping the West.” MacNeil’s ‘Sun Vow’ was chosen for the cover photo of that publication by the Denver Art Museum.  Walker’s essay there is entitled: “Hermon Atkins MacNeil and the 1904 World’s Fair: A Monumental Program for the American West.”  Walker has written and presented extensively on MacNeil.

It is all in the faces - the ideals passed to a new generation.

While highlighting the work of Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Dr. Walker illustrates how the 1904 World’s Fair included a monumental sculpture initiative.  He does this with narrative and photo description of the major sculptures that formed the grounds, fountains, waterfalls and buildings of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis. The current St. Louis Art Museum (where Walker is a curator) was the “Palace of Fine Arts” conceived by Cass Gilbert,  architect of the fair grounds (and later the US Supreme Court Building).  Over a century later, Mac Neil’s three sculpture relief panels still look down from their vantage point above the three sets of doors at the main entrance.

The 'Sun Vow' at the MMA - NYC - with Daniel Chester French's "Angel of Death" in relief in background (See also Webmaster's <= Comment at left.

 

 

The more I study this sculpture (as other MacNeil pieces?) the more new details I find in MacNeil’s creations.

The photo at right shows MacNeil’s Sun Vow with Daniel Chester French’s “Angel of Death” in the background. French and MacNeil were colleagues and collaborators. The Angel of Death has grasped the hand of the sculptor.  See more of this DCF piece HERE.

Webmaster’s Comment: The beauty and ‘irony’ of the two sculptures together, long after the death of the two sculptors and the vanishing of the culture of the Sun Vow that MacNeil has memorialized, are a compounded and profound statement of the power of art and artists.

 

SOURCES:

  1. SHAPING THE WEST : American Sculptors of the 19th Century. With additional  essays by Alice Levi Duncan, Thayer. Tolles, Peter Hassrick, Sarah E. Boehme, and Andrew Walker.

  2. Florence Finch Kelly, “American Bronzes at the Metropolitan Museum: An Important Collection in Process of Formation.” Craftsman, 1907: Volume XI, February 1907, Number 5, pp 545-559.)


 

"The Coming of the White Man" ~ MacNeil posed Black Pipe, the Sioux Warrior in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show that he befriended after the 1893 Chicago Fair. (Antique Postcard courtesy of Gil Shell)

The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition ~ St. Louis World’s Fair, commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase.

At the 1270 acre Forest Park location and the campus of Washington University the Fair was constructed and the Olympic Games were held.

“Fifteen major exhibition Palaces radiated in fan pattern from central Festival Hall in “setting of lagoons, boulevards, gardens, fountains and sculpture” (1,200 pieces of statuary). Electric light, sign of progress then, used “lavishly” for both decoration and illumination. Featured were motor car, aeronautics and wireless telegraphy–all at their earliest, most exciting stage of development; spotlight on auto which had traveled from New York City to St. Louis, then “an unprece­dented feat and a hazardous journey.” Olympic Games held during Exposition in first concrete stadium built in U.S.”

(http://www.so-calleddollars.com/Events/Louisiana_Purchase_Exposition.html)

For the event, MacNeil exhibited three sculptures: “The Moqui Runner,” “A Primitive Chant,” “The Coming of the White Man” (pictured here from period postcard showing the Portland, Oregon setting.)

On a prominent hill of the Forest Park location, Cass Gilbert designed and build the Palace of Fine Arts.  This one permanent building remains 106 years later as the home of the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM).

It also became one of many collaborations of Gilbert and MacNeil over the next 30 year.  The most famous of these would be the last in 1932 – the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

Gilbert designed the front entrance of this Palace of Fine Arts to bear six Corinthian columns.  The four central columns frame the three MacNeil reliefs sculptures above the three entrance doors.   Inscribed on his center panel are the words “ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM “roughly meaning, “The art of all arts.”

That panel is pictured here.

"ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM" is a MacNeil creation for the 1904 St Louis Worlds Fair

 

This link below on the SLAM website also offers more detail images of all three panels and the building entrance:

Fine Arts by Macneil in Relief on the SLAM website:

The MacNeil work was a part of that “Palace of Fine Art” and his abilities in the Beaux Arts style seemed to seal his collaborative link to many projects grown from Cass Gilbert’s genius.  The inscription “ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM” translates literally from the Latin as “the Art of all Arts.”

Above the columns of the Saint Louis Art Museum are inscribed the words, “DEDICATED TO ART AND FREE TO ALL – MDCDIII.”  That Free to All spirit remains today in that admission is free through a subsidy from the ZMD.

A New York Times article offers editorial on “free art” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/22/arts/design/22admi.html?_r=1

Other works completed by MacNeil for the fair were the “Fountain of Liberty” and the massive sculpture “Physical Liberty.” The artist rendition below shows both.  “Physical Liberty” is the large Buffalo sculpture on the right.  A young woman on the other side accompanies the powerful beast.  Detail photos of the fountain are difficult to attain.  Hopefully, more to Come!

In the meanwhile, Enjoy!

 

Artists View of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition ~ Looking north from the Cascades. The Buffalo figure on the right is MacNeil's "Physical liberty." The Dolphins that stair-step down th the cascades are also MacNeil creations.

The MacNeil sculptures above the main entrance of the Saint Louis Art Museum is a fine example of the Beaux Arts style of World Fairs of this era. (Credit SLAM at http://www.slam.org/).

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