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 Portland

The MacNeil sculpture entitled “The Coming of the White Man” that sits atop the hill in Portland’s Washington Park was part of a larger celebration.

The Lewis and Clark Cennentenial Exposition of 1904 was Portland’s version of a “White City” — (Deja Vu Chicago’s Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1893!  That Worlds Fair marked the 400th Anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus in his discovery of the American continent.)

While the 1893 Fair focused the world’s spotlight on Chicago, this commemoration 1904-5 brought Portland and the West into the eyes of the young nation.  

Webmaster Dan Leininger admires MacNeil’s Lewis & Clark Centennial sculpture in its wooded setting. The beauty of this piece is seen in the detail and emotion that is captured in the bronze.

Only three statues remain from the Portland exposition.  All these surviving sculptures commemorate the 1804 Expedition from the Native American perspective. While MacNeil’s piece may be the most prominent, another noble native stands majestically nearby. 

Down the hill to the east and south on a large rock out cropping, rests Alice Cooper’s rendition of “Sacajawea.”  Her powerful, yet gentle, sculpture tells another tale of a heroic Native American. The native woman of this dramatic bronze raises her arm above the horizon pointing to the west as does the large mounting stone base.  Clad in flowing leather skirts, she bears her infant son (Jean Baptiste) swaddled to her back.  

On the base of the piece is the sculptor’s name: “Alice Cooper, Sc. 1905 Copyright”. On the opposite side the casting mark: “Henry Bonnard Bronze Founders, N.Y. 1905”

On the east side of the mounting stone a bronze plaque states the following story of this monumental piece: 

ERECTED

BY THE WOMEN OF THE UNITED STATES

IN MEMORY OF SACAJAWEA

THE ONLY WOMAN

IN THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION

AND IN HONOR OF

THE PIONEER WOMEN OF OLD OREGON.

 

She carries her young and points the way.

 

According to a Wikipedia reference

The sculpture was commissioned for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905) by the Committee of Portland Women, who requested a sculpture of “the only woman in the Lewis and Clark Expedition and in honor of the pioneer mother of old Oregon.”[1] Funding sources included the Port of Portland and Women for Lewis and Clark Exposition, which was supported by women across the Western United States.[1] The sculpture was unveiled on July 6, 1905 and originally stood in the center of the exposition’s plaza.[2] Suffragists present at the dedication included Susan B. Anthony, Abigail Scott Duniway and Anna Howard Shaw.[1] The statue was relocated to Washington Park on April 6, 1906, upon the fair’s completion.[2] According to the Regional Arts & Culture Council, which administers the sculpture, Cooper was the first female artist to be represented in Portland’s public sculpture collection.[1]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacajawea_and_Jean-Baptiste

COMMENTS:  Much of the Portland Fair celebrated American Progress in very masculine terms of discovery and expansion. In contrast the two statues by MacNeil and Cooper gave recognition to the perspective of the Native Cultures already existing in the Northwest.  

Alice Cooper was a contemporary of Hermon MacNeil.  Both were trained in the Beau Arts style of allegorical interpretation. She studied with Lorado Taft at the Chicago Art Institute where MacNeil met and married Carol Brooks, an earlier student of Taft. Cooper also studied in New York City at the Art Students League in MacNeil’s first year of teaching there, around 1900-1902.  Their two careers had many overlapping places and periods

These two statues have remained as lessons in bronze on the history and expansion of America.  Intriguingly, they tell their story more from the perspective of First Nation people.  They are rich in the allegorical symbolism of the Beau Arts training from which these sculptors imagined and fashioned their tactical creative work.

We can be thankful for the empowering benefactors of the David Thompson Family and the Women of America and Oregon in particular.  Without their vision and determination these pieces would not grace the Washington Park of Portland or the pages of www.HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com 

For more story, stay tuned for PART THREE or visit the link below and the related postings listed for www.HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com 

The Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition: Portland’s “World’s Fair”

Comments (0)

May 8th I will be able to complete a “bucket list” check-off by visiting the “Coming of the White Man”.

This photo shows the upper base of the statue as part of the casting itself with the name sculpted into the base. This sits on the boulder that MacNeil crafted for the setting from Columbia River granite.

Post Card of 1905 Statue before the oak branch was broken. MacNeil selected the stone for the base and supervised its delivery from the quarry to the hill where it was hauled up by a four horse team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to take my own photos of the Statue in its Washington Park setting.  I have told MacNeil’s stories of this piece, but have never had the pleasure of seeing it myself and spending time there. 

Other posts related to the “The Coming of the White Man”  [Click HERE]

More to come after May 8th.

 

“The Coming of the White Man in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon. This photo shows the legs of the Indian on the left which Jo Davidson painfully modeled in plaster casts. The title is sculpted into the base. The whole group sits on a boulder that MacNeil crafted for the setting from a granite quarry up the Columbia River granite. The granite came to the Park by barge. Then, a team of horses brought it up the hillside, all under MacNeil’s direction and supervision

Jo Davidson continues the narrative of his adventures working in the  Studio of Hermon MacNeil:

Besides being a gardener, a sculptor’s assistant and an errand boy, I also became a model. Henri Crenier had noticed my legs one day while we were swimming and insisted they were just right for the young Indian in ‘The Coming of the White Man.’ MacNeil thought he could save time by making a plaster cast of my legs.

So Gregory and Crenier volunteered to do the job, claiming to be experts in casting from life. I was innocent and did not realize what I was up against. I was rather hairy, and they rather haphazardly rubbed the oil over my legs. That done, they covered my legs with plaster, and as the plaster set, the string that was to separate the two halves of the mold broke. Their fun increased as my temper rose, but I was in plaster up to my loins and was helpless. After setting the plaster became very hot and disagreeable. Mr. Gregory and Mr. Crenier chopped gleefully away, separating the two parts. Having completed that part of the job to their satisfaction, they proceeded to take the mold off my legs. The pain was excruciating, for the hair got mixed up with the plaster and as they pulled the mold off of me my hair went with it. I screamed and swore at them, but my anger only made them laugh louder. They finally got the mold off, leaving my legs like two boiled lobsters. The cast turned out to be a very hairy one. I saw those legs many years later in MacNeil’s studio, and I swear they were hairier than ever!

Henri Crenier took a special delight in teasing me. I liked him and took it good-naturedly. But one day I lost my temper and we came to blows. I knocked him down and relieved my feelings by giving him a healthy pummeling. I was so busy that I did not hear MacNeil come into the studio. Suddenly I heard him say: “ Jo, when you get through, will you mix me a little plaster.”

The summer passed quickly. Those were rich and full days. I was sure of my vocation. I was going to be a sculptor.”

Jo Davidson

Thus in his own words, Jo Davidson recounts becoming the unwitting model for the legs of this younger Indian. 

Jo Davidson sculpting a young Frank Sinatra. (1946) – http://www.highlands-gallery.com/jo-davidson

The plaster casts were made on his very hairy legs.  It proved a painful adventure for the naive teen.  Humored by the absurd scene, the “experienced” sculptors laughed at his embarrassment and discomfort as they removed the plaster casts with his leg hair embedded.

Despite the teasing, Jo Davidson went on to study sculpture, develop his talents, and find his unique place as a sculptor doing what he loved.

Hermon MacNeil’s “Chief of the Multnomah” was cast in full size and half size versions.  This one was Discovered by a reader of this website several years ago in Vernon, New Jersey.  Here was a brief note that was sent to the website:

Another Chief of the Mulnomah

Another Chief of the Multnomah

I’ve been noticing a magnificent piece of the scultpture for the past few years, located in Vernon N.J. at the Minerals Spa and Resort. After closer examination I discovered it is Chief Multnomah with his arms crossed, standing on tip toes looking outward. “The coming of the white man” is the title usually ascribed to this work, but in this case the chief stands alone without his scout or assistant as pictured on your web-site. It is signed simply, H.A. Macneil S.C. 04. Just thought it was a variation of the piece that you might find interesting.I’m not really sure how long its been there, because I’m relatively new to the area. Being a sculptor myself and one that is particularly fond on the late 19th cent/early 20th cent period, with the likes of Rodin, Bayre, Dega, etc. Macneil certainly is a strong and salutory member of that period. Regards, D. Moldoff.

My response was as follows:

Dear D. L. Moldoff,

Thanks for noticing sculpture around you and sharing the information.  The ‘Chief Multnomah’ is the larger Half of H. A. MacNeil’s “The Coming of the White Man.” (COTWM). While the COTWM piece is only at the Washington Park in Portland, OR, where it was commissioned for that city.  The original plaster sculpture model is in the Poppenhusen Institute in Queens, NYC, just blocks from MacNeil’s studio.

(Click HERE ) for link to my archives of seven post on Chief of the Mulnomah.)

There are multiple castings of this single piece, the “Chief Multnomah”, possibly over 20 in total. I believe there are at lease two groupings of 12 casts and 9 casts of this statue. I have found information and location on three other ‘Multnomah’s. Plus there are many smaller (half-scale) casts of this sculpture.

Thanks again.

Dan Leininger

These are the related entries for this story. For MORE see these previous posts:

  1. Hermon MacNeil ~ Postcard ~ 2012 MacNeil Month #1 ~ “Coming of the White Man” (9)
  2. Poppenhusen Institute makes MacNeil Collection Appeal! (8)
  3. Portland – Coming of the White Man (7)
  4. “Chief of the Multnomah” ~ DO WE HAVE ONE? ~ ??????? (7)
photo 1

Dan Leininger holds the “Galley” for Summer 2014 with MacNeil’s “Pony Express” statue on the cover and an 8 page feature story inside.

“Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil”

The current issue of the Clan MacNeil Association of America magazine has a feature story on Hermon Atkins MacNeil by webmaster, Dan Leininger

The Galley edited by Vicki Sanders Corporon titles Dan’s story as “Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil.” The feature and photos fill 8 pages in the “Galley” issue for Spring/Summer 2014.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.  Page 19 of the “Galley” (This Photo from Cornell University is Courtesy of Chris Carlsen).

 

 

Page 20 of  “Galley” for Summer 2014

Page 20 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

The featured photos include the East Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (with a detail close-up of Moses, Confucius, and Salon); The George Rogers Clark monument in Vincennes, IN at the site of his victory over the British in 1779; Confederate Defenders of Charleston, SC; the Young Lawyer Abraham Lincoln in Champaign, IL; General George Washington on the Washington Arch, NYC, NY. Also in this article are photos of the grouping Coming of the White Man in Portland, OR; The WWI Angel of Peace Monument in Flushing NY; and a bust of Dwight L. Moody (who MacNeil sketched during the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.

photo 2

Page 18 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

February is “MacNeil Month at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com

Feb 27th, 2012 is the 146th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth.

Hermon MacNeil’s “Coming of the White Man” sculpture in Portland, OR, appears to be the most popular postcard of all his statues.

"Coming of the White Man" (Postcard credit: Gibson Shell, KC MO)

Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Coming of the White Man” in Portland Oregon has an interesting story of the  boulder-like stone that forms its base.  This postcard image from Gib Shell shows the enormous granite stone on which MacNeil placed the statue.

The story, as I read it from a newspaper interview from about 1905, went like this.  MacNeil was very particular about how his sculptures were mounted. Many of them were placed on bases that he made as a special part of the piece.  The Marquette-Jolliet-Illini grouping in Chicago, the “Confederate Defenders” statue in Charleston each have stone bases with carvings, words, and art details that compliment the piece.

MacNeil wanted a stone base that fit into the wooded setting of Washington Park (Plaza Park) in Portland,Oregon.  The site for the statue, I am told, overlooks the Columbia River to the East.  The Native American pair [a Chief of the Multnomah, and the Medicine Man (scout)] look into the river valley and spy the first White explorers coming to their region.  MacNeil portrays the Chief as tall, proud, and serene, while the Medicine Man is aroused, eager, and excited.  [See: ” If MacNeil’s “Chiefs” Could Speak, What would They tell us Today? ].   

MacNeil considered the cost of shipping a stone from New York.  He decided it would cost too much.  But he knew what he wanted in a stone.  So he made a plaster model (that is what sculptors do).  The model was 1/3 the size of the stone that he wanted.  Then he shipped it with the statue to Portland.  He sent instructions that a stone be found sufficient for a base. 

When the statue arrived in Portland, Hermon came and found that no one had looked for a stone as he requested.  So he took his 1/3 plaster model, put it in a boat and traveled up the Columbia River to a granite quarry about 20 miles up river.  Leaving his plaster model in the boat, he went to the quarry and found a piece of granite sufficient to shape for a natural looking base.   Finding a suitable stone, he had it transported to a barge and them brought up the river.  At the foot of the hill where the statue was to be placed, it took a four horse team to pull the stone up the hill (this was 1904 remember).

MacNeil must have sculpted the base on site.  It bears the name of the statue and the information on the donor.  When looking at a sculpture I seldom take time to consider the base, pedestal, or the setting in which the sculptor, artist, architect may have placed it. I hope MacNeil’s story adds to your curiosity and appreciation of his work.

This photo shows the upper base of the statue as part of the casting itself with the name sculpted into the base. This sits on the boulder that MacNeil crafted for the setting from Columbis River granite. (Postcard courtesy of Gibson Shell, KC MO)


 

 

WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

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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.
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