WELCOME to the “Hermon A. MacNeil” — Virtual Gallery & Museum !

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil,  of the Beaux Arts School American classic sculptor of Native images and American history.  ~ World’s Fairs, statues, monuments, coins, and more… ~ Hot-links ( lower right) lead to works by Hermon A. MacNeil.   ~ Over 200 of stories & 2,000 photos form this virtual MacNeil Gallery stretching east to west  New York to New Mexico ~ Oregon to S. Carolina.   ~ 2021 marks the 155th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth. ~~Do you WALK or DRIVE by MacNeil sculptures DAILY!   ~~ CHECK it OUT!

DO YOU walk by MacNeil Statues and NOT KNOW IT ???

Archive for Portland

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)


 

 

The Poppenhusen Institute (just blocks from the site of MacNeil’s Studio and home) in College Point, Queens, NYC has made an urgent Appeal for $3000.  The money will secure the shipment and handling of several MacNeil Statues being donated to the Institute.

The Poppenhusen Institute houses this plaster model of “A Chief of the Multnomah” donated in 1920 by MacNeil. It represents half of the “Coming of the White Man” grouping comissioned in 1904 for the City of Portland, Oregon by the family of David P. Thompson. (photo courtesy of Bob Walker, College Point)

An Appeal

The Landmark Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens has been presented with the opportunity to obtain a number of statues by Hermon Atkins Mac Neil. We are anxious to accept this offer since Mac Neil was the head of the art department at the Institute for many years and also served as its president. He also lived in this community of more than 40 years.

The cost of packing, and transporting these sculptures is $3,000. Won’t you consider contributing to this cause. You can learn more about the Institute, visit our website at www.poppenhuseninstitute.org.

We are a tax exempt (501C3), therefore all donations are tax deductible according to the N.Y.S. Tax Deduction Law.

Checks can be sent to: Poppenhusen Institute, P.O. Box 91, College Point, NY 11356

Thank you for your anticipated support.

Susan Brustmann

Bob Walker (illustrator, sculptor, and long time College Point resident), has informed us just yesterday of these needs and developments.  He also sent the wonderful detail photo of “The Coming of the White Man” shown above. This plaster model is MacNeil’s original sculpture from which the Portland bronze grouping was cast by Bureau Brothers foundry of Los Angeles.  This original work is on display in the auditorium of the Institute. Bob has also told us that:

These plaster works will be joined by other pieces by MacNeil being donated to become in the future, a substantial MacNeil collection to be exhibited at Poppenhusen.

The Poppenhusen Institute built in 1868 by Conrad Poppenhusen was established to be a learning institute open to all people providing the opportunity to improve their lives by offering adult education and the first free kindergarten in the USA in 1870. It continues to serve the community by offering Theater groups, Music and Art programs, Lectures, Historic exhibits and creative workshops for children.

Susan Brustmann and her dedicated staff have done an amazing job of keeping the Institute together with creativity and hard work.

This request for funds is a first step in expanding the MacNeil Collection of the Institute.  Thanks to the Poppenhusen Institute, its donors, and the people of College Point, Queens, the MacNeil Collection there can be expanded.

MacNeil Park was dedicated by Mayor Lindsey in 1967. That act permanently placed the name of Hermon A. MacNeil” in the community he and Carol loved, and where their home and studio stood for 50 years.

Bob Walker has lived in College Point for 46 years just a few blocks from the site of the MacNeil studio and home. Bob also gives us the ultimate web-surfer compliment, “I have really enjoyed your website as I am a fan of MacNeil’s work and I’m grateful to find a site dedicated to his sculpture.” (Thanks Bob for your ongoing contribution here as well. – webmaster Dan)

PLEASE HELP these MacNeil sculptures to come home to College Point. Send your check today to: Poppenhusen Institute, P.O. Box 91, College Point, NY 11356

Hermon served as president of the Poppenhusen Institute board and donated the his original plaster model. Click in this link for a stunning photo and the Poppenhusen story — “The Coming of the White Man” .

A previous post here tells the whole story.  CLICK HERE.

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Another "The Coming of the White Man" postcard actually mailed over a century ago, "From Chas. Aug. 24, 1907." (Antique Postcard courtesy of Gil Shell of KC, MO)

This month’s MacNeil postcard again features the “Coming of the White Man” statue in Portland, Oregon. This b&w p hoto  postcard shows the statue as it looked in its first year, 1906.  The postcard (which was actually mailed for 1 cent in 1907 – ‘from Chas’) is now owned by Gib Shell.  Note the fresh landscaping around the base of the statue.  Also the complete oak branch in the hand of the young scout  (before it was broken off – see below).  

The branch in the scout's hand has been broken for some time.

A recent estate auction featured a “Chief of the Multnomah” which is the right-hand half of this pair.

“Everything Must Go” was a feature story in the “Queens Chronicle” by Elizabeth Daley, editor (March 11, 2011).  Michael Halberian lived in the former Steinway Family Mansion.  It is uncertain whether the MacNeil sculpture was a Steinway heirloom that sold with the mansion or whether Mike discovered it in his appraisal work.


The late Michael Halberian poses on his estate with his prized possession, an Indian statue by Hermon Atkins MacNeil. (Photo by Elizabeth Daley, Queens Chronicle)

This Queens blogger suggests that the Steinway mansion was something of a museum – free to the public for much of its lifetime: http://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2011/03/steinway-mansion-artifacts-to-be.html

The original plaster sculpture from which this bronze is cast now stands in the Poppenhusen Institute in Queens, NYC just several blocks from MacNeil Park near MacNeil’s home and studio on College Point.  Hermon served as president of the institute board and donated the original plaster model to them. A previous post here tells the whole story.  CLICK HERE

A miniature of the "Chief of the Multnomah" behind glass at the MMA in NYC.

The figure on the right with crossed arms was also cast singlely and entitled “The Chief of the Multnomah.” It was later cast in miniatures also. ~

It is possible that MacNeil patterned this statue after Blackpipe, a Sioux Warrior in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show that he befriended after the 1893 Chicago Fair.   Blackpipe worked off and on at MacNeil’s studio during 1894.  Thirty years later, J. W. McSpaden conversed with MacNeil about how he developed an interest in Indian subjects:

"Blackpipe" - photo of a sculpture in the Smithsonian Institute archieves for H. A. MacNeil.

 

MACNEIL: “Yes, and you may find it an interesting yarn. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show had been in Chicago during the Fair, and one of his braves was Black Pipe, a Sioux, a fine-looking fellow. He had stayed behind, and one day I met him on the streets, looking hungry and cold, and asked him if he wanted something to do. He did there was no doubt about that. I took him into the studio, fed him up, and then set to work modeling his head. I finished it in four hours, for I was not sure that I would ever see my Indian again; but he stayed with me in all for a year and a half, helping me with odd jobs about the studio. That’s his head there.”

It was a life-size bronze, which he indicated, not done in full relief but resting on a plaque a strong piece of portraiture.

MCSPADDEN: “In this and your later work with Indians,” I inquired, “did you have any trouble about making their likenesses? Some of them object to being photographed.”

MACNEIL: “Yes, many of the older Indians object; they think it takes the spirit out of them. But Black Pipe had been among white folks long enough to know better, and with others I managed to get around their superstitions. Black Pipe, by the way, posed for ‘The [312] Primitive Chant 5 which is one of my best-known Indian subjects.”

This is the spirited figure of a naked savage dancing to the music of his own flute. It has been widely copied in art prints.

Source: Joseph Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America, (New York:Dod, Mead and Company, 1924) pp. 311-12

The Smithsonian archives contain a photo of “Blackpipe” in their MacNeil collection of papers and photos. (No other images or location of this sculpture is known to this author). McSpadden’s description, “It was a life-size bronze, which he indicated, not done in full relief but resting on a plaque a strong piece of portraiture” suggests a permanent piece of art.  It’s lineage after 1922 and present whereabouts (even existence) remain a mystery to this author.

 

 

"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)

For our

Second MacNeil Postcard

we have selected  a re-run of this very old

color rendered photograph of the

“Coming of the White Man.”

Photo file courtesy of Gil Shell

This monument in Portland has a twin on the east coast in NYC that is in the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens, NYC.

This second statue is just down the street from Hermon A. MacNeil Park and the site of his old home and studio in Queens.  The sculpture was donated by Mr. MacNeil to this Cultural Center in his community.  It occupies an honored place in the stage-right corner of the auditorium.

See that twin photo here


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In 1924, Joseph Walker McSpadden interviewed Hermon A. MacNeil at his College Point studio on the north shore of Long Island (now Queens).  He published lengthy exerts of that visit in his book, Famous Sculptors of American . We have recently acquired a discarded copy of the work and will be offering exerts from it in months to come.

"Sun Vow" facial details illustrate McSpadden's comments in these faces. (Art Institute of Chicago)


"Moqui Runner" facial details

In his volume, McSpadden suggested that MacNeil interpreted Native Americans “with a sympathy and insight particularly his own.” He conversed with MacNeil about his witnessing of the Snake dance and other ceremonies of southwest tribal life in 1895.

He takes a lengthy quote from a September 1909 article (“The Art of MacNeil”) in an art periodical called the Craftsman as saying:

“In ‘Moqui Runner,’ ‘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 of his own vanishing tribes, and his point of view toward the white race which has absorbed his country. it was never the Indian of the 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.”

“Moqui Runner” facial and torso detail

 

 


"Coming of the White Man" captures proud gaze of the Mulnomah chief.

McSpadden’s work provides a valuable piece of history, namely MacNeil’s own comments on his life, thoughts, and sculptures.

We have just discovered that MacNeil’s “Coming of the White Man” on the west coast has a twin on the east coast. This recent finding was made while researching the website of the Poppenhusen Institute of Queens, Long Island, New York.  The institute is located just blocks from the site of Hermon A. MacNeil’s home and studio in College Point.

"Coming of the White Man" in Washington Park, Portland Oregon was made on 1904 and has an indoor twin sculpture in the Poppenhusen Institute in New York.

Nestled in the trees of Portland Oregon’s Washington Park, the artwork pictured here steps out of the 19th Century time machine. Its location keeps it off the track of tourists except for adventurous hikers on a bit of a treasure hunt? (Go to 25th and Burnside and climb all the stairs!)

Likewise, the New York twin is also secluded but indoors rather than outdoors.  Inside the auditorium (ballroom) of the Poppenhusen Institute is a  second “Coming of the White Man” . Apparently, this holding was a gift by the artist to his neighborhood Cultural and Art center.  The Institute was a gift of Conrad Poppenhusen to the community that he founded and developed that eventually became College Point.  MacNeil and other artists lived there to be near the Roman Bronze Works, a prominent art foundry of that period.

The Institute’s website states:


Popenhusen Institute in more recent years remains a historic site and Community Cultural Center for Flushing, NY.

“This sculpture, of Tachoma’s first view of the white man, was a gift to the institute by Hermon A MacNeil. The park at 115th Street on the East River is named after him as this was where is studio once stood.”

Click HERE for a brief virtual tour of this statue at Poppenhusen Institute.

Click HERE for a facebook link to this statue at Poppenhusen Institute.

The Portland statue was a gift of the family of David P. Thompson after his death. His biography on Wikipedia states in part:

“David Preston Thompson (1834-1901) was an American businessman and politician in the Pacific Northwest. He was governor of the Idaho Territory from 1875 to 1876. A native of Ohio, he immigrated to the Oregon Territory in 1853. In Oregon, Thompson would become a wealthy business man, and served in the Oregon Legislative Assembly both before and after his time in Idaho, with election to both chambers of the legislature.”

Web links: – Poppenhusen Institute – Virtual Tour (16 sec)  MacNeil\’s \’Coming of the White Man\’ at Poppenhusen Institute

“The Poppenhusen Institute was built in 1868 with funds donated by Conrad Poppenhusen, the benefactor of College Point. The original charter specified that it be open to all, irrespective of race, creed or religion, giving people the opportunity to improve their lives either by preparing them for better job or improving their leisure time.” (see website at above link)

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WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Here is ONE place to go to see sculpture of Hermon A. MacNeil & his students. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and private, these creations point us toward the history and values that root Americans.

Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
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WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the work from all angles, including setting.
2. Take close up photos of details that you like
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of you & others beside the work.
5. Tell your story of adventure. It adds personal interest.
6. Send photos to ~ Webmaster at: HAMacNeil@gmail.com