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 bas relief

Mary Lawrence was a talented sculptor.  All that is left of her work in the 1893 World’s Fair are the pictures, as depicted below.

“Christopher Columbus” by Mary Lawrence at the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, Chicago, Illinois

She became one of The White Rabbits along with Carol (Carrie) Brooks (MacNeil) and numerous other “women assistants” to Lorado Taft and other male sculptors.  They helped create “the White City” as the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair was known. The material was temporary, made of staff plaster, and modeled on wooden and medal frameworks.  The elegance of the White City inspired 

Lawrence was a pupil of Augustus Saint Gaudens at the Art Students League of New York for five years.  In that period, she proved her skills many times over. 

In the Chicago exhibition, her work with the White Rabbits was overpowered by an accomplishment central to the Court of Honor.

Saint Gaudens’ recommended that she create the theme statue of the exposition, namely, the monumental center-piece of Christopher Columbus. 1 This work was to be placed in the Court of Honor at the entrance of the Administration Building. 

Frank Millet, who served as Director of Decorations, resented that a woman “had been selected, and seemed to bear her some personal animus as well.” 2   Seeing the piece put on such a prominent place, he ordered her to move the statue to the plaza of the railroad station. Lawrence complied even though Charles F. McKim, architect for Exposition, had told to place the work at that location.  His authority to do so was second only to Daniel Burnham, the Chief Coordinating Architect.

She approached McKim a second time to tell him of the change.  He had the statue returned to the Court of Honor at the Administration Building entrance.  McKim worked with Augustus Saint Gaudens on many projects.  He was introduced to Mary Lawrence by Saint Gaudens as they collaborated in New York on early plans for the Exposition in Chicago.

Though McKim was twenty years senior to Mary Lawrence, Bruce Wilkinson describes their relationship in this way:

“Her good looks and high spirits made her popular with the young and the not so young.  Charles Follen McKim, whose second wife had died tragically after one short idyllic year, fell in love with her and remained a little so all the rest of his crowded life.”

Kim, Burnham, and especially, Lorado Taft were open to women as students and sculptors. Their show of support in the White Rabbitsdecision advanced opportunities for women for years to come. 

Janet Scudder (1869-1940) was one of Taft’s students who described her own the joy filled elation and that of her White-Rabbit-sisters in the following way:

“Janet describes working under Loredo as “That wonderful year! Filled with work, filled with accomplishment and filled with what was considered in those days a very fat salary!”[2] The salary was so large that, upon being paid, “We rushed back to our rooms at the hotel, opened the envelopes and poured out the five-dollar bills (for some reason we were paid our hundred and fifty dollars in five-dollar bills,) and carpeted the floor with them. We wanted to see what it felt like to walk on money.” [3] 3

The Joy of the “White Rabbits” changed their lives and the future of sculpture.

Women and men working on figures for the East entrance to the Horticulture Building in Taft’s section of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Chicago History Museum Images. SOURCE: [ At: https://discoverherstory.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/white-rabbits-american-women-sculptors/ on March 1, 2019.]

 

Footnotes:

  1. White City

    Most of the buildings of the fair were designed in the neoclassical architecture style. The area at the Court of Honor was known as The White City. Façades were made not of stone, but of a mixture of plaster, cement, and jute fiber called staff, which was painted white, giving the buildings their “gleam”. Architecture critics derided the structures as “decorated sheds”. The buildings were clad in white stucco, which, in comparison to the tenements of Chicago, seemed illuminated. It was also called the White City because of the extensive use of street lights, which made the boulevards and buildings usable at night.
  2. Bruce Wilkinson, Uncommon Clay: The Life and Works of Augustus Saint Gaudens. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, Orlando, Florida, 1985, p. 249
  3. Ibid.
  4. Janet Scudder: “White Rabbits: American Women Sculptors”. [ At: https://discoverherstory.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/white-rabbits-american-women-sculptors/ on March 1, 2019.]

 

BLACK PIPE in 14 stories  

 A never before seen or documented bronze piece from Hermon MacNeil’s earliest years as a sculptor has surfaced through a recent email message. The surprise came the other day to the website as a one line description and a surprising question.

“Black Pipe the Sioux” a small 6″ high, bas relief with the initials H M. 94.  
Can you tell me more about Black Pipe?”

Carol Miles

The request came from Massachusetts not far from where Hermon MacNeil was born and grew up in Chelsea (Everett, Malden). It included this photo:    

Thus began an email correspondence with Carol Miles that linked Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) with Henry Turner Bailey (1865-1931).

Link #1: Henry Turner Bailey — Both Bailey and MacNeil graduated of Massachusetts Normal Art School. They were classmates for at least three years until MacNeil graduated in 1886 followed by Bailey in 1887. Both began studies there in their late teen years.

According to Carol: “Henry became the first Supervisor of Drawing for the State of Massachusetts, and later Dean of the Cleveland School of Art. Henry’s papers are housed at the Univ. of Oregon Archives, Eugene. There is correspondence between the two men there.”

Link #2: Black Pipe sculpture –This bas relief of Black Pipe was acquired by Henry Turner Bailey, the grandfather of the current owner. It has been handed down through the family ever since.

I have found no previous mention or photo of this piece. I have seen another photo of a different sculpture of Black Pipe by MacNeil in the Smithsonian Institute collections online

MacNeil’s bronze of Black Pipe, a Sioux warrior he befriended in 1893 (source Smithsonian Archives)

 

 

( http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=MacNeil&start=20 ).

The story of Black Pipe is told in dozens of stories on this site.  A search brings up 14 posts that can be viewed at this link.  Only six stories appear on each page. Be sure to view all three pages. 

BLACK PIPE link — BLACK PIPE in 14 STORIES

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/?s=Black+Pipe

:::::

The Smithsonian Collestions data base offers the following info on the photo of Black Pipe.   See:  [ http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=MacNeil&start=20 ]

The Soiux Brave Blackpipe [sculpture] / (photographed by A. B. Bogart) digital asset number 1
ARTIST:
MacNeil, Hermon Atkins 1866-1947
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Bogart, A. B.
TYPE:
Photograph
NOTES:
On photo mount label: H. A. MacNeil. Blackpipe the Soiux. Bogart. Classification number: 282. Accession: 4747[cropped].
TOPIC:
Ethnic–Sioux
Figure male–Head
IMAGE NUMBER:
SSC S0001642
SEE MORE ITEMS IN:
Photograph Archives
DATA SOURCE:
Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum 

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