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 Bust

July 21, 2011. The restored bust on display at the Spurlock Museum at University of Illinois. After a thorough cleaning and patina restoration, MacNeil’s Lincoln bust went on public display for one year in the Spurlock Museum. This was the first showing of the piece in full circle — 360 degree visibility.

     MacNeil’s Abe Lincoln (above) was cleaned and the patina restored in 2011 when Lincoln Hall was reconstructed for its 100th Anniversary.  

     After six years back in his old niche in the east foyer entrance of beautiful Lincoln Hall, I was curious about how much wear Lincoln’s “lucky nose” had sustained from student caresses on their way to exams and classes.

     So, while traveling to visit family in Kentucky, Virginia, and NC in July 2017, we made opportunity to spend the night in Urbana, Illinois. We turned very appropriately onto “Lincoln Street” off of I-74 and found a motel for the night.  

The next morning (Monday, July 31st) we ventured off toward the restored Lincoln Hall on the University of Illinois campus.  Wiggling through blocks of summer street construction into Wright Street, we parked and walked toward the Main Quad.

Larado Taft’s Alma Mater

Lorado Taft’s powerful allegorical grouping “Alma Mater” (with Learning and Labor) at the corner of Eighth and Wright Street greeted us.  (Taft was the alumnus who recommended MacNeil’s bust of Lincoln over other artists considered for placement in the Hall in 1924.) For More on Taft click HERE

We met an alumnae who had dropped her son off for summer workshops.  She asked us to take her picture with the Alma Mater behind her.  Turned out she was originally from Beresford, SD and planned to retire in the Black Hills. Small world.

Abe Lincoln’s nose has a well worn shine again. The patina restoration in 2011 has given way to the”petting” and “well wishes of 100’s of hands” seeking blessings from Old Honest Abe.

We walked into the old quadrangle at the  center of campus.  Walking the brick walks of the lush green lawn. we arrived at the east entrance of Lincoln Hall. We stopped to admire the terra-cotta bas-relief panels placed above the high windows of the building. They depict scenes from the life of the prairie lawyer memorialized in this beautiful hall.

The restored East Foyer of Lincoln Hall with its gilded vaulted ceiling and columns makes a dramatic setting for Hermon A. MacNeil’s bust of Abraham Lincoln as the famed prairie lawyer who left Illinois to lead the nation through the War to preserve the Union and the succession South states.

Entering the East Foyer, we could see the Lincoln bust before us.  The magnificent Beaux Arts style of the ceiling formed a vaulted arch spanning above the wings of the white marble stairs and landing.  This splendidly restored foyer dominated the life-size bust of our sixteenth President centered on the landing in its gold-leafed niche.

The tradition of touching Lincoln’s nose for “good luck” has passed on to another generation of Illini students since the restoration.

Even from the doorway a “bronze glow” could be glimpsed on Abe Lincoln’s nose.  He was wearing his well-worn shine again. As predicted, the brown patina of the 2011 restoration had given way to the”petting” and “well wishes of 100’s of hands” seeking blessings from Old Honest Abe.  The tradition has carried on to Lincoln Hall’s second century.

The bronze relief plaque containing the words of the Address at Gettysburg was on our right.  The gold gilding of the column capitals and the rosettes in the vaulted arch of the ceiling, gave an inspiring elegance to this hall of remembrance.

In the elegance of this hallowed hall, Abe’s “accessible nose” adds a tactile legacy and fitting tribute to learning in the “Land of Lincoln.

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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.

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Page 18 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

Another art work of Hermon A. MacNeil has emerged through the kindnesses of the Orr family and the attraction of this website  —  namely, a beautiful portrait bust of Hermon MacNeil’s physician, Dr. Francis G. Reilly.

Pat Orr send the information about his MacNeil painting of “Dave Blue” as presented in my previous posting.  He was also kind enough to ask his brother, Tim Orr, to send some photos of another Hermon MacNeil creation that has been in their family (for almost) five generations.  

Pat sent the following request to Tim:

Profile view of plaster bust of Dr. F. G. Reilly created by Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

Profile view of plaster bust of Dr. F. G. Reilly created by Hermon Atkins MacNeil. (photo courtesy and permission of Tim Orr)

Dan has a website dedicated to the life and works of his uncle H.A. MacNeil.  I have the oil painting of Dave Blue Who Lived Under the Ground and you have the bronze bust of Daddy Boy (Grandma’s father, Dr. Francis Reilly). Could you email him some pics.  See his directions below.  He wants to add the discoveries of his uncle’s work to his website and possibly a book as well.

Tim sent several photos of the bust of “Daddy Boy,” as the family has called their heirloom piece. Enhanced profile and frontal views are posted here.

Pat also included some tidbits of family history he gathered in his “MacNeil detective work:’

Bust of F.G. Reilly, MD, FACS was the physician for Hermon A. MacNeil. This bust was a gift to Dr. Reilly by the artist.

Bust of F.G. Reilly, MD, FACS was the physician for Hermon A. MacNeil. This bust was a gift to Dr. Reilly by the artist.

 I have a few more details of interesting information for you.  I spoke with my mother and she said H A MacNeil was a neighbor of my great grandparents in the Catskills. They had a summer house there, and he had one down the road. Apparently, my great grandfather was his doctor. In fact, H A did a bronze bust of my great grandfather which my brother has now at his house.  …

In terms of the home in upstate New York called “Bittersweet” I don’t know what happened to that.  I imagine it was sold at some point along the way.  That was way before my time.  I was born in Washington, D.C. in 1970.

Did you ever meet your uncle, or you just know him by way of photographs?

Tim provided additional interesting family details not mentioned before:

As I understand the story, the bust was compensation to my GG (sic: great-grandfather) for medical services rendered…but that could just be a story. The medallion was either a gift or he may have purchased it, or could have been compensation also.  As an aside, the vacation home in Liberty NY is now under water, a part of a reservoir network in that area I believe.

Tim Orr sent this photo of a SOM#3 medallion at the base o the bust.

Tim Orr sent this photo of a SOM#3 medallion at the base o the bust.

The idea of “compensation” (barter) makes sense in that era and in Hermon MacNeil’s history of doing that with Inn-keepers in his early years of travel in Italy and Paris . 

Thanks to Pat and Tim Orr for sharing heir family history and treasures.  They give us insight into Hermon A. MacNeil and their own family

 

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas board signed "H.A. MacNeil SC" in two places.

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas board signed
“H.A. MacNeil SC” in two places.

WHO IS DAVE BLUE ?

Another mystery oil painting entitled “Dave Blue,” has surfaced through an inquiry on this website.  The work is signed, “H. A. MacNeil SC” in two places.

Patrick Orr wrote from Connecticut,

“IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I HAVE A PAINTING BY H.A. MACNEIL?”

Patrick included several photos from which the detail at your right enlargement below were taken.

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas board signed  "H.A. MacNeil SC" in two places.

Dave Blue. An oil painting on canvas.

In our ongoing correspondence,  I explained  to Patrick the following:

A. MacNeil often placed the letters “SC” after his signature on works meaning “Sculptor.”  This was his standard manner of signing his works. Interesting that he did so to an oil painting as well.  See numerous examples on the masthead photos on my website.

B. MacNeil is known to have painted oils. Mostly for fun or gifts.  My mother had an oil painting as a wedding gift that he gave her in 1929.

C. You have a unique and interesting piece. Just on the basis of looking at the pictures, I would say there is little reason to doubt that this piece is what it claims to be.

D. I doubt that a forger would bother to make a fake “MacNeil” oil painting.

E. Hermon would sketch when he went places or saw interesting people. He had an artists eye.

I asked Patrick where he got the work:

“The painting belonged to my grandparents, and when they died I asked my uncle if I could have it. I always liked it. I have no idea how they acquired it.”

“My grandparents and their grandparents are from the lower west side of Manhattan.  In the 1970s my grandparents moved to CT.  I don’t remember any stories unfortunately, but I will ask my mother.  They definitely treasured it.  Everybody always commented on it.”

“Who was Dave Blue?  Did he live in a cave?  Was he blind?  Was he a freed slave or son of slaves?  A mystery and so very intriguing.”

SO, Pat Orr agreed that I could post his “MacNeil Mystery” on my website. The next day another email arrived from Patrick:

“I have some interesting information for you. I spoke with my mother and she said H A MacNeil was a neighbor of my great grandparents in the Catskills. They had a summer house there, and he had one down the road. Apparently, my great grandfather was his doctor. In fact, H A did a bronze bust of my great grandfather which my brother has now at his house. The painting I have was a gift he gave to them.

… Unfortunately, my mom doesn’t know about the history or background of the painting itself. She doesn’t know when or where it was done.”

That fits in with the sticker on the back of the canvas being from a New York art supplier. I can imagine him picking up the canvas in New York, and then taking it with him on his travels and using it to do the study of the old black man.”

SO, the intriging “MacNeil Mystery” remains:

“Dave Blue who lived under the ground.”

  1. Who was Dave Blue?  

  2. Did he live in the ground?  

  3. Was he blind?  

  4. Was he a freed slave or son of slaves? 

Maybe we will get responses from other painting owners.

Maybe “Mr. Blue” has some relatives out there.

THANKS PAT, for making us curious.

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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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