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

Since 2010 this website has transported viewers through the years and miles between 100’s of Hermon MacNeil’s statues & monuments throughout the USA.

For over one hundred years these sculptures have graced our parks, boulevards, and parkways; buildings, memorials, and gardens; campuses, capitols, and civic centers; museums, coinage, and private collections.

PERHAPS,  you walk or drive by one of his public sculptures daily. HERE, you can gain awareness of this great sculptor and his many works.  Maybe there are some near you! CHECK HERE!

Archive for Monuments

Hermon MacNeil met Hamlin Garland in Chicago.

Hermon MacNeil

New York Public Library - Digital Gallery (655 x 760)

H. A. Mac Neil

Hermon MacNeil came to Chicago in 1891. Preliminary work was beginning on the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 (Chicago Worlds Fair)He brought with him a Letter of Introduction to Phillip Martiny, a gift from Augustus Saint Gaudens of New York City. 

“Martiny was one of the large team of decorative sculptors assembled to carry out details for the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, where he settled for a year to carry out the clay models for many somewhat facile decorative allegorical figures, cherubs, caryatids and the like. …  The sculptures, which were carried out in staff, a weather-resistant plaster, were destroyed with the exhibition buildings, but the successful effect they produced led to further similar commissions at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (1901) and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis (1904). His growing reputation led to his only medal, an award medal for the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.”  [4]  Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Martiny

“So MacNeil chose to settle in Chicago where this collosal World’s Fair was “being born.”  This decision proved momentous in many ways. In his ‘Chicago Years’ he met people who would remain professional colleagues and friends for the next four decades.   These included Frederick MacMonnies, Lorado Taft, his pupil, Carol Louise  Brooks (who MacNeil was to marry in 1895), Daniel Chester French, as well as architects Daniel Burnham, Stanford White, and Charles Follen McKim. The rest of MacNeil’s career would become a repeated succession of partnerships with these colleagues on projects, monuments, buildings, and memorials that were joint efforts of many Beaux Arts trained scupltors and architects associated with the American Academy in Rome.”The rest story has been told on  this website at:  “The Chicago Years”  [CLICK HERE]. 

Fifty years later, Hermon MacNeil, revisited these “Chicago Years” when he wrote out his thirteen page Autobiography.  Here’s what he wanted us to know:

St. Gaudens was then the great sculptor in America and in my brash way [ I ] went to N. Y. City and asked him for a job, that is, the privilege of being an apprentice.  He was kind enough to give me a letter to Philip Martiny, a very able sculptor who had considerable work at that time designing sculpture for the coming exposition in ChicagoHe rather doubtfully took me on.  At the end of the first week he asked me what I thought I should have for pay.  I had had no professional experience so I told him to set my stipend.  I would have taken $2 or $3 a day if he said so but he asked me if $5 would be enough!  I don’t think I showed any disappointment in my face and told him that was O.K.  (O.K. was not used in those days however)  So for a year I revelled [sic] in assisting in the professional work and learned a great deal.  Had in Paris learned to model the figure but in the studio to use intelligently and decoratively that knowledge was another thing again.  As a friend of Martiny’s said to me when looking at my work, “Don’t you know their is a great difference between a school study and a work of art?”  It sunk in.” [ “AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH — HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL,” June, 1943, page 4. ] Cornell University Archives.

Hamlin Garland

Garland Garland came to Chicago in 1893. 

Teen Writer.Garland began to write poetry during his teens and published his first poem in Harper’s Weekly called Lost in a Norther which announced his close connection with the adventurous American spirit and the pioneering life that would characterize a large part of his fiction.” [ https://mypoeticside.com/poets/hamlin-garland-poems ]

Keen Observer. “It wasn’t until Garland was in his early thirties though that he began to achieve some success with a collection of short stories under the title Main Travelled Roads. He used this success to move to Chicago where he gave lectures on writing in a more realistic way and later also visited the ‘untamed’ west where he observed cowboys and made copious books of notes on the life of American Indians. It was these keen character studies that he would use in his fiction in later years.”  [ https://mypoeticside.com/poets/hamlin-garland-poems ]

Scene Novelist.  When Garland moved to Chicago in 1893, he wanted to experience the events and excitement of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  He was already considered “a significant figure in the Chicago Literary Movement” and “one of Chicago’s most important authors”.[8]  He wanted to both participate and witness this global, cultural symbol of the emerging American Exceptionalism.   Garland contributed some of the featured 6,000 lectures. In doing so he became friendly with Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Rudyard Kipling, as well as Edward Eggleston, Joseph Kirkland and E.W. Howe.” [3]

 The Woodlawn neighborhood sprung up to house the explosion of workers, businesses, and commerce necessary to construct the “White City”  He settled in Woodlawn at 6427 South Greenwood Avenue, an apartment just six blocks south of the Midway and its amusements. 

Community of Artists.  The White City consisted of gleaming, white Beaux Arts structures blending Classical, Renaissance, Romanesque, and other styles.  The sculptors, architects, and artists interacted in the creation of fourteen Great Buildings. The Halls were dedicated to themes, including Electricity, Liberal Arts, Machinery, Agriculture, Administration, Machinery, Mining, Transportation, Horticulture, Fisheries, Womens Hall, Forestry, US Government, and Court of Honor.  

The White Rabbits.   The story of Larado Taft and his female assistants, The White Rabblts, has been told many times here on this website.  They did more than finish the works of their male sculptors counterparts.

The Rabbits weren’t just responsible for realizing other people’s visions; several of them also contributed their own sculptures to the fair. Scudder created an allegorical female Justice for the Illinois building as well as a sculpture for the pavilion of her home state, Indiana. Taft’s sister Zulime Garland made Flying Victory and Learning. Julia Bracken Wendt, who was already the most talented assistant in Taft’s studio before the fair, sculpted Faith; Charity was undertaken by Carrie Brooks MacNeil, Maternity by Ellen Copp, and “Art” by Bessie Potter Vonnoh.

Friendships and Romance.  While creating the these buildings and sculptures, there evolved a unique community of White City artists.  The collegiality extended through the years. Several friendships evolved into marriage.   Both Garland and MacNeil found their life partners in Larado Taft”s assistants, The White Rabbits.  A recurring community of Camp Life sprung up:

[1] “The spirit of playful camaraderie among the city’s artists was manifest in the first of several outings to Bass Lake, Indiana.  For two weeks in August 1894 Potter experienced invigorating camp life with the sculptors Lorado Taft, Carrie Brooks, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Lew Wall Moore, and Edward and Laura Swing Kemeys, And the painters Charles Francis Browne, Carl Heber, and Menthe Svenden.  Between recreational activities and spirited antics, painters and sculptors alike engaged in plein-air oil sketching of the scenery.  Evenings were given over to art lectures illustrated by the stereopticon projected on a make shift screen consisting  of a sheet stretched between trees.  Such a good time was had that the artist arranged another merry outing for September.  There after the excursions became annual events.” 

[1] Julie Aronson, Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women, Cincinnati Art Museum: Ohio University Press; Athens, Ohio. 2008, p. 31.

TWO MARRIAGES:

Hermon MacNeil married Carol (Carrie) Brooks a student of Larado Taft, and Hamlin Garland married Zulime Taft, sister of Larado. 

They all built The White City, BUT the White City sculpted their lives as well.

SOURCES:

  1. [1] Julie Aronson, Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women, Cincinnati Art Museum: Ohio University Press; Athens, Ohio. 2008, p. 31.
  2. Jamaicia Plain Historical Society [ https://www.jphs.org/people/2005/4/14/hamlin-garland-one-of-the-great-literary-pioneers-of-america.html ]

RELATED POSTS:

  1. ~ ~ ~ “The Most Happy Young Man I Know” ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Hermon A. MacNeil ~ Success & Marriage! (13) 1895 Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American Sculptor (1866-1947) MacNeil’s bronze of…
  2. “PRIMITIVE INDIAN MUSIC” ~ Part 3: 1894 Eda Lord’s Ticket to the Chicago World’s Fair (13) Eda Lord, (the woman who purchased the MacNeil bronze statue,…
  3. Hermon MacNeil at the 1893 Columbian Exposition ~ ~ ~ THE CHICAGO YEARS ~ ~ (11) CHICAGO YEARS:  Partners and Colleagues When Hermon MacNeil came home to the…
  4. Mary Lawrence: A Sculptor of “The White Rabbits” (10) Mary Lawrence was a talented sculptor.  All that is left…
  5. Part 1: “The Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit” Hermon A. MacNeil~Sculptor of the American West (8) Hermon MacNeil’s  interest in Native American culture began in (of…

Hermon A. MacNeil’s statue of

General George Washington

(on the reverse of this historic Arch)

stands above this

“Victory Celebration.”

Spontaneous crowds are celebrating the

ELECTION of 46th PRESIDENT of the United States,

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

(The “Everyday JOE” candidate.) 

& Kamala Harris

the first Woman Vice President

daughter of an Asian Indian Mother and a Jamacian Father, 

Joyous New Yorkers flocked to the historic Washington Arch to dance and shout as Joe Biden was declared the next President-elect after four days of ballot counting.

It’s An American National Block Party

Behind the scenes MacNeil’s likeness of General Washington guarded the rear flanks of the rally

MacNeil’s statue portrays General George Washington in the uniform of the Continental Army of 1775.  Also, on the back of the Arch is Alexander Sterling Calder’s accompanying statue of President Washington as 1st President and the first civilian Commander-in-Chief.

Celebrating Americans seem relieved that new leadership will deal with the following stresses of 2020:

  • Political Vitriol
  • COVID-19 PANDEMIC
  • Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
  • Weaponized Decision Folly

 

In June 2020 Vandals tossed

red paint

this MacNeil work

Both statues of George Washington suffered “red paint” vandalism during earlier demonstrations on June 29, 2020.

[ CLICK HERE for that Story ]

Photo Credit: NY Post – Stephan Jeremiah

The accompanying “George Washington as President” statue by Alexander Sterling Calder was also damaged.  They have since been cleaned.  However, such vandalism takes a toll on these century old marble art monuments.

 The Vandalism post:

Related posts:

  1. Presidents Day 2020 ~~ MacNeil Month ~~ Wm. McKinley ~~ Abe Lincoln ~~ Geo. Washington ~~ “THEY ARE ALL THERE” — H.A MacNeil’s Sculptures of 3 Presidents ~~ (10)  “They are still there” celebrates several re-visits and discoveries of…
  2. Happy Birthday Mr. Washington! ~ PART ONE ~ MacNeil Month #5 ~ The President Who would NOT be King. (9) February 22nd marks the 279th Birthday of George Washington. February…
  3. Happy (actual) Birthday, Mr. Washington! ~~~ ~~~ Visit New York City for MacNeil Month ~~~ (#8) (9) George Washington  February 22, 1732 Pictured below is Hermon A. …
  4. New York – Washington Square – Arch – (8) MacNeil’s “Washington at War” graces one side of the Arch…
  5. Washington Square – NYC – Fiction and Reality (8) Hermon A. MacNeil’s sculpture of George Washington on the Arch…
  6. Memorial Day Photo ~MacNeil’s “General George Washington” with flags (7)
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. 

She was the first Jewish female, AND only

the second woman, ever to be confirmed onto the

US Supreme Court.

– – – – – – –

One year before her birth,

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

sculpted the East Pediment of the

Supreme Court Building

with Moses, the Jewish Lawgiver as its central figure.

“JUSTICE THE GUARDIAN OF LIBERTY”   Hermon A. MacNeil’s sculptures of Moses, Confucius, and Solon on the East Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

Ruth Bader was born while MacNeil created his design.

MacNeil started the East Pediment in 1932.

Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933

The Pediment with Moses as its center was finished in 1934.

On August 10, 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg took

her Oath as a US Supreme Court Justice

NOW, 27 years later, she has died.

She shaped the LAW

for generations of American Citizens.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Justice Ginsburg

Throughout her lifetime, she was a brilliant servant of gender equality and of minority rights. 

She knew what it was to be discriminated against as a woman, as a mother, and as a lawyer.

She fought gender discrimination whether it affected women or men.

All these obstacles only served to make her a fierce advocate, a potent judge, and a voice to be heard. 

Though diminutive, she became a giant on the court. 

Her opinions were cogent and powerful, whether in the majority or voicing a minority opinion. 

She was also the “first Jewish female” to sit on this supreme bench.

  Moses, Confucius, Solon East Pediment of Supreme Court Building – Washington D.C.

“JUSTICE THE GUARDIAN OF LIBERTY

is the title under MacNeil’s work on the  East Pediment.

MacNeil’s ‘Tortoise’ on the north corner of his east pediment sculpture

MacNeil’s ‘Hare’ on south corner of east Pediment sculpture.

The first and the eleventh figures at either end of MacNeil’s grouping of “Justice the Guardian” are a Hare and a Tortoise  that bring to mind Aesop’s Fable that wisely reminds us that:

“Slow and steady wins the Race.”

It is a moral that RBG took as a legal strategy

MAY JUSTICE CONTINUE TO PREVAIL …

… even if slow and steady …

MacNeil didn’t intend his sculptures to have religious connotations. Explaining his work, MacNeil wrote, “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.”  ( http://architecture.about.com/od/greatbuildings/ss/SupremeCourt_7.htm )

Shocked Mourners gather in honor of the Life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg moments after her passing

In Flushing, New York, The World War Monument by Hermon MacNeil is inscribed:

“In Memory of Those

Who Gave Their Lives”

Roger Bow lives in Bayside, NY.

Last week, his life-long interest in collecting Standing Liberty Quarters, lead him to purchase a MacNeil Medallion.

In his order he added that he grew up in Flushing and always admired the World War Monument there.

I asked him if he would send me some pictures.

WELL, HE DID!

Hi Dan, 

   Received the beautiful Medallion and your nice note. I took some photos this weekend at MacNeil’s War Monument. 
   I grew up appreciating this striking and poignant monument in my hometown. I didn’t fully appreciate it’s magnificence until I was older and had seen and visited other war memorials in other States. Her presence never fails to remind us of the bravery, sacrifice and resolve of our troops while depicting the spiritual comfort of the lost finally coming home. 
   I will take a closer look at the Washington Square Monument next time I am in the area. I never knew MacNeil sculpted that figure as well. Great to make these connections and will always make an effort to visit MacNeil’s works wherever I travel. 
  I appreciate your preserving his legacy and for the gifts that accompanied the medallion. 
   Feel free to use any of the photos attached to my 3 emails.
 
Best regards for a safe and healthy year,
Roger Bow
THANKS, ROGER!
Very Creative.
Take a Bow!

THANKS, ROGER! Roger Bow with his MacNeil Medallion at the Flushing Memorial on Sunday — (8-23-2020)

CLICK ON PHOTOS BELOW FOR A SLIDESHOW:

A man was arrested in Charleston, SC, at The Confederate Defenders statue today as a woman was video recording. “For the past couple Sundays, supporters of Black Lives Matter and supporters of the Confederacy, a group called Flags Across America, have stood at the Battery near the Confederate Defenders statue to protest.”

ABC News 4 & WCIV report Charleston police stating that “a man was arrested after he allegedly “chest-bumped” a woman near the Confederate Defenders statue.

Witnesses tell ABC News 4 that a man shoved a Black Lives Matter protester. Charleston Police officials said they don’t have information on which group he was supporting.

Seven weeks ago on May 30th, the base of this statue was marked with red spray paint. Incidents have continued since then.

Since the murders at the AME Mother Emmanuel Church in 2015, The Confederate Defenders have been spray painted at least 3 times.

No one has been was injured in any of these incidents since 2015.

CLICK HERE: FOR VIDEO and further details OF THE ARREST.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OTHER VANDALISM ELSEWHERE on MacNeil works:

In New York City the MacNeil statue of George Washington as General of the Continental Army has also been spray painted. CLICK HERE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Related posts:

 

 

FRIEZE

RECENT Posts here at on https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/ have reported demonstrations staged around The Confederate Defenders Sculpture at Battery Point in Charleston, SC. 
 
That Monument was commissioned around 1930 to focus on Fort Sumter out in the Harbor. he following editorial appeared in FRIEZE three years ago.  The Opinion raises an important distinction, namely, Historical Fact versus Collective Memory.
 
 
[Julian Chambliss is Professor of English and History at Michigan State University (MSU), in East Lansing, MI.]
23 Aug 2017

Public debate around Confederate insignia has little to do with historical fact, and everything to do with collective memory.

What we see happening in places like Charlottesville today – after the tragic, bloody events of last weekend, and the roiling debates around Confederate monuments – has less to do with historical fact and more to do with collective memory. In Dell Upton’s 2015 book What Can and Can’t Be Said – his insightful examination of African-American memorials in the United States – we are presented with two pivotal questions regarding our understanding of monuments in the contemporary South: what is possible and what is permitted to be said in debates around public memorials?

Upton’s analysis of civil rights memorials acknowledges a key point too often omitted from contemporary debates. New South ‘boosterism’ invented the memorial landscape in the 1880s and 1890s. A class of merchants, manufacturers and financiers sought to transform the south. Partnering with figures such as Henry W. Grady (1850-89), the managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution, they promoted industrial growth, agrarian reform, and northern investment to reintegrate the region into the ‘political and economic life’ of the United States. This process required the stripping away of facts around the political, economic, and social motivations involved in fighting the Civil War, and in its place, a new context that embraced a collective understanding of southern sentiment about the war that would be acceptable to northern whites. This process had nothing to do with the history of the war. Americans, north and south, knew full well that the Confederacy was created to preserve slavery, and the resolution of the Civil War meant the end of a slave democracy on which southerners relied. 

Detail from H.A. MacNeil’s Confederate Defenders of Charlestone monument (1932). Courtesy: Mr.TinDC, Flickr, Creative Commons

Detail from H.A. MacNeil’s Confederate Defenders of Charleston monument, 1932, Charleston, South Carolina. Courtesy: Mr.TinDC, Flickr, Creative Commons

In other words, today we are not debating what happened, but instead we are quarrelling about how southerners choose to remember it. As countless historians have tirelessly explained, the Confederate memorials that dot the landscape were erected long after the war was fought as southerners promoted the idea of a ‘New South.’ New, in the sense that a new generation of southern leaders embraced a narrative of modernization and preservation: a narrative that argued that southerners fought nobly not to preserve slavery, but for self-determination against northern aggression. This story meant that, fuelled by a regional identity that believed in honour, family, and religion, southerners may have lost on the battlefield, but they would retain the values that defined their culture. They continued to preserve those noble values even as they grew cities and nurtured industries such as textiles and railroads.

They succeeded in reshaping and rebranding the region, but it came at a high cost for black Americans. As southern whites murdered and disenfranchised black people, they would celebrate why they committed those acts by creating markers to an idealized version of white southern history. The memorials we debate today are public markers created by private groups that endorse this white vision and support these white actions. In truth, we should not call them memorials. A proper label would be ‘political markers funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and gifted to municipalities across the South to celebrate the re-establishment of white rule after Reconstruction’.  

The pattern of greatest activism linked to these markers between 1896 and 1919 and again between 1954 and 1965 correlates to the public proclamations of anti-black sentiment at those moments. Indeed, the first period coincides with the rise of white supremacy marked by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that legalized segregation and opened the door to subsequent black voter suppression, a lynching campaign in the 1890s and a series of anti-black riots in communities such as Atlanta (1906), Springfield (1908), and East St. Louis (1917). This aggression culminated in 1919 with what author James Weldon Johnson described as the ‘The Red Summer’: a series of 26 race-inspired riots that erupted across the United States. The second period marked white southerners reacting against the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954 that ended school segregation. In the years that followed that victory – as Martin Luther King and countless others marched in nonviolent protest culminating in the Civil Rights Act (1964) which outlawed discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin and the Voting Rights Act (1965) which prevented denial or restriction of the right to vote – southerners embraced symbols of the Confederacy.

Navigating the space created between history and feeling prompted me to participate in The Confederate Flag – 13 Flag Funerals organized by artist John Sims on 25 May 2015. In organizing the burning and burials of the Confederate Flag in the former states of the Confederacy on the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Sims commemorated the struggle for freedom from an African-American perspective. A form of creative resistance, the project highlighted what countless black and white people were prevented from saying for decades. A black person burning a symbol of the Confederacy in public rejects the romanticized South and challenges the white-centric public memory that defines the region. Online threats, calls to my college for me to be fired and calls for me to be arrested for burning the Confederate flag, bombarded me as I pursued this project. Yet, in confronting Confederate symbolism with a public art project, we foreshadowed a wider debate around truth in the public sphere. It reminded Americans that black people who challenged white supremacy have been terrorized, beaten, or killed for doing so. It acknowledged, as should be obvious, that African Americans rejoiced in the South’s defeat, suffered brutally through Jim Crow segregation and continue today to seek freedom equal to all in the public square.

While previous ethnic white immigrants that came to United States were placed in a ‘melting pot’ that washed away their difference and made them ‘white’, our contemporary social space cannot be defined by that white racial status quo. The lived experience that defines the modern United States requires the legacies and memories of all our people to inform the public square we inhabit. While it may seem like an empowered white majority clinging to the past defines our current reality, in truth, today many more Americans are claiming a place for their experiences to define our democracy. Together we care about the truth and reject symbols that threaten and demean; we seek a community that celebrates the richness of our diversity. But we must work hard to confront the truth of historical violence and its effect. With that truth made clear, we can move towards a public sphere that celebrates the people and institutions that helped the United States live up to its ideals. 

Main image: detail from Moses Jacob Ezekiel’s Confederate monument (1914) at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. Courtesy: Mark Fischer, Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Julian Chambliss is Professor of English and History at Michigan State University (MSU), in East Lansing, MI.

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.

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