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 Statue

Out of public view, deep in the archives of the Chicago Art Institute rests a 127 year old bust of Charles F. Browne,  American artist.

Cast in Bronze with a dark brown patina, the piece is signed on pedestal; “MacNeil ’94” / “American Art Bronze Foundry. J. Berchem. / Chicago”

Charles Francis Browne, MacNeil Colleague and American Artist.

The subject was Hermon MacNeil’s colleague, frontier traveling companion, and studio mate in their Marquette Building studio.  The piece came out of their years in Chicago after the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

The archival piece enters its third century of history “OFF VIEW” at the archives of  the Art Institute of Chicago.  Here we offered it exclusively to You, —“Friends of Hermon Atkins MacNeil”  —  & followers of ‘HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com’.   ENJOY !!

1895.   With Hamlin Garland as their guide, the pair rode by train and horse back to the south west territories of the Navajo, Hopi, (Moqui). MacNeil recalled years later, “We found Indians a plenty and perhaps because I was keenly interested in them I was in heaven and I flared to a high pitch, working from sunrise to dark. …”

“Browne painted murals for the Children’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition and became an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago’s rapidly growing school.” 2

Hamilin Garland and Browne were “double” brothers-in-law having married sisters of Lorado Taft, the chief sculptor of the Exposition. Taft was the brother of both of their wives.  They all along with MacNeil were part of the Eagles Nest, a summer artist  colony in Oregon, Illinois.  Browne was a founder of the summer group.

Portrait of Charles F. Browne by H. A. MacNeil 1894. Art Institute of Chicago. [Signed on pedestal; “MacNeil ’94” / “American Art Bronze Foundry. J. Berchem. / Chicago”] 1

The adventure in the Summer of 1895 shaped the lives of all three men, but especially MacNeil who evolved an enduring interest in the Native American Indian as a subject of Beaux Arts sculpture.  

The dating of the bust of C. F. Browne precedes their venture to the Southwest Territory but documents the shared years of their early careers in the 19th century.  

Writing in 1943, MacNeil recalls these years in Chicago:

“I took a small studio in Chicago and tried to see if I could make a go of it. C. F. Browne, painter, was also stranded there and I invited him to share a studio with me. During that year (evenings) I was asked to teach sculpture and drawing in the school of the Art Institute and also had the good fortune to have four bas-reliefs to do illustrating the life of Pere Marquette.”  [ MacNeil, Autobiography

MacNeil’s four bas-reliefs of the life of Pere Marquette still make frame the four-door entrance of the building

The Marquette Building panels after cleaning efforts several years ago sparkle with history and beauty at the 140 South Dearborn Street entrance.

Chicago Architecture celebrated the building renovation and mentioned the 126 year old sculpture panels”

“At the main entrance are four bronze relief sculptures by Hermon A. MacNeil illustrating Father Marquette and Louis Joliet’s travels. They depict the pair launching their canoes, meeting Native Americans, arriving at the Chicago River, and interring Marquette’s body. On the revolving doors are kick plates with tomahawks and push plates with panther heads designed by Edward Kemeys (of the Art Institute lions fame). The vestibule features French and Catholic motifs like fleurs-de-lis and the cross.” 

~ ~ ~ ~  Chicago Art Institute Notations for this work ~ ~ ~ ~

Portrait of Charles F. Browne by H. A. MacNeil 1894.

Portrait of Charles Francis Browne.  Date: 1894
Artist: Hermon Atkins MacNeil.  American, 1866–1947
ABOUT THIS ARTWORK:  Currently Off View

SOURCES:

  1. Art Institute of Chicago. Portrait of Charles Frances Brown by Hermon MacNeil.    https://www.artic.edu/artworks/102974/portrait-of-charles-francis-browne
  2. See Also:  M Christine Schwartz Collection.  https://schwartzcollection.com/artist/charles-francis-browne/

 

 Hermon MacNeil’s “Chief Manuelito” has returned home. He has a completely restored look and frame. 

[CLICK Next arrows below >> to View 10 more Photos]

Manuelito-0-native-American-plaster-sculpture-after-conservation-768x1024

Picture 1 of 10

MacNeil’s original 1895 Chief Manuelito as he rested above the doors of C.N. Cotton’s Trading Post in Gallup, New Mexico

During his 127 years of standing in Gallup, New Mexico, MacNeil’s 8’4″  cement constructed “Chief” was: 

Chief Manuelito of the Navajo (circa 2003)

  • Commissioned by trader, C. N. Cotton,
  • Sculpted under a tent cover in the desert,
  • Sculpted of cement,
  • Built around a wood and wire armature,
  • Wrapped in the colors of the Chief’s blanket,
  • Standing above the entrance of the trading post,
  • Weather-beaten,
  • Sun-baked,
  • Often repainted,  
  • Moved awkwardly,
  • Visited by Navajo Elders and young children,
  • Becoming an icon of the Navajo people,
  • Hidden from sale to a grocery conglomerate,
  • Stored in a warehouse by the Cotton family,
  • Donated to McKinley County, N.M. at age 115 years,
  • Approved for restoration with County funds,
  • Professionally restored by EVERGREENE Architectural Arts,
  • The new centerpiece of the Courthouse Annex,
  • Given a new century as an “Icon” on the people of Gallop, N.M. 

    Evergreene Arts employee patiently restoring Hermon MacNeil’s 1895 desert figure of Chief Manuelito.

    MacNeil’s “Chief Manuelito of the Navajo” as restored by McKinley County for new Courthouse Annex.

MacNeil sculpted a cement statue of Chief Manuelito for trader C. N. Cotton under a tent in the dessert. His subsequent sculptures of Native Americans after that summer of 1895 continued his cultural interest.  That fascination began with his friendship and sculpting of Black Pipe, the Sioux warrior. He first met Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  The Sioux modeled for MacNeil and later worked in his studio for over a year before MacNeil’s trip with Garland.

AN AMAZING STORY OF RESTORATION:

EVERGREENE Architectural Arts of Brooklyn N.Y. is the enterprise that restored this piece.  Their story of this project with photos of the elements of the project are duplicated here from their website. 1


Chief Manuelito Sculpture

City Hall, Gallup, NM

Chief Manuelito served as an important Navajo leader in the mid-19th century against the encroachment of the U. S. Government. Kit Carson’s scorched earth campaign left many native people starving though until they were forced to turn themselves in. Throughout this period, Manuelito led attacks and remained among the last to surrender. He remained a popular leader, advocating for perseverance in the native culture and advancement through education. He is represented here by the artist Hermon Atkins MacNeil, who created several other notable sculptures of Native American subjects and themes.

The Chief Manuelito sculpture was created using wood, plaster, and paint. Past cleaning efforts had caused significant damage. Cracks in the gypsum and plaster layers were associated with the movement of the wooden armature. The sculpture had areas of loss, and areas of visible previous repairs.

We were contracted to perform the sculptures’s plaster and paint conservation treatment. After the condition assessment, paint samples were collected and investigated to develop the earliest color compositions, likely paint scheme, and pattern of the blanket. Treatment of the sculpture itself proceeded in three parts: structural stabilization and integration of new base and support components, consolidation and repair of deteriorated decorative plasterwork, and paint removal along with repainting where needed. We also provided guidance for the display of the sculpture, and a maintenance plan for its continued preservation.  SOURCE: EVERGREENE Architectural Arts


FOOTNOTES:

  1. Restorationhttps://evergreene.com/projects/chief-manuelito-sculpture/
  2. History of Manuelito, Navajo Chief.  Read more at: https://www.aaanativearts.com/manuelitio-navajo

Archive for October, 2011 posting on Manuelito’s return

GOOD NEWS !   SURPRISE ~ Hermon MacNeil’s Chief Manuelito is back!

Yesterday’s post about MacNeil and Manuelito generated considerable interest and news from Gallup, NM.

Carolyn Milligan saw our Native American Day story and responded:

“The restored Manuelito has been installed.  Early tomorrow I’ll see and visit him. There are a few details to conclude but I will send you images of the restoration. Manuelito[‘s]  dignity and presence have been skillfully restored. You will be pleased with the result.”   … Give me a few days to reply to you and to send you images of Manuelito installed in his new location. You will then have before and after images of Manuelito to include on your website.

Artist Julian Scott’s portrait of Manuelito‑ Chief of the Navajos  [Source: americangallery.wordpress.com]

In his seventy-five years of life, the Chief was driven, accused, abused, enraged, betrayed, wise, proud and a thousand other emotions that a leader might feel in a war of cultures.  All these experiences exacted a price from his life and energy.   

Harrison Lapahle’s website offers a brief history of Manuelito.  He describes the warrior’s closing years with a sorrow and painful candor that recalls the similar sorrow of his Navajo Nation. 

“He spent the last ten years of his life unhappy, certain that he had done the wrong thing by encouraging education, and by taking back all the livestock stolen by the young raiders of the tribe. Whisky was small comfort for his misery, but he drank it anyway. All around him his people still believed his words “Education is the ladder,” and they sent more and more of their children to school. They followed Manuelito even though he refused to lead them any longer.

A delegation of Navajo representatives who traveled to Washington, D.C., in 1874 to discuss the provisions of the 1868 treaty with President Ulysses S. Grant. The delegation consisted of (left to right, front row): Carnero Mucho, Mariano, Juanita (Manuelito’s wife), Manuelito, Manuelito Segundo, and Tiene-su-se Standing: “Wild” Hank Sharp (Anglo), Ganado Mucho, Barbas Hueros, Agent Arny, Kentucky Mountain Bill (Anglo), Cabra Negra, Cayatanita, Narbona Primero, and Jesus Arviso, interpreter.

He was a disheartened man, seventy-five years old in 1893, when he became very ill. Measles and then pneumonia brought the weakened old man to his deathbed.

In his fever, the years seemed to fade as he watched the sunlight play in small patches on the hogan wall. He saw the faces around him, his friends and family. He thought he heard Zarcillos Largos say, “Come, on the path of beauty you will restore your strength.” Manuelito closed his eyes in peace.

His death saddened many Navajos who had found strength in his strength. But his life had given his people a new trail to follow, and they walked it proudly, as Manuelito had walked.”  [ http://www.lapahie.com/manuelito.cfm ]

A wonderful surprise!  We await the return of the Chief to Gallup.

Seeing Chief Manuelito with his ‘dignity’ back, will prepare us all for the 21st Century.   

Uncle Hermon would smile.

 
 
 
NOTES:
  1. History of Manuelito, Navajo Chief.  Read more at: https://www.aaanativearts.com/manuelitio-navajo
  2. Navajo Chief Manuelito (1818–1893) was one of the principal war chiefs of the Diné people before, during and after the Long Walk Period. His name means Little Manuel in Spanish.
  3. As any Navajo, he was known by different names depending upon context. He was known as Ashkii Diyinii (Holy Boy), Dahaana Baadaané (Son-in-Law of Late Texan), Hastiin Chʼilhaajiní (“Black Weeds”) and as Nabááh Jiłtʼaa (War Chief, or Warrior Grabbed Enemy) to other Diné. After his first battle at age 17, he was given the name Hashkeh Naabaah, meaning Angry Warrior.
  4. Read more at: https://www.aaanativearts.com/manuelitio-navajo
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Categories : Location, New Mexico, Statue
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Judge Thomas Burke Monument, Seattle, Washington by Hermon A. MacNeil


1930 ~ Judge Thomas Burke Memorial by MacNeil

In February 1886, Judge Thomas Burke addressed an angry mob rioting against Chinese immigrants. 

(The Judge’s public appeal occurred in the same year that MacNeil was being born over 3,000 miles away in Everett, Massachusetts), [ 135 years later, Anti-Asian bigotry and Violence against Asians appear to be nothing new . ]

“Judge Thomas Burke played a key role in calming Seattle during the anti-Chinese riots, which occurred in February 1886. Addressing a hostile audience, Burke called upon his considerable stump speaking abilities — one commentator said the Burke “had the golden gift of eloquence which has been likened to that of Patrick Henry” — to point out that minority rights must be respected. Burke also told his listeners that they should be concerned with the city’s reputation. The riots were settled by cooler heads and by the intervention of the 14th U.S. Infantry.” [Source: Thomas Burke (railroad builder)]

Forty-four years later,

Hermon A. MacNeil

was commissioned to sculpt a fitting memorial to this heroic, civic pioneer of Seattle, Washington. 

The Memorial to Judge Thomas Burke (designed in partnership with famous architect Carl F. Gould* also an 1898-1903 student at École des Beaux Arts in Paris) exhibits MacNeil’s classic Beaux Arts design and allegorical figures. 

Beneath the bronze bas relief of  Burke’s profile, the engraved stone pilaster  reads:  “Patriot, Jurist, Orator, Friend, Patron of Education, First of every Movement for the Advancement of the City and State, Seattle’s Foremost and Best Beloved Citizen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Thomas Burke

1930 ~  Thomas Burke

          — Remembered as a Railroad Builder

“Burke came to Seattle in 1875 and formed a law partnership with John J. McGilvra; he soon married McGilvra’s daughter Caroline.[2] He established himself as a civic activist: one of his first projects was to raise funds for a planked walkway from roughly the corner of First and Pike (now site of Pike Place Market) through Belltown to Lake Union.[7]

Cartoon of Thomas Burke, railroad man

He served as probate judge 1876-1880[8] and as chief justice of the Washington Territorial Supreme Court in 1888.[3]

“Irish as a clay pipe,”[9] and well liked by early Seattle’s largely Irish working class, as a lawyer Burke was well known for collecting large fees from his wealthy clients and providing free legal services for the poor.  [Source: Thomas Burke (railroad builder)]

With a open-heart for the poor and immigrants, Thomas Burke rose not only in the legal profession, but also as a probate judge and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Washington Territory.  He remained a civic and national leader until his dying breathe at age 76.

“Thomas Burke collapsed on December 4, 1925, while addressing the board of the Carnegie Endowment in New York City. Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, caught him as he fell. He wrote that Burke died “in the midst of an eloquent and unfinished sentence which expressed the high ideals of international conduct.”  [Source: Thomas Burke (railroad builder)]

Thomas Burke – – – A man well remembered (Obituary HERE)

Hermon MacNeil – – – A Sculptor of Memorials

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Will Rogers By Jo Davidson 1939. Jo started as Studio Boy for Hermon A MacNeil in 1903 for $10 per week.

Jo Davidson was the “studio boy” for Hermon Atkins MacNeil in 1903.

Since 1939, Jo Davidson’s statue of

“Will Rogers”

has looked down on Senators and Congress members as they speak and are interviewed in the Capitol Statuary Hall.

Jo Davidson’s statue watched again today as raging Trump protestors turned into rioters (mixed with vigilantes) attacking the Capitol Building. [ breaking windows, carrying fire arms, vandalizing desks and offices, creating chaos and danger … ]

Senators were in the Constitutional process of certifying the votes of the Electoral College which  authorizes the Inauguration of the 46th President on January 20, 2021.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In February CHECK BACK HERE at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com for FOUR stories of Hermon MacNeil and Jo Davidson

BUT NOW

listen instead to our prized political sage of 

HUMOR from 100 years ago:

(Then tell me if Will Rogers still speaks to us in 2021.)

WILL ROGERS’ QUOTES

tell Us what he might say today:

 

  1. “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers
  2. “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” – Will Rogers
  3. “Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.” – Will Rogers
  4. “I never met a man that I didn’t like.” – Will Rogers
  5. “Rumor travels faster, but it doesn’t stay put as long as truth.” – Will Rogers
  6. “Common sense ain’t common.” – Will Rogers
  7. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today” – Will Rogers
  8. “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.” – Will Rogers
  9. “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” – Will Rogers
  10. “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.” – Will Rogers
  11. “Do the best you can, and don’t take life too serious.” – Will Rogers
  12. “When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.” – Will Rogers
  13. There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  14. The minute you read something that you can’t understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.” – Will Rogers
  15. “We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” – Will Rogers
  16. “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” – Will Rogers
  17. “The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.” – Will Rogers
  18. “If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of Congress?” – Will Rogers
  19. “If stupidity got us in this mess, how come it can’t get us out.” – Will Rogers
  20. “A fool and his money are soon elected.” – Will Rogers
  21. “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” – Will Rogers
  22. “I’m not a real movie star. I’ve still got the same wife I started out with twenty-eight years ago.” – Will Rogers
  23. “Always drink upstream from the herd.” – Will Rogers
  24. “The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.” – Will Rogers
  25. “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.” – Will Rogers
  26. “Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” – Will Rogers
  27. “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” – Will Rogers
  28. “The more you observe politics, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other.” – Will Rogers
  29. “Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know “why” I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.” – Will Rogers
  30. “Ten men in our country could buy the whole world and ten million can’t buy enough to eat.” – Will Rogers
  31. “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.” – Will Rogers
  32. “An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to make them laugh.” – Will Rogers
  33. “You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people.” – Will Rogers
  34. “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” – Will Rogers
  35. “The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” – Will Rogers
  36. “I am not a member of any organized political party — I am a Democrat.” – Will Rogers
  37. “If you feel the urge, don’t be afraid to go on a wild goose chase. What do you think wild geese are for anyway?” – Will Rogers
  38. “The problem ain’t what people know. It’s what people know that ain’t so that’s the problem.” – Will Rogers
  39. “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re actually paying for.” – Will Rogers
  40. “Buy land. They ain’t making any more of the stuff.” – Will Rogers
  41. “There are men running governments who shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches.” – Will Rogers
  42. “What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.” – Will Rogers
  43. “There is no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” – Will Rogers
  44. “The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.” – Will Rogers
  45. “Lord, the money we do spend on Government and it’s not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money twenty years ago.”- Will Rogers
  46. “It is better for someone to think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” – Will Rogers
  47. “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers
  48. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers
  49.  “There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.” – Will Rogers
  50. “All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that’s an alibi for my ignorance.” – Will Rogers

CREDITS:

  1. Photo: Will Rogers Statue https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/exhibitions/timeline/image/will-rogers-jo-davidson-1938
  2. Will Rogers Quotes: https://inspirationfeed.com/will-rogers-quotes/

 

Hermon MacNeil often made Christmas Cards that  featured his own drawings and studio images.

MacNeil Christmas card from 1922.

Here’s a Card from 1922  ==>>

This pencil sketch proclaiming “Merry Christmas 1922” appears reminiscent of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”

In that composition, a Native Chief, possibly Sioux, coaches a young warrior through a rite of passage — shooting an arrow into the of the sun.

In MacNeil’s 1922 Christmas drawing, a similar pair of figures wave a banner of seasons greetings.  Their presence seems a reprise of the Sun Vow sculpture.

While that was over a century ago, here’s what we can know  today:

  • We know being an artist, MacNeil often carried and kept sketchbooks. 
  • We know he would sit in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his sketchbook.
  • We know he sketched D. L Moody at an interdenominational Sunday Worship in Wild Bill’s Arena (since no Sunday shows were allowed and Moody rented the venue)
  • We know he traveled, sketched and sculpted on his trip to the Southwest territories in 1895 (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado). 
  • We know he formed clay and plaster images there; and he shipped many back to Chicago.
  • We know that his memory of Native images dominated his sculptures for the next ten years.

I suspect that the idea for this card sprang up from the artist’s visual memory, perhaps, revived from an old sketchbook.  A dusty record of images that he first saw three decades earlier at the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Here’s More from this website:

“Native American Themes: His first introduction to native subjects came through Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. During the 1893 Worlds Fair, Buffalo Bill’s troupe performed in a carnival setting outside the main entrance. Fascinated, MacNeil’s artist-eye and imagination took every opportunity to see the show and sketch the ceremonies and rituals of Indian life — MacNeil often carried a sketch book. He latter befriended Black Pipe, a Sioux warrior from the show, who he found down-and-out on the Chicago streets after the carnival midways of the Fair had  closed.  MacNeil invited Black Pipe to model for him and assist in studio labors, which he did for over a year.  Inspired by these native subjects and encouraged by Edward Everett Ayers, MacNeil found a respect for this vanishing Native culture and made subsequent trips to the southwest.  When the Marquette Building was constructed, MacNeil was awarded a commission to complete Four Bas Relief Panels  of over the main entrance.  His work depicts four scenes from Marquette’s trip through the Great Lakes region.”

“In the summer of 1895, along with Hamlin Garland (a writer) and C. F. Browne (a painter), he traveled to the four-corners territories (now, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah) seeing American Indians (Navajo, and Moqui — now Hopi) in their changing cultural element on various reservations.  While there, he was asked to sculpt, out of available materials, a likeness of Chief Manuelito. The Navajo warrior had died in despair after being imprisoned for four years as a renegade by the U. S. Government (Col. Kit Carson) twenty-five years earlier.  Manuelito’s likeness (click here), made of available materials, brought tears to his widow’s eyes, and remains an object of cultural pride in Gallup, New Mexico to this day.” SOURCE: Click HERE

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 ]

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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

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2. Take close up photos of details that you like
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