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 Statue

  • What is the future of this statue?

“Confederate Defender of

Charleston?”

Given the recent violence around Confederate monuments,

And the removal of others

one must wonder. 

 

How long will this pair point out to

 

Fort Sumter Bay?

 

Since 1932 if this monument has stood in

Charleston harbor at Battery Park.

Twice it has been vandalized with spray paint.

 

Is the sun setting on this piece?

only time will tell…

Hermon A. MacNeil’s words at the dedication:

“Its motif in brief, is that the stalwart youth, standing in front with sword and shield, symbolizes by his attitude the defense not only of the fort, but also of the fair city behind the fort in which are his most prized possessions, wife and family. And she, the wife, glorified into an Athena-like woman, unafraid, stands behind him with arms outstretched toward the fort, this creating an inseparable union of the city and Fort Sumter.”

“BLACK LIVES MATER. THIS IS THE PROBLEM RACISM”. SOURCE: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/statue-honoring-confederacy-defaced-charleston-park-article-1.2266043

MacNeil’s “Confederate Defenders” was completed as a studio model in 1931. This is is an autographed photo of the model of Confederate Defenders of Charleston Monument pictured in MacNeil’s studio in College Point, NY before completion of the full bronze sculpture as dedicated on October 20, 1932

 

 

 

“THE CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY FOUGHT THE CAUSE OF SLAVERY WAS WRONG.” SOURCE: The Blaze ( http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/07/11/charleston-confederate-monument-vandalized-again-this-time-with-obama-quote/ )

Can America as a nation get beyond the “birthmark of slavery” present throughout our founding, our history, our civil war, our Jim Crow violence, our Civil Rights battles, our ongoing prejudice, discrimination, and claims of racial supremacy?

The answer is up to us.

An excerpt From President Barack Obama’s

FAREWELL ADDRESS

January 10, 2017

“I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written; Yes we can.”

“BLACK LIVES MATER. // THIS IS THE PROBLEM #RACISM”. http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/06/21/21/29D7C09E00000578-3133597-Confederate_monument_vandalized-a-58_1434918039434.jpg

The MacNeil sculpture entitled “The Coming of the White Man” that sits atop the hill in Portland’s Washington Park was part of a larger celebration.

The Lewis and Clark Cennentenial Exposition of 1904 was Portland’s version of a “White City” — (Deja Vu Chicago’s Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1893!  That Worlds Fair marked the 400th Anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus in his discovery of the American continent.)

While the 1893 Fair focused the world’s spotlight on Chicago, this commemoration 1904-5 brought Portland and the West into the eyes of the young nation.  

Webmaster Dan Leininger admires MacNeil’s Lewis & Clark Centennial sculpture in its wooded setting. The beauty of this piece is seen in the detail and emotion that is captured in the bronze.

Only three statues remain from the Portland exposition.  All these surviving sculptures commemorate the 1804 Expedition from the Native American perspective. While MacNeil’s piece may be the most prominent, another noble native stands majestically nearby. 

Down the hill to the east and south on a large rock out cropping, rests Alice Cooper’s rendition of “Sacajawea.”  Her powerful, yet gentle, sculpture tells another tale of a heroic Native American. The native woman of this dramatic bronze raises her arm above the horizon pointing to the west as does the large mounting stone base.  Clad in flowing leather skirts, she bears her infant son (Jean Baptiste) swaddled to her back.  

On the base of the piece is the sculptor’s name: “Alice Cooper, Sc. 1905 Copyright”. On the opposite side the casting mark: “Henry Bonnard Bronze Founders, N.Y. 1905”

On the east side of the mounting stone a bronze plaque states the following story of this monumental piece: 

ERECTED

BY THE WOMEN OF THE UNITED STATES

IN MEMORY OF SACAJAWEA

THE ONLY WOMAN

IN THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION

AND IN HONOR OF

THE PIONEER WOMEN OF OLD OREGON.

 

She carries her young and points the way.

 

According to a Wikipedia reference

The sculpture was commissioned for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905) by the Committee of Portland Women, who requested a sculpture of “the only woman in the Lewis and Clark Expedition and in honor of the pioneer mother of old Oregon.”[1] Funding sources included the Port of Portland and Women for Lewis and Clark Exposition, which was supported by women across the Western United States.[1] The sculpture was unveiled on July 6, 1905 and originally stood in the center of the exposition’s plaza.[2] Suffragists present at the dedication included Susan B. Anthony, Abigail Scott Duniway and Anna Howard Shaw.[1] The statue was relocated to Washington Park on April 6, 1906, upon the fair’s completion.[2] According to the Regional Arts & Culture Council, which administers the sculpture, Cooper was the first female artist to be represented in Portland’s public sculpture collection.[1]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacajawea_and_Jean-Baptiste

COMMENTS:  Much of the Portland Fair celebrated American Progress in very masculine terms of discovery and expansion. In contrast the two statues by MacNeil and Cooper gave recognition to the perspective of the Native Cultures already existing in the Northwest.  

Alice Cooper was a contemporary of Hermon MacNeil.  Both were trained in the Beau Arts style of allegorical interpretation. She studied with Lorado Taft at the Chicago Art Institute where MacNeil met and married Carol Brooks, an earlier student of Taft. Cooper also studied in New York City at the Art Students League in MacNeil’s first year of teaching there, around 1900-1902.  Their two careers had many overlapping places and periods

These two statues have remained as lessons in bronze on the history and expansion of America.  Intriguingly, they tell their story more from the perspective of First Nation people.  They are rich in the allegorical symbolism of the Beau Arts training from which these sculptors imagined and fashioned their tactical creative work.

We can be thankful for the empowering benefactors of the David Thompson Family and the Women of America and Oregon in particular.  Without their vision and determination these pieces would not grace the Washington Park of Portland or the pages of www.HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com 

For more story, stay tuned for PART THREE or visit the link below and the related postings listed for www.HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com 

The Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition: Portland’s “World’s Fair”

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May 8th I will be able to complete a “bucket list” check-off by visiting the “Coming of the White Man”.

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 Columbia River granite.

Post Card of 1905 Statue before the oak branch was broken. MacNeil selected the stone for the base and supervised its delivery from the quarry to the hill where it was hauled up by a four horse team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to take my own photos of the Statue in its Washington Park setting.  I have told MacNeil’s stories of this piece, but have never had the pleasure of seeing it myself and spending time there. 

Other posts related to the “The Coming of the White Man”  [Click HERE]

More to come after May 8th.

 

Last Saturday while traveling home to South Dakota, I made an unscheduled stop at Reed Chevrolet in St. Joe, MO.   As I took the exit ramp off I-29 at Frederick Ave., the red light on my Chevy Silverado dash told me that the alternator was failing. 

I was planning to stop at Hazel’s Coffee to get some of our favorite beans to bring home, but I drove a block farther into Reed Chevrolet for emergency repairs.

While waiting for repairs, I met Lou Schreck, sales team member there. He gave me  test drive in a new 2017 Red Silverado. 

We drove downtown as Lou gave me his sales low down on Chevy’s 2017 Silverado line. I drove the very red 2017 that felt like a tall limo. 

Lou Schrenk and “Poncho Villa”, Hermon MacNeil’s model for “THE PONY EXPRESS”

I gave Lou a history of the PONY EXPRESS statue in downtown St. Joe, Missouri and took his picture as MacNeil’s bronze mustang soared above.

Webmaster Dan in St. Joe again for the Ump-teenth time

I enjoyed meeting this friendly Chevy man and exploring the Silverado and St Joe again.  Lou got a snapshot of me also with our Pony Express friends.

For more Pony Express stories that I told to Lou, click on this link:

More PONY EXPRESS

The Reed repair shop got me back on the road to home

(I should have got a pic of the truck too. I swiped this from their website)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The Coming of the White Man in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon. This photo shows the legs of the Indian on the left which Jo Davidson painfully modeled in plaster casts. The title is sculpted into the base. The whole group sits on a boulder that MacNeil crafted for the setting from a granite quarry up the Columbia River granite. The granite came to the Park by barge. Then, a team of horses brought it up the hillside, all under MacNeil’s direction and supervision

Jo Davidson continues the narrative of his adventures working in the  Studio of Hermon MacNeil:

Besides being a gardener, a sculptor’s assistant and an errand boy, I also became a model. Henri Crenier had noticed my legs one day while we were swimming and insisted they were just right for the young Indian in ‘The Coming of the White Man.’ MacNeil thought he could save time by making a plaster cast of my legs.

So Gregory and Crenier volunteered to do the job, claiming to be experts in casting from life. I was innocent and did not realize what I was up against. I was rather hairy, and they rather haphazardly rubbed the oil over my legs. That done, they covered my legs with plaster, and as the plaster set, the string that was to separate the two halves of the mold broke. Their fun increased as my temper rose, but I was in plaster up to my loins and was helpless. After setting the plaster became very hot and disagreeable. Mr. Gregory and Mr. Crenier chopped gleefully away, separating the two parts. Having completed that part of the job to their satisfaction, they proceeded to take the mold off my legs. The pain was excruciating, for the hair got mixed up with the plaster and as they pulled the mold off of me my hair went with it. I screamed and swore at them, but my anger only made them laugh louder. They finally got the mold off, leaving my legs like two boiled lobsters. The cast turned out to be a very hairy one. I saw those legs many years later in MacNeil’s studio, and I swear they were hairier than ever!

Henri Crenier took a special delight in teasing me. I liked him and took it good-naturedly. But one day I lost my temper and we came to blows. I knocked him down and relieved my feelings by giving him a healthy pummeling. I was so busy that I did not hear MacNeil come into the studio. Suddenly I heard him say: “ Jo, when you get through, will you mix me a little plaster.”

The summer passed quickly. Those were rich and full days. I was sure of my vocation. I was going to be a sculptor.”

Jo Davidson

Thus in his own words, Jo Davidson recounts becoming the unwitting model for the legs of this younger Indian. 

Jo Davidson sculpting a young Frank Sinatra. (1946) – http://www.highlands-gallery.com/jo-davidson

The plaster casts were made on his very hairy legs.  It proved a painful adventure for the naive teen.  Humored by the absurd scene, the “experienced” sculptors laughed at his embarrassment and discomfort as they removed the plaster casts with his leg hair embedded.

Despite the teasing, Jo Davidson went on to study sculpture, develop his talents, and find his unique place as a sculptor doing what he loved.

The MacNeil Studio no longer stands. In it’s nearly fifty years beside the East River Sound, many sculptor assistants, sculptures, and models of works were shaped in that place.

Postcard of MacNeil studio in College Point. From the webmaster’s collection.

This postcard and the Christmas card of 1912, posted on December 22, 2016, show the exterior of the studio. Pictures of the inside of MacNeil’s studio are rare.

However, one word picture offers a captivating account from about 1902-1903.   (Jo Davidson, Between Sittings, Dial Press: New York, 1941).

As an 18 year-old struggling artist, Jo Davidson aspired to become a sculptor. (http://www.highlands-gallery.com/jo-davidson) 

Though young, he was outgoing, naively confident, and very determined. In his autobiography he shares a fascinating encounter with Hermon MacNeil. Davidson gives a vivid description of both of MacNeil’s studios on Fifty-fifth Street and in College Point. Davidson eventually went on to become a renowned portrait sculptor of over 250 world leaders.  See him below sculpting a bust of General Eisenhower nearly fifty years later.  However, his initial impressions upon MacNeil were much less inspiring. Davidson recounts their meeting with understated humor:

Jo Davidson making a bust of General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1948) SOURCE: Laurant Davidson ( http://www.highlands-gallery.com/jo-davidson )

“On my first visit to New York, I went to the Art Students League and inquired who taught the sculpture class. I was told Herman [sic] A. MacNeil. They gave me his address, the Holbein Studios over the stables on West Fifty-fifth Street. I went to call on him to see if I could get a job in his studio. He asked me whether I had ever done any modeling, and remembering Mister Broadman’s encouragement, I told him I had. MacNeil looked at me quizzically and said, ‘I have to go out for a bit.’ He handed me a blueprint, saying, “ See what you can do with this,’ and took me to a stand piled up with plasticine – the beginning of a Corinthian capital. Then Mac Neil left.”

 “I had never seen a blueprint before in my life. I tried to figure it out, but it was hopeless. I looked around the studio. There were bronze statuettes of Indians; scale models of monuments; photographs of executed work; and some portrait heads. I was fascinated and impressed. I made up my mind to get a job with that man.”

 “I struggled with my Corinthian capital but got nowhere. In the midst of this Mr. MacNeil returned. He looked at the sorry mess I had made of his model, shook his head and asked, ‘How much do you expect to earn in a week?’”

 “I meekly suggested fifteen dollars.

He said, ‘Young man, you will never make that at sculpture.’

I asked him what he would give me, taking for granted that a job was there for me. He was taken unawares and said, ‘Six dollars a week.’ I accepted. He looked defeated and said, ‘All right, Come in Monday morning.’”

 “I went home elated and told my people I had found a job in a great sculptor’s studio. Though they did not approve, I think they caught my enthusiasm; I could hardly wait for Monday morning. At the appointed time, I rang the studio bell. The door opened and Mr. MacNeil stuck his head out of the door scowling.

‘I’ve thought it over,’ he said. ‘You are not worth it.’

I followed him into the studio.

‘What am I worth?’ I asked

‘Four dollars.’

‘All right, I’ll take it’

He gave up. ‘All right, you go to my studio in College Point, Long Island and see Mr. [John] Gregory. Tell him you are the new studio boy.’

The ride was long and expensive, a carfare, a ferry and another carfare I arrived at the MacNeil house, which was on the Sound, in Long Island, and finally found Mr. Gregory

Mr. Gregory was rather brusque: ‘Come on, hang up your things,’ he said, and he introduced me to Henri Crenier, the master sculptor.”

Davidson goes on to describe the MacNeil Studio and his early experiences there. His word picture shares some similarities of old Smithsonian archive photos. 

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)

  

“The studio was a huge barn of a place or, so it appeared to me then. It was full of work in progress. There was the ‘Fountain of Liberty’ which Mr. MacNeil was making for the coming World’s Fair in St. Louis. It consisted of colossal rampant sea-horses, cavorting over a cascade of waves, sea formations and variegated seashells. At the other end of the studio there was an immense group in clay of two Indians – an older Indian standing on his tiptoes with his arms folded across his chest, looking into the distance, the younger Indian with his left hand on the old man’s shoulder and in his right hand waving an olive branch. The title of the group was ‘The Coming of the White Man.’ There were plaster molds and sketches of details of other projects.”

I was bewildered.  John Gregory woke me out of my trance and took me down to the cellar where he was working on some plaster moldings. It didn’t take him long to discover that I knew nothingbut he sensed my eagerness and was quick to give me advise and information. When I got home , I talked everybody’s ear off, but my sister Ray was the only one who listened sympathetically.   She wanted to know all about it and there was so much to tell.” 

STAY TUNED FOR “SO MUCH MORE TO TELL”

SOURCE:  Jo Davidson, Between Sittings: An Informal Autobiography (Dial Press: New York, 1951. Pp.13-16)

 

 

 

 

 

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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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