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 World’s Fairs

In the 1890’s Women Sculptors were not accepted as students by many established sculptors. One exception was Larado Taft of Chicago. He taught and encouraged many female student artist to develop their skills as sculptors.

Lorado Taft and sculpture class

Description:Photograph of Lorado Taft and his sculpture class at the Chicago Art Institute (ca. 1890s). Identified individuals are Carrie Brooks McNeil (seated, front left), Julia Bracken (seated front right), Will LeFavor (standing second from left in checkered apron), and Lorado Taft (standing third from right in black vest). (Note 1)

The White Rabbits

The story is told by Wikipedia as follows: As the date of the fair’s opening grew closer, Taft realized that he would not be able to complete the decorations in time. Discovering that all the male sculptors he had in mind were already employed elsewhere, he asked Daniel Burnham if he could use women assistants, an occurrence that was virtually unheard of at that time. Burnham’s reply was that Taft could “hire anyone, even white rabbits, if they can get the work done.” Taft, an instructor of sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute who had many qualified women students and who frequently employed women assistants himself, brought in a group of women assistants who were promptly dubbed “the White Rabbits.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rabbits_(sculptors)

From the ranks of the White Rabbits were to emerge some of the most talented and successful women sculptors of the next generation. These include:

Horticultural Building

Horticulture Building of World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Women Sculptors nick named the “White Rabbits” created much of the work on this building. Carol Louise Brooks (later MacNeil) was one of those sculptors. (Note 2)

Besides their work on the Horticultural Building, several of the White Rabbits were to obtain other commissions to produce sculpture at the Exposition. Among these were Lawrence’s statue of Columbus, placed in front of the Administration Building, Yandell’s Daniel Boone for the Kentucky Building, Bracken’s Illinois Greeting the Nations in the Illinois Building, and Farnsworth’s Columbia for the Wisconsin Building.

Enid Yandell’s “Daniel Boone” in Louisville, Kentucky
Note 3. SOURCE: PJ Chmiel https://farm1.staticflickr.com/196/497505305_c32f7e852d_b.jpg
Horticulture Building of World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Women Sculptors nick named the “White Rabbits” created much of the work on this building. Carol Louise Brooks (later MacNeil) was one of those sculptors. (Note 2)

Notes:

  1. Original photo found in RS 26/20/16, Box 25, Art Institute Classes. Phys. Desc: TIFF     Original photo is 7.75″ x 4.5″ ID:0006291. Repository: University of Illinois Archives. Found in: Lorado Taft Papers, 1857-1953. Subjects: American SculptureChicago Art Institute Taft, Lorado, 1860-1936. Rights:This image is in the public domain. Please contact us if you would like to purchase a high-resolution copy of the image.
  2. [CREDITS: By C.D. Arnold – Arnold, C.D., The World’s Columbian Exposition: Portfolio of Views, Issued by the Department of Photography, National Chemigraph Company, Chicago, 1893, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29205089]
  3. PHOTO: Daniel Boone statue; by PJ Chmiel. See his gallery on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjchmiel/  also https://farm1.staticflickr.com/196/497505305_c32f7e852d_b.jpg

 

One Hundred and twenty-three years (123) ago, Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks were on married Christmas Day.

Recently an invitation to their Wedding Reception came available from the estate of Walter Pratt. He was a first cousin of Hermon. A facsimile appears below.

Married in a private ceremony on Christmas Day Hermon and Carol MacNeil had a reception in the Marquette Building

Noteworthy, is the location of the reception: the “Studio 1733 Marquette Building Chicago, Adams and Dearborn Streets, Chicago”. Recovery of this printed invitation adds several previously unknown facts to the story of their wedding day.  The 19th Century Marquette Building is the 21st Century home of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The wedding earlier in the day was a private ceremony. Rev. Edward F. Williams, a Congregational Minister, officiated. Their license, completed in Rev. Williams hand, appears below.

Marriage License of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks issued on December 24th, 1895 and completed on Christmas Day 1895 by Rev. Edward F. Williams, Congregational Minister.

“Marriage: On Christmas Day 1895, in Chicago, he married Carol Louise Brooks, also a sculptor (see their marriage record below). Earlier MacNeil was informed that he had won the Rinehart Roman Scholarship. Following their wedding, the pair left for Rome, passing three years there (1896-1899) and eventually spend a fourth year in Paris where their first son, Claude, was born.  During those years they studied together under the same masters and shared the income of the Rinehart scholarship awarded to Hermon. (Carol had also studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies).”

Both Carol and Hermon sculpted for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Carol Brooks was one of Lorado Taft’s “White Rabbits”

Lorado Taft’s “White Rabbits” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rabbits_(sculptors)

Hermon sculpted statues on the Electricity Building (See picture below)

Sketch of Hermon MacNeil from a newspaper article announcing the 1895 award of the Rinehart Prize
Carol Brooks MacNeil in 1907 with their two sons, Claude (rt) and Alden (lt) at their College Point Home in Queens, NYC, NY where she lived until her death in 1944.

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. Hermon MacNeil ~ “The Most Happy Young Man I Know!” (10) ~ Christmas Day 1895 ~ In 1895, Amy Aldis Bradley…
  3. Hermon MacNeil at the 1893 Columbian Exposition ~ ~ ~ THE CHICAGO YEARS ~ ~ (9) CHICAGO YEARS:  Partners and Colleagues When Hermon MacNeil came home to the…
  4. “PRIMITIVE INDIAN MUSIC” ~ Part 3: 1894 Eda Lord’s Ticket to the Chicago World’s Fair (9) Eda Lord, (the woman who purchased the MacNeil bronze statue,…
  5. The MacNeil’s Chicago Wedding – Christmas Day 1895 (9) I sit here in Chicago during this Christmas Season, imagining…
  6. MacNeil – Brooks 120th Anniversary (1895-2015) (7) On Christmas Day one dozen decades ago, Hermon A. MacNeil…

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)

 

 

 

 

 

The year 2016 marks the sesquicentennial of the birth of Hermon Atkins  MacNeil on February 27, 1886.

2016-rev-1

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

While we celebrate each February as “MacNeil Month,”  this year is extra special as the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Several events during 2016 will acknowledge that here on HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com:

.

 

  • The newly commissioned 2016 MacNeil Medallion will be available for sale on eBay.  CLICK HERE
  • Postings will continue to celebrate the life and art of Hermon A. MacNeil.
  • Kisimul Castle the home of the MacNeil Chieftans from the 14th century, will be featured.
  • The origins of the MacNeil Clan on the Isle of Barra in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides will be visited with photos and history .
  • The webmaster’s ongoing travels and activity will be presented as his “Search for Uncle Hermon” continues as a odyssey of retirement.
  • Antique “MacNeil Postcards” of some of his sculptures across the U. S. will be presented as features.
  • MacNeil’s years in Paris will be revisited with photos of the newly restored Ecole de Beaux Arts where he studied and taught.
  • MacNeil’s teachers in Paris will be featured with photos of their sculptures in the Musee d’Orsay in the center of Paris. This museum was built as the railroad station for the Universal Exposition of 1900 in which MacNeil and his contemporary sculptors exhibited and received prizes.
  • Our recent Travels to Scotland will be featured with photos and stories.
  • Our travels to France this year will be shared.

ALL in ALL, 2016 begins as a banner year for this website. SO stay tuned.

Better yet, SUBSCRIBE by clicking the button.

Carol Brooks MacNeil - 1907 - Twelve years after her marriage to Hermon

Carol Brooks MacNeil – 1907 – Twelve years after her marriage to Hermon

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch - Chicago-Sun

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch – The Sun (New York City)

On Christmas Day one dozen decades ago, Hermon A. MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks were married in Chicago, Illinois.  The pair were both sculptors who met while working on the World’s Colombian Exposition of 1893, better known as the Chicago World’s Fair.

Carol was a student of Lorado Taft and became one of the White Rabbits. These female sculptors were hired (commissioned) to help finish the 100’s of sculptures needed to finish the buildings, fountains, arcades, for the White City of the Chicago Worlds Fair.  

Previous postings celebrate this MacNeil-Brooks Wedding:

  1. Christmas Day Wedding for Two Young Sculptors! Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks

  2. “The Most Happy Young Man I Know” ~ Hermon A. MacNeil ~ Success & Marriage!
  3. Christmas Day Wedding for Two Young Sculptors! Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks

  4. MacNeil’s Chicago Wedding

Eda Lord's Chicago World's Fair Ticket from 'Chicago Day.' Her great-great grandson, Jim Dixon found it an a box of her memobilia from the era when she bought her MacNeil sculpture.

Eda Lord’s Chicago World’s Fair Ticket from ‘Chicago Day.’ (Her great-great grandson, Jim Dixon found it an a box of her memobilia from the era when she bought her MacNeil sculpture.)

My recent post about our December 3rd journey on the CTA Blue Line train to the Chicago Loop and the Art Institute of Chicago ended with a discussion of “The Sun Vow” and my photo array taken in the Sculpture Court.  [Searching for Uncle Hermon in Chicago ~ “The Sun Vow” ]

Another MacNeil piece just steps away in the adjoining American Gallery provides a “preface” to the story of “The Sun Vow”.

Modeled in 1894 that earlier piece was called “Vow of Vengeance.” It shows one of MacNeil’s early studies in Native American depiction.  It followed his exposure to the Chicago World Fair, his fascination with sketching the Indians in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and his modeling work with Black Pipe. (Black Pipe was a young Sioux who worked in Hermon’s studio and modeled for several pieces during 1893-94.  He helped with physical labor in the studio as well.  CLICK for MORE on Black Pipe and “Primitive Chant”) 

IMG_0697

MacNeil’s early study “Vow of Vengeance” that evolved into “The Sun Vow”. Art Institute of Chicago. [ Photo Credit: Dan Leininger, 2014 ]

Several pieces dated 1894 seemed to be early prototypes for later larger works and castings.  The “Vow of Vengeance” appears to be one of the more prominent.  I know of no other copies elsewhere.

A blog about the Art Institute observes some mingling of the identity of the two pieces:

The Vow of Vengeance -1894
By Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
What’s in a name?
Well, somehow I noticed a discrepancy in the name..
The Art Institute website calls it – The Vow of Vengeance [1894]
But marker at the Art Institute has the name – The Sun Vow [Modeled-1898, Cast-1901]. http://theartinstituteofchicago.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html.

 The Two “Vows” Compared  IMG_0698

While the “Vow of Vengeance” and “The Sun Vow” contain similar elements, what they communicate seems quite different:

  1. TITLE: The two titles carry contrasting emotional messages. The first (Vow of Vengeance) conveys negative aggression and hostile feeling toward some enemy, while the second (Sun Vow) depicts a more positive rite of passage from boyhood to manhood within a setting of family and tribal affirmation.
  2. GROUPING: The boy and the Elder (Warrior, Chief) are grouped to convey different emotional tones in the two pieces.  In “Vengeance,” the chief wears his war bonnet on his head. He is dressed to present tribal authority to the enemy. His face seems harsh and his posture stiff.  The Boy strains his head high up into the air.  Their grouping seems tense. IMG_0678In “Sun Vow” the two figures are closer and seem to be “more one.” The Chief has removed his bonnet so as to lean into the boy’s line of sight. The boy is also more grace-full. He looks to the arrow and the sun without straining.  Both gaze in the seeming wonder and mystical pleasure of the physical rite. 

1894 ~ Prototype Year:

In addition to the “Vow of Vengeance” we have found evidence of another prototype from 1894.

A previous posting tells James Dixon’s story of a MacNeil piece acquired by his Great-great grandmother, Edna Lord.  The sculpture bears the title  “Primitive Music” on its base.  [ CLICK Here for more ]

Photos on that previous post suggest that Edna Lord’s  “Primitive Indian Music” was an early prototype of the “Primitive Chant” (which was much more polished and finely surfaced)

It is also based on “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave. MacNeil  first saw Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show and we know that he returned many times to study the Indians.   Like MacNeil, I have return to this story of “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave, numerous times, and perhaps, will return many more.  ~~  DNL

Hermon MacNeil ~ After the World’s Columbian Exposition

The period after the end of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair was a lean, even dry time, financially for Hermon MacNeil. We do know that he continued to maintain a studio, sculpt models, teach at the Art Institute of Chicago, and associate with art colleagues and benefactors there. Yet, it seems a productive time of transition, expression, and experimentation for the as the young sculptor.

Traveling to the Art Museum, we walked out of the underground on Dearborn Street just a block south of the Marquette Building which is home to Hermon MacNeil’s 1895 sculptures of 4 bronze relief panels [Cick Here]. This commission marked his recognition and selection for the award of the Rinehart Roman Scholarship.  This began 3 years in Rome and another in Paris for he and his young bride, Carol Brooks. The bronze reliefs stands today as an icon to Marquette and his life among the Native peoples. The building has been restored by the MacArthur Foundation and now houses their international headquarters.

Those works tell the story Father Marquette explorations to Native peoples of Illinois. MacNeil would return to Chicago and the Marquette themes three decades later as he sculpted the bronze grouping [CLICK HERE] of Pere Marquette, Louis Jolliete, and an Illinois Indian on Marshall Boulevard.  Commissioned by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson  Monument Fund, this sculpture has faced the greenway of the boulevard for 88 years.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at hefoot of the Monument.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at hefoot of the Monument.

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
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.
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