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 ???

 

 

Jo Davidson, Sculptor, 1937

Hermon A. MacNeil sketch by Charles D. Daughtrey.

Jo Davidson

started as a

“studio boy” for

Hermon MacNeil

in 1903.

NOW,

February 2021  

MacNeil Month 

will showcase

FOUR Stories of

“Hermon and Jo”

from their nearly fifty years of friendship.

PLUS A SURPRISE BIRTHDAY

UNVEILING  on  February 27th !!!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

STORY # 1  

Jo Davidson ~ begins here …

From his late teen-years to his mid twenties,

Jo appears as a talented, outgoing, vagabond.  

A vagabond can be defined as …

  • an itinerant,  a wanderer, a nomad,
  • a wayfarer, a traveler, a gypsy
  • a person who wanders
  • from place to place
  • without a home or job.
Home Life
In Between Sittings, his autobiography, Jo sculpts his early home life in shapes of restlessness, rovering, and hunger. 
“I was born on New York’s lower East Side and the memories of early youth are vague and shadowy. I remember long, dark halls, crowded tenements, strange sour smells, drab unpainted walls and moving — we were always moving. … we were exceedingly poor and often didn’t have enough to eat.”Between Sittings, p. 3.
 Samantha Baskind tells Jo’s story this way: Davidson was born in the ghetto of New York’s Lower East Side to immigrant parents who had fled the Russian pogroms Encyclopaedia Judaica.
[ def.: pogroms: ethnic cleansing, persecutions, massacres, exterminations, slaughter …]
Jo “was the youngest of five children in a household of greatly limited means.”  “He had a step-brother, George, and three sisters; Nancy, Rachel, and Rose.”2
Jo’s parents had real fears and emotional scars from the traumas of those anti-Jewish persecutions in Russia.  After his parents emigrated to the U.S., Jo was born in New York City on March 30, 1883.  Jo inherited a restless wanderer’s spirit as a an offspring of terrorized generations “who had fled the Russian pogroms”  MORE.
Jo’s father, Jacob, was Jewish and a man “who lived completely within himself.” His father was “orthodox, self-absorbed, and more intent on religion than on his family.”2   He believed in miracles and fanatically hoped to hold the winning ticket in some lottery.  His father’s friends teased Jacob asking if he would rather have a SON or win a MILLION dollar lottery. So after Jo was born, he was nicknamed by friends and family, “The Million.” 
“Father had beautiful eyes, a long white beard, and the face of a prophet.  I can still see him moving about the house almost like a spirit.  He was always praying and a sign of affection from him was a rarely given luxury.” *  Between Sittings, p. 3.  and  Joel Rosenkranz, Rediscoveries…, p. 11.
Jo went with his Father, Jacob, to synagogue on Saturdays, but kept out of his way for fear of offending him. When he asked “where did Cain get his wife?” his Father father smacked him down by stating that “with God everything is possible.”
Jacob Davidson, definitely had plans and ambitions for his son.  The MILLION became the sarcastic “BRIS”  label of blessing for Jacob’s only son.  That moniker became a life-long label in Jo’s Life.  Seven decades later, Jo entitled Chapter 1 of his autobiography, “THE MILLION!”  Even after his death, Lois Harris Kuhn in her biography,The World of Jo Davidson, offered her young Jewish readers the following explanation:
“No one was ever to know for certain what it was that Jacob Davidson thought that having a son meant.  Whatever it was, it was obvious  — almost right away — that Jo was unlike anyone his father had expected.  In Fact, Jo was like no one else.  He asked far to many questions.  He made pictures of everything he saw. He was so filled with life and laughter that everyone around him responded to it.  Everybody — everything — small or large — interested Jo.!  It was a good thing for a boy that his mother, Haya, understood him completely. ” [ Kuhn, The World of Jo Davidson, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, Jewish Publication Society, New York, 1958. p. 4.]
Jo’s personality was much like his mother, Haya, (nee: Getzoff) “was full of an unquenchable fire that brought life to everything around her… .”
“She was tiny, energetic, practical, the one on whom the whole family leaned.  The Davidson’s were exceedingly poor and often didn’t get enough to eat.  She would distract the family from their hunger with her wonderful story telling of her past life in Russia, her grandfather who adored her and raised her, and their father’s family filled with scholars and rabbis.” Between Sittings, p. 3,
She was a wonderful cook, could stretch a half-pound of meat into a dozen mouths.  Food was very scarce, but restlessness flourished.
“It is curious how little I remember of my school days. I was always in a dream, vague and lazy.  I understand now — being underfed, I wanted to sleep all the time.
Yet for all their poverty,  Jo recalls the touch of “a warm glow which came from my mother (Haya) and sisters (Nancy, Rachel, and Rose) who surrounded me with love and affection.”
Between Sittings, p. 3, 6. And Joel Rosenkranz, Rediscovderies
A Train Wreck of JOBS
The needs of the family forced Jo to leave school in his teens. What followed were a series of itinerant, dead-end tasks.  He first got a job as an apprentice to a house-painter and paperhanger.  He worked 12 hour a day, preparing pots and paints in the mornings and washing up and cleaning brushes after returning from jobs. “I don’t remember how I lost that job, but I did,”
 
What followed was a succession of endeavors: messenger boy at Western Union, office boy at a weekly, and errand boy at a bookstore.  Each job ran off the tracks, as he worked too fast for fellow piece-workers, or then slowed down, and got fired by the boss. 
 
When he got board he would sit and sketch, friends, cats, anything in sight. When he sketched other messenger boys, they told him “Jo, you are wasting your time, you ought to get a job at a newspaper.”  In between jobs, he hung around art galleries, or visited the afternoon drawing class at the Educational Alliance. Eventually the idea of becoming an artist appealed to him.
 
Talent Leads the Way
His sister, Rachie, was teaching public school.  She showed some of Jo’s sketches  to an interested friend who obtained a year’s tuition for Jo at the Art Students League. He enrolled in evening classes becoming the youngest member of the live class drawing from nude living models.   There he also met a friend, Waterbury, who taught pyrography — burning in sketches on leather with a pyrographic needle.  He mastered the technique and could sell piece work for good pay. 
 
He continued evening drawing classes at the Art Students League.  On weekends he would go to a country sketch club and on Sundays he would paint on Richmond Hill on Staten Island.  He said his paintings were timid and pale.  One in a discussion group he was asked if he could shut his eyes and mentally see a desired color, red, blue, yellow.  Jo recalls, ” I tried and tried but all my concentration produced nothing and it was then that I decided I was not a painter.” Between Sittings, p. 8-10.

For some time, Jo’s family thought he should become a doctor. So he was sent to New Haven moved in with his sister, Nancy, and her husband, David, a graduate of Yale Medical School.  In between cramming for Regents’ exam, Jo befriended Randall the college photographer. He loaned Jo a photograph of Dr. Arthur Hadley, of Yale University.  Jo  began using his skills to make a burnt wood portrait of the new president.  When Jo finished, Randall displayed it in his storefront window. The next morning Jo returned to the store to find a crowd of people looking in the window at his portrait.  It was marked “sold.”  Jo got a check for $25.

The buyer, Mr. Pardee, requested that Jo visit him in his office.  Seeing the sketchbook in Jo’s pocket, Pardee asked to examine it, then requested permission to show two drawing to the head of the art school.  On seeing the sketches, Professor Neimeyer invited him to come and work in the Art School — tuition free — saying, “We are glad to have young men of talent.” So Jo began drawing a live model with other Art School students. Eventually he sketched the model from so many angles that he tired and lost interest.  Taking a break, he roved through the  building. He found a basement room full of plaster casts and modeling stands, and he walked in. 

Jo finds CLAY and “touches the rest of his life … ”

“I found the clay bin, put my hand in it, and touched the rest of my life. The cool wet stuff gave me a thrill that I had never before experienced.” 

He began building clay on a stand, copying a mask of Saint Francis nearby.  He lost track of time, then was startled when he realized  the modeling instructor, Mr. Boardman, was standing behind him.  The instructor asked how long Jo had studied modeling.  Jo said this was the first time he had touched clay.

He did not seem to believe me, which gave me the feeling it was not too bad.  We talked for a long time and the result was that I decided to chuck medicine and take up sculpture.”  Jo asked who taught sculpture and was given the name of Hermon A. MacNeil.  Between Sittings, p. 8-10.

Hermon MacNeil ~ enters Jo’s life …

JO finds Hermon MacNeil and his College Point Studio.

“By 1903, with his flirtation with a medical career ended, Jo was back in New York working as an assistant in sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s studio.” RosenKranz, p. 11.

PHASE ONE ~ Jo and Hermon: A previous story on this website tells the next phase the story

CLICK HERE to read the whole saga as Jo described it, 50 years later after Hermon’s death.  Jo relates meeting Hermon, asking for a job, getting turned down, bargaining for pay from a Scotsman … [click link for More]

PHASE TWO ~ Jo and Hermon WORKING in the MacNeil Atlier with Henri Crenier and John Gregory as the studio boy .  => CLICK HERE for full story …

OR JUST READ JO’S ‘PUNCH-LINE’ TO THE STORY BELOW –

Jo FUNNY STORY concludes:  “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.” 

Hermon MacNeil outside his Studio about 1945. [Courtesy of Kenilworth Historical Society & Joel Rosenkranz. Photo by: Violet Wyld

Jo Davidson (about 1922)

NOTE THIS WELL: 

HERMON’S INTERVENTION:  MacNeil did not scold. He did not raise his voice. He did not even tell Jo to stop, for he probably saw the teasing and taunting that the young 18-year-old had taken from the other Assistants, Henri and John.  In essence he said,

“When you feel you are  sufficiently through pummeling Henri Crenier, (my master assistant), would you mix me a little plaster.”  Jo must have found Hermon to be quiet a contrast to his Father whose “signs of affection were rarely given luxuries”  Fifty years later Jo tells the above story in his biography, then concludes with: “The summer passed quickly. Those were rich and full days. I was sure of my vocation. I was going to be a sculptor.”l

Rich and full, the “sculptor to be” went on searching the world for another decade to develop his own style and skills as a sculptor.  Then in the next 40 years, Jo Davidson shaped portrait busts of over a hundred world famous peopleBUT the kindness of Hermon MacNeil seemed to be a pleasant memory.

MORE “HERMON & JO” STORIES TO COME …  on Feb 8th

#2  The Wanderer & The Monument Maker

~~~~

NOTES:

  1.  Jo Davidson, Between Sittings: an informal autobiography of Jo Davidson. Dial Press: New York, 1951. PP. 3.
  2. Connor, Janis and Joel Rosenkranz, photographs by David Finn, Rediscoveries in American Sculpture: Studio Works, 1893 – 1939, University of Texas Press, Austin TX 1989.

SOURCES: 

  • Jo Davidson, Between Sittings: an informal autobiography of Jo Davidson. Dial Press: New York, 1951. PP. 3-16.
  • TIME, “Political Notes: Glamor Pusses.” VOL. XLVIII, No. 11, September 9, 1946. pp
  • Connor, Janis and Joel Rosenkranz, photographs by David Finn, Rediscoveries in American Sculpture: Studio Works, 1893 – 1939, University of Texas Press, Austin TX 1989.
  • Jo Davidson, (1883-1952). Jewish Virtual Library: a project of AICE. Source:  https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jo-davidson. recovered on Jan 11, 2021.

PAN                                              MINERVA

 Two bas relief panels by Hermon A. MacNeil have been discovered.  PAN on the left – MINERVA on the right.

They have remained virtually hidden for  over 100 years.

Their original installation and images are verified, but their continued deposition as of 2021 remains uncertain.

The above article from 1916 accompanied the the photos of Pan and Minerva in The International Studio, Vol 59, p LVIII.

Hermon A. MacNeil sculpted these bas reliefs over  a century ago.  Documentation of Pan and Minerva has appeared in recent searches by the webmaster.  

Information discovered in recent weeks include:

  • A Pair of Bas-reliefs of PAN and MINERVA
  • Material: 2 terra cotta reliefs
  • Dimensions: 2 1/2 feet by 4 feet
  • Mr. Hill Tolerton, Owner
  • William C. Hays, Architect
  • Location: 540 Sutter St., San Francisco
  • Building originally designed as an Art establishment
  • Made in Italian Renaissance style with an  upper mezzanine level
  • Adjoining Courtyard patterned after that of the Italian Building in the late Pan-Pacific Exposition  of 1915
  • The 2 reliefs no longer appear on the face of the building as was the stated design. [SEE Google street PHOTO included  below of 540 Sutter Street today]
  • The above images are the only record of the MacNeil work presently found.  Other evidence may be uncovered in subsequent searches.

Mr. Tolerton wanted the facade of his new Art Gallery on Sutter Street in San Francisco ornamented by two “sculptured placques”.  He commissioned MacNeil, a sculptor of the Pan Pacific Exposition of 1915, to make these reliefs of Pan and Minerva to grace his new Art building.

One of Pan the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr.

The other of Minerva the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools, and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena.

THESE TWO ICONS MARKED TOLERTON’S NEW BUILDING AS AN ART CENTER.  [ They do not appear in the street photo captured below from 2020 ]

No trace of the MacNeil bas relief panels of Pan and Minerva at 540 Sutter Street, San Francisco in this 2020 street photo via Google maps. Perhaps they were originally in the space high above the doorway and window a century ago in what now appears as stucco finish.  SO, … PAN & MINERVA still remain hidden in the 21st century — if they still exist at all!

SOURCES:

  1. “Two Bas Reliefs by Hermon A. MacNeil”, The International Studio, Ed: Charles Holmes, et. al. Vol.59, p. lviii.  from Google Books on 1/3/2021 at https://books.google.com/books?id=q09aAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR58&dq=Pan+Minerva+san+francisco+Mr.+Hill+Tolerton+1916&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiWheuZtYPuAhVWZc0KHWyZDScQ6AEwAHoECAMQAg#v=onepage&q=Pan%20Minerva%20san%20francisco%20Mr.%20Hill%20Tolerton%201916&f=false
  2. “A New San Francisco Gallery”, American Art News.  Vol. XIV, No. 33, New York, May 20, 1916. p. 1.

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/

 

As we begin the New Year of 2021, we have found a Bronze Bust of Samuel Longstreth Parrish by Hermon A. MacNeil.  This work has graced Southampton Village, Long Island for a century, but was not been previously credited on this growing virtual gallery of MacNeil’s works. https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/ 

Bronze Bust of Samuel Longstreth Parrish by Hermon A. MacNeil.

“Samuel Parrish, a wealthy New York attorney, made Southampton his adoptive home at the end of the 19th century and became one of its most active citizens and generous benefactors until his death in 1932. During the boom years at the dawn of the 20th century, he was involved in every major civic project. He donated land for Southampton Hospital, helped to establish the Rogers Memorial Library, served briefly as village president (mayor) and founded the Parrish Art Museum, which he considered his crowning achievement. He commissioned Stanford White to build a house for his mother on First Neck Lane and made many improvements to the Rogers Mansion, which was his home from 1899 until his death.” — Copy courtesy of the Southampton Historical Museum.

Samuel Longstreth Parrish standing inside his art museum. [Photo postcard of Samuel Parrish in his Museum. Circa 1907.  SOURCE: Arts and Architect Quarterly, at https://aaqeastend.com/contents/woodward-local-postcard-sampling/ on 1/1/2021]

Samuel L. Parrish Art Museum, 1898. Source: www.southamptoncenter.org

Parrish Art Museum ~ 2017

The original idea for the museum came to Samuel Parrish, who had studied the Italian Renaissance at Harvard College, while he was on a trip through Italy in 1896 gathering pieces and reproductions of Greek and Roman sculpture. Parrish commissioned fellow Southampton summer resident Grosvenor Atterbury to design the museum. 

 

Southampton Village Walking Tour

Woodward: Local Postcard Sampling

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Christmas Eve 1895.

Chicago, Illinois

There was a Wedding in …

Hermon MacNeil’s Studio

~ 1733 Marquette Building ~

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

Carol Louise Brooks as a young girl. An Etching by William Harry Warren Bicknell. (about 1891)

 

 

Every Christmas we remember this

Special Christmas Day Wedding of two sculptors. 

They met in Chicago, Carol’s hometown as they sculpted the “White City” of The Worlds Columbian Exposition (aka. Chicago Worlds Fair). That event opened in May 1893.  

Hermon made figures on the Electricity Building. Carol (Carrie) was a student of Lorado Taft and became a “White Rabbit”, that group of select females  permitted to sculpt as the deadline for opening day loomed closer.

Two years later Hermon, age 29, proposed to Carol (Carrie) just 24.  She accepted. They got a Marriage License on Christmas Eve and used it the next day.  Several weeks later they sailed to Rome where Hermon had accepted the Reinhart Fellowship and they both continued to learn sculpture for 3 years.  And then spent a a fourth year in Paris.

~ Christmas Day 1895 ~

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

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
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.           WATCH US GROW

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the work from all angles, including setting.
2. Take close up photos of details that you like
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of you & others beside the work.
5. Tell your story of adventure. It adds personal interest.
6. Send photos to ~ Webmaster at: HAMacNeil@gmail.com