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 ???

Search Results for "pony express"

In the heart of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri the “Pony Express Rides Again.”

The Pony Express - Saint Joe, Mo

Hermon A. MacNeil’s massive 1940 Sculpture has been heading ‘west’ out of town since its installation at the origin of historic Pony Express trail across Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, to California.

St Joe Missouri to Sacramento California in only 10 days

Visit this Sculpture by Hermon A. MacNeil

[mappress]

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐|⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

Every February is MacNeil Month here,

 … at http://HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com …  Because:

  • Hermon Atkins MacNeil was born on February 27, 1866
  • Thomas Henry McNeil, (his cousin & my grandfather), was born February 29, 1860
  • Two US Presidents that Hermon sculpted had February Birthdays:

    • Abraham Lincoln on February 12, 1809
    • George Washington on February 22, 1732
    • SO we have made each February into our “MacNeil Month”

SO WELCOME TO “MacNeil Month 2022” ~ Our 12th since 2010

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐ ⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

“Sculptor Americanus”

citing Memories of

Hermon A. MacNeil

by Cecelia W. M. MacNeil

~ Part  2, The Antiques Journal, May 1974 ~

 

Cecelia MacNeil credits the following statement to Adolph Block:

“… all that Hermon Atkins MacNeil

lacks

to acquire fame

is a good biographer.”

Adolph Block  should know. He too was a sculptor.     (more)

He studied sculpture with Hermon MacNeil, and Alexander Stirling Calder, both of whom sculpted the two George Washington statues on the Arch.  He studied also with Edward McCartan, another student and studio assistant of Hermon MacNeil.  At the time that Cecelia credits the above quote, Mr. Block was then the editor of The National Sculpture Review, a post he held for many years.

Jo Davidson’s portrait bust of Hermon draped in MacNeil Tartan. This unique piece was made in 1945 at Hermon’s home then cast in bronze.

Block also wrote of Hermon — words that Cecelia quotes saying: “Adolph Block captured Hermon’s spirit in The National Sculpture Review, writing of him with love (a consistent feeling of all who knew Hermon):

“His youth was spent on his father’s farm in fundamental, frugal, and beautiful New England.  In his veins flowed the same kind of blood that pumped through the hearts of  Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, love of life and a vivid imagination born of Scotland’s bonnie brooks, green hills, and rugged rocky shores.

Handsome, he possessed a warm heart, a dry sense of humor, a great talent, the courage of his convictions, and tremendous drive.  Ambitious and industrious, his large eyes were a tornado of activity — he studied, he taught, he created, in whatever order opportunity presented itself. 2

In the second of these articles, Cecelia begins by describing the June day in 1943 when Hermon began dictating his AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH to his secretary.

“My memories and reminiscences of Hermon are still pure and unprecipitated (sic) by chemicals, as his sculptures have become.”  She adds: “I was nursing him through a prolonged attack of tachycardia.  He was feeling much better and was in a jovial mood.”  Cecelia MacNeil, June 1971; (AJ-2, p.28)

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐|⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

Cecelia Weick Muench, R.N.

Home Care Nurse

Years before Cecelia W. Muench became Cecelia MacNeil she was the Home Care Nurse not only for Carol Brooks MacNeil, but also for Hermon MacNeil. 

This was revealed in the TIMELINE drawn from evidence in her three articles series “Sculptor Americanus.”  1,2,3

The following Facts are reported in these articles:

  • Cecelia was present in the MacNeil home for conversations with Hermon MacNeil. 
  • Hermon called his secretary, Marie Mutschler, into the room to take notes
  • The next four pages of the May 1974 article by Cecelia describe Hermon as he told stories of his life.

In my research at the Cornell Library Archives, the “MacNeil Papers”  contain an eleven page typed document entitled “AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL”:

  • The voice narrating this document is that of Hermon MacNeil.
  • On page 11, he ends his Autobiography with two sentences saying:

“In short, I feel that I have had a very fortunate life, living as someone said on ‘THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCULPTURE’.  As I write this in June, 1943, with the world in a terrific struggle it would seem to be true enough for my span of life will not last for the next revival of sculpture.”   

Here Hermon closes his Autobiographical Sketch.

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐|⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

MacNeil Timeline 1940-1947

Changes and Losses in Hermon’s closing years of life

1940  November 19 —  Dedication of the last monumental sculpture of Hermon MacNeil’s career

  • “The Pony Express” dedicated in St. Joseph, Missouri

1943 June   — Hermon MacNeil dictated his AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH to Marie Mutchler, his personal secretary.

  • Cecelia W. Muench, RN, his home care nurse, was present
  • She nursed him through a prolonged attack of tachycardia in June 1943
  • Cecelia also nursed Carol Brooks MacNeil in the MacNeil Home.  She had a front row seat to Hermon’s lived-grief over the last months of his “Carrie.” 

1944 June 22 —  Death of Carol Brooks MacNeil

  • As Carol’s condition worsened, her needs exceeded the home-care options of the day. 
  • Carol was admitted to the Jamacia (Queens) Hospital dying there shortly after.

1945    — Hermon MacNeil’s second marriage to Cecilia W. Muench, R.N. also a widow

1946 February 4Death of Dr. S. Meredith Strong – “The Cowboy Doctor” whose stallion, “Poncho Villa,” was Hermon s model for “The Pony Express” statue. 

1947 October 2 — Death of Hermon MacNeil  

1947 October 18 — MacNeil Will filed in Probate

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES:

  1. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974,  pp. 10-13, 54.
  2. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Second in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, May 1974,  pp. 28-31.
  3. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Third in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, June 1974,  pp. 32-35, 51.
  4. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.

     

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

Twenty-seven years after Hermon MacNeil’s death,  Cecelia Weick MacNeil, his second-wife, wrote a series of three articles which she entitled:

“Sculptor Americanus:

HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL”

Cecelia MacNeil, RN (1945). Born Cecelia Weick in 1897. She served as a nurse in WWI in the European theater. She married Karl Weick in about 1920.

 

Cecelia opens the first of three articles with memories of her 12th Birthday in 1909. 

Born in 1897, Cecelia Weick told the story of first the day that she ever heard the name of “Hermon Atkins MacNeil”  

NOTE:  Thirty-seven years later … Hermon would ask her to marry him.  

As a birthday surprise, her father took her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Ascending into the American Wing, they sat down on a bench near MacNeil’s sculpture group of “The Sun Vow.”  Sixty-four years later, Cecelia described their visit to that sculpture this way:

 

Owen Schweers, my own grandson, in front of “The Sun Vow” that Cecelia Weick and her father saw on her 12th Birthday. He visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City about 110 Years after Cecelia. That particular casting of MacNeil’s statue was placed there by Daniel Chester French.

“The Sun Vow portrays two Indians, elder and younger, chief and future brave, grandfather and grandson.  The grandfather, his body still subtle and strong, is weary just the same. The viewer knows that the chieftain’s feathered head-dress … will never again be worn.  The old Indian holds this symbol of authority on his lap as he presses the young Indian to him.  The grandchild holds an arrowless bow, symbolizing the celebration of coming of age in the in Indian lore but transcending the culture of any age.  For when the young brave is able to shoot an arrow into the son, far enough away so that its decent to earth passes unseen, then he has attained manhood. 

After at least five minutes of silence my father commented.

‘Ceil, the man who created this work is surely one of the greatest American Sculptors. Never, never forget his name.’

I am still a romantic.  My father’s words were to be part of my destiny.  37 years later I married Hermon Atkins MacNeil.”

 

Sculptor AMERICANUS

CECELIA opened her first of three articles with those memories of her 12th Birthday.   Continuing, she describes her sculptor, hero, and sunset-partner with the following phrases:

The Sculptor:

  • MODESTY was so much a part of Hermon MacNeil
    • Will my words of praise cause his spirit to stir ?
    • Will my words cause his truly American soul to BLUSH?
  • A successful bronze gives the sculptor a few steps toward immortality.
  • A Creator of Memorials, Coins and Medals
  • Time has made almost Hermon a forgotten American type …
    • an extinct species
    • whose works are ravaged by time, corrosion, spoilage …
  • Hermon loved sculpting American Indians in their naturalness and beauty.
  • Cecelia cites Jean Stansbury Holden’s description of Hermon in 1907 as:
    • a boyish, slender, medium height, with large eyes that meet you with a twinkle
    • a serious sculptor when working …
    • without pretense of his accomplishments …
    • When keeps his medals from:
      • Chicago Exposition – 1893;
      • Paris Exposition – 1900
      • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY – 1901
      • Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis – 1904
      • and numerous others
      • IN DRAWERS in his studio, and rubs off some of the tarnish before showing them
      • TRULY without Pretension or POMP.

AMERICANUS: 

Quoting Jean Stansbury Holden she adds,

“While his work shows this variety in subject and treatment, one quality runs through it all; Whatever he touches is, in its very essence American; it smacks of the soil.” 1

Mrs. MacNeil then suggests:

American history can be studied by totaling up Hermon’s works.  This can be seen by mentioning a mere scattering of examples — The Pony Express, McKinley, The Pilgrim Fathers, Pere Marquette, Ezra Cornell, George Rogers Clark, the eastern pediment of the United States Supreme Court Building — and the most familiar and relevant of all, the marble of Washington as Commander-in-Chief, which along with Stirling Calder’s figure of Washington as President, graces Stanford White’s Washington Arch in Greenwich Village.  (bold added).

Source: Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”. (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974, p. 54.

BUT then Cecelia sounded a shrill alarm for the Washington Arch.  Pointing out 1974 photos showing decades of decay.   Air pollution.  traffic (Cars, buses) traveled through the arch for over 75 years.   Cleaning by abrasive sandblasting and eroded the soft marble of both statues by MacNeil and Calder.

Figure 6 shows the toll on MacNeil’s statue of Washington’s pitted face.

She writes:

“Washington’s nose has been carelessly damaged by thoughtless sandblasting (figure 6).   Sandblasting marble!  Now th first President resembles a leper. Aldolph Block, former student of Hermon, reknowned (sic) president of the National Sculpture Society (as Hermon was on two different occasions) despairs over the disaster to this historical landmark.  Smog from the air, vandalism, time, such factors can be expected.  But destruction such as Washington has suffered, accidental as it may have been, seems all too contemporary.”  

Over the years Cecelia MacNeil wrote many letters to the responsible officials seemingly hopeless battle.”  Her complaints as well as Mr. Block’s were “for all intents and purposes, ignored. 

Cecelia shares her familiarity with her late partner by suggesting:

1916 Photo of the installation of the MacNeil statue. Thia appears to have the statue sitting in the right hand leg of the Arch. The left leg is where it was permanently installed. Photo Credit: John Gomez, NYC. [ https://i0.wp.com/hermonatkinsmacneil.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/MacNeil-Washington-Arch-1.jpeg?resize=799%2C1024&ssl=1 ]

“One can NOT imagine Hermon and his fellow sculptors ignoring Washington’s face.  In no time at all a group of them, most of whom worked with Hermon, would have a scaffold up.  A roster would include (Phillip) Martiny, Daniel Chester French, Augustus St. Gaudens, Alexander Stirling Calder, giants all.  I can see Hermon chewing on a small cigar, making jokes.”         

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

This concludes

Part 1 of MacNeil Month.

In Part 2 we will examine the

History and RESTORATION of the Washington Arch and the

two Washington Statues.

~~~~~~~~~~~

READ MORE:   History of Washington Arch by New York Architecture

~~~~~~~~~~~

FOOTNOTES:

Traffic in the 1950s

  1. Holden, Jean Stansbury (October 1907). “The Sculptors MacNeil“. The World’s Work: A History of Our Time XIV: 9403–9419. [Retrieved from GOOGLE eBooks]
  2. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974,  pp. 10-13, 54.
  3. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Second in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, May 1974,  pp. 28-31.
  4. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Third in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, June 1974,  pp. 32-35, 51.
  5. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.

~~~~~~~

Related posts:

WASHINGTON ARCH in the 1920’s

  1. INDEPENDENCE DAY Images ~ from Hermon A. MacNeil (5) Here are a few images of  Independence from Hermon Atkins…
  2. Washington Statues “Bleeding” with Red Paint! MacNeil & Calder works defaced. (5) We were saddened to hear that “red paint” was splattered…
  3. The death of Carol Brooks MacNeil and Hermon MacNeil’s remarriage. (5) Cecelia W. Muench MacNeil In 1944 Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil…
  4. Happy (actual) Birthday, Mr. Washington! ~~~ ~~~ Visit New York City for MacNeil Month ~~~ (#8) (4) George Washington  February 22, 1732 Pictured below is Hermon A. …
  5. MacNeil’s “General George Washington” shows up on “Forgotten New York” virtual tour. (4) On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington…
  6. Senator Bernie Sanders Calls for a Political Revolution at Washington Arch. (4) NEW YORK CITY — In Washington Square Park last evening,…
Categories : Location
Comments (0)

HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL

1945 Bust of Hermon MacNeil by Jo Davidson

Photo from ~1945 at MacNeil Cabin in Vermont

TRANSITIONS  

On this day seventy-four years ago, Hermon Atkins MacNeil died at his College Point Studio on October 2, 1947. 

The Photo at right (taken at the MacNeil Cabin in Vermont) and the Bust by Jo Davidson) both date from about 1945, just two years before his death.

The website  CHICAGO LOOP.ORG  celebrates architecture in the Windy City.  They tell the MacNeil story this way: 1

“Unable to transition from his Beaux Arts training to a more “modern” style, he had not had a major commission for nearly 15 years. 1 When he died, the contents of the studio was “hauled out to the dump” (where, much of the collection was salvaged by neighbor, illustrator John A. Coughlin who later donated it to the Smithsonian Institution.)  It hadn’t always been that way.” [See Note 1 Below]  http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2012/01/hermon-atkins-macneil.html

One of several “Black Pipe” modelings that MacNeil sculpted. ~1894

They continue to say: “In 1891, 25 year-old MacNeil came West to Chicago.  Where he assisted Philip Martiny with sculpture at the Electricity Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition (World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893).  And, where, on the Midway, he met Black Pipe, an Ogala Sioux, performing at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Native Americans and their culture became the inspiration for MacNeil’s art for years to come.  By late 1895 he was on his way to Monument Valley  with Hamlin Garland and C.F. Browne — after working with Edward Kemeys at the Marquette (and no doubt hearing stories of Kemeys Wyoming adventures some 20 years earlier).  The travels West were just the beginning. 

On Christmas Day 1895 after winning the Prixe de Rome, he married Carol (Carrie) Brooks (one of Lorado Taft’s “White Rabbits  – and a sculptor in her own right”).   They sailed to Europe to take up three years in residence at the American Academy in Rome.   And re-entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1900.  By 1901 he and Carol (with their two children) returned to America and established their studio in College Point on Long Island.  With an entire career before them.

To quote Chicago Architecture, “National in scope, Beaux Arts in inspiration, MacNeil returned to Chicago in 1909, briefly, for the Cook County Seal Commission.”

Hermon MacNeil ~ Seal of Cook County on the Courthouse ~ 1908

But my favorite remains his Four Panels of Father Marquette life scuplted in 1895 in Chicago.  “Where inspiration, youth, opportunity, and a beautiful, capable wife converged with the past and the future —

at the Marquette Building.”

Panel 4 – “The de Profundis was intoned … Fr. Marquette’s coffin carried.

Black Pipe, Sioux warrior from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, stranded after the 1893 World’s Fair closed. MacNeil took him in to his studio after he was desolate in Chicago.

The man front and center is Black Pipe.  (See detail at right). 

He is MacNeil’s model for the Ogalla Sioux Warrior memorialized at 140 South Dearborn Street.  Bearing the coffin of Father Marquette

See the entire collection of  Marquette photos at the CHICAGO LOOP.ORG

Originally Posted by chicagoandpointsnorth@gmail.com

Black Pipe lived at MacNeil’s studio, modeled for him, and worked as a gardener and assisted in tasks.

MacNeil’s bronze of Blackpipe, a Sioux warrior he befriended in 1893 (source Smithsonian Archives)

NOTE 1:

  1.  The comment Unable to transition from his Beaux Arts training to a more “modern” style, he had not had a major commission for nearly 15 years.”  is not entirely accurate.  The “15 years” comment ignores the following:  1) two statues (Alfred H. Terry and John Sedgwick) on Connecticut Capitol building in 1934;  2) the statue of George Rogers Clark at the National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana dedicated by President FDR in 1936; and 3) the Pony Express Monument in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1940.  It also overlooks 8 years of the Great Depression, plus 7 years of MacNeil’s retirement during those same fifteen years.   Furthermore, the word “unable” seems presumptuous.  Whether MacNeil was “unable” to transition or simply “chose not to transition” to a more modern style seems a false dilemma for speculatation.  His sixty-plus-years of sculpting in the Beaux Arts style fully documents his “able-ity” and his preference for creative expression. This website offers continual documentation of those abilities.

Related posts:

  1. Part 2: “Primitive Indian Music” ~ 1894 bronze casting discovered! Is this an early prototype of 1901 “Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit.” ??? (6) A recent inquiry from James Dixon has revealed a previously…
  2. “Chicago Sculpture in the Loop” features Hermon A. MacNeil’s Work at Marquette Building (5) Gregory H. Jenkins has posted stories of the Marquette Bronze…
  3. Hermon MacNeil Sculpture in the Chicago Loop (5) Gregory H. Jenkins AIA, Chicago architect and keeper of the …
  4. ~ ~ ~ “The Most Happy Young Man I Know” ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Hermon A. MacNeil ~ Success & Marriage! (5) 1895 Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American Sculptor (1866-1947) MacNeil’s bronze of…
  5. “PRIMITIVE INDIAN MUSIC” ~ Part 3: 1894 Eda Lord’s Ticket to the Chicago World’s Fair (5) Eda Lord, (the woman who purchased the MacNeil bronze statue,…
  6. MacNeil “Merry Christmas” (5) Christmas Greetings from the home of Hermon and Carol MacNeil. …
Categories : Location
Comments (0)

Hermon MacNeil sculpted this bust of Dwight L. Moody a century ago during the Flu Pandemic of 1919.   

One hundred years later (In 2019), I visited that MacNeil work in Sage Chapel on site at the Moody’s Northfield Seminary

The photo below records that visit.

Dwight L. Moody by Hermon MacNeil (1919). The century-old work rests Sage Chapel on site at the Moody’s Northfield Seminary. 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE for: Our first Discovery of Hermon MacNeil’s bronze bust of Evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1920) ~ “We Found It, Uncle Hermon!”

On June 6, 1919, Northfield paid Honors to Moody at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Founder’s Day in East Northfield, Mass. 

 The  four days of celebration included:

  • A Reception at the home of Principal C. E. Dickerson, Tuesday evening, marked the close of the commencement exercises and celebration of the 40th anniversary of the funding of Northfield Seminary. 
  • The Reunion of nearly five hundred former students and friends returned to Northfield.
  • The occasion honored the founder, Dwight L. Moody.
  • Moody’s youngest granddaughter, Margaret Moody, unveiled the portrait bust by pulling the draping off of her grandfather’s bronze likeness. 
  • Little Margaret is the daughter of  Chaplain Paul D. Moody, son of D. L. Moody and Head of Chaplains for the Allied Expeditionary Force (A.E.F).  
  • The bust is the gift of the alumnae and has graced Sage Memorial Chapel for over a century. 
  • Hermon MacNeil of New York sculpted the bust from a pencil drawing he made of Mr. Moody when the evangelist was in the vigor of his powers and from a death mask provided by the school.
  • MacNeil made the sketches at The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Moody organized  Sunday worship services held in the stadium built by William Cody for his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.” NO SUNDAY SHOWS were allowed at the Fair.  So, Moody rented it from Cody on Sundays and packed it with fair attenders and local pastors and their congregationschurch
  • It was presented by Mrs. Helen M. Williams of New York City, President of the board of trustees of the Northfield schools.  Another token of the esteem in which Northfield graduates hold their alma mater was the gift of $600 from the class of 1914.

This digital file of the article from the September 1919 issue of the Northfield Alumnae Chronicle is a treasure trove of background information.

  1. The bust was a gift of the Alumnae Association. Many small donations.
  2. Johnson’s presentation speech cites conversations with MacNeil. It is a wonderful piece of Northfield history and affection for Mr. Moody 20 years after his death. .
  3. MacNeil attended one of D. L. Moody’s Meetings in Chicago ( MacNeil was there between 1890-95).
  4. MacNeil made a hasty sketch of Moody at that meeting. He kept his sketch for years. 
  5. MacNeil created the bust of Moody and afterward told the alumnae (Mrs. Johnson (?)) the story of making the sketch.
  6. The bust was presented at a service in Sage Chapel.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1919Jun7-RDC-MoodyBust

 

SOURCES:

  1. Lost New England (retrieved 4-17-2021) [https://lostnewengland.com/category/massachusetts/northfield-massachusetts/]
    East Northfield, Mass. June 6, (1919)
  2. ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE.  Saturday, June 7, 1919

 

 

 MacNeil Month  #4  —  February 22, 2021 

 

JO Davidson

Political Sculptor 

Hermon MacNeil

Monument Maker

1930 – 1944

 

 JO DAVIDSON   ~ ~ “Political Sculptor” ~ ~

After the World War, requests for portrait busts occupied much of Jo Davidson’s  time sculpting.  His reputation for as a sculptor of good works and fast results traveled quicker than even his own frequent migrations across the Atlantic. He described his approach to portraits as “simple.”

I never had them pose but just talked about everything in the world.  Sculpture, I felt, was another language altogether and had nothing to do with words.  As soon as I got to work, I felt this other language growing between myself and the person I was “busting.”  I felt it in my hands.  Sometimes the people talked as if I was their confessor.  As they talked, I got an immediate insight into the sitters.”  [Between … p86-87.]

That approach used those same talented fingers that twenty years earlier touched clay in a barrel at Yale sculpture lab.  Those fingers were still touching the clay of Jo Davidson’s future.  Rather than hindering drive and ambition, the War years seemed to focus Jo more sharply.  

During the decades of the twenties, thirties, and forties “the powerful, the wealthy, and the talented were literally at Davidson’s fingertips.  During these three decades he completed hundreds of portraits as well as a numerous figural works.”

 DOUBLEDAY PORTRAITS  

In 1929 Jo had made a bust of George Doran of Doubleday, Doran and Company. Afterward George proposed an idea that Jo make busts of the company’s best selling authors in America and England.  The proposal and opportunities delighted Jo Davidson.

Jo’s self-appointed role as a “plastic historian” of his era contained his own mental list of potential subjects.  Many of Doran’s authors were already on Jo’s informal list.  Many were already Jo’s personal friends.  Later Doran sent a letter with a list of a dozen possible subjects.  Doran hosted a series of luncheons to gather the authors and initiate the project. 

Aldous Huxley by Jo Davidson, 1930

Through 1929-1930, Davidson modeled in Paris, London and New York to complete the assignment.  Eventually he completed portraits of James Boyce, Hugh Walpole, Frank Swinnerton, Edgar Wallace, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Booth Tarkington, Robinson Jeffers, Sir James Barrie, John Galsworthy, Georg Brandes, and Christopher Morley.  He made a bust of Rudyard Kippling from sketches made at a group luncheon, a product that delighted Doran. 

John Galsworthy by Jo Davidson

In June 1931, Jo Davidson opened a show of the results of the Doran project as “Portrait Busts of Some Contemporary Men of Letters” at Knoedler Galleries on Bond Street in New York City.  Jo added his portraits of George Bernard Shaw, James M. Barrie, and John Galsworthy to the show. The event was a benefit for the Royal Literary Fund.  Posters flooded the underground with busts of Shaw, Maugham, Lawrence and others. 

One reviewer wrote: “I never have never read a book of criticism that so subtly and completely inventoried the mind of the age as this room of Jo Davidson’s. It is a superb exercise of lively, sensitive, well-informed intelligence,”   All in all, the project and show assembled this “plastic historian’s” opus of English and American authors who produced many hundreds of novels of thought and imagination of the era.    [Between …, p241-264.]

1933 ~ FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: That Man in the White House  

CARTOON: FDR, 1932.  ‘Just leave ’em, Herb. I’ll do it all after March 4.’ Cartoon, 1932, by Clifford Berryman.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office as the 32nd President of the United States. The country was reeling in the third year of the Great Depression.   after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Both the ensuing action and inaction of President Hoover continued to fuel the economic crisis and decline.  In the next four years, Roosevelt would begin rolling out massive economic relief legislation such as the Emergency Banking Relief Act, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the National Recovery Administration and the Social Security Act.

At the suggestion of Sara Delano Roosevelt, the President’s mother, Jo Davidson went to Washington, D.C. to meet the new President after he took office on March 4th.  On entering the White House, he could hear barking dogs and voices of children in the distance.  The atmosphere impressed him as a friendly, alive, gay and human.  

The President was rolled in and greeted Jo with a broad, cheerful smile.  Then shaking Jo’s hand said: 

FDR:  “I’ve just had a meeting with a delegation of plasterers who want to have the plasterers and their assistants share in the profits.  That will fix your business.”

JoD:  “I am not a plasterer, … I am a chiseler!”  

Thus cementing our friendship, we made arrangements to get to work.  [Between …, p275.]

That evening Jo stayed at the White House for a conversational dinner with 14 guests.  Afterward he remained alone with the President and reviewed an album of busts Jo had made.  The President asked innumerable questions about Jo’s sitters many of whom he knew.  Their lively exchange continued past midnight.

The next day Jo sculpted the President sitting at his desk.  People came and went from the office.  Jo rolled his stand around to observe from all angles. The President put visitors at ease with jovial comments and winning smile.  He continued to work that evening and the next morning even as he sat in bed looking over papers.  Jo observed,

“President Roosevelt won me completely with his charm, his beautiful voice and his freedom from constraint.  He had unshakable faith in man.  All those projects — NRA, CWA, PWA, — all stemmed from his belief that if you give man a chance, he will not let you down.”

Jo outside the White House with his newest friend.

Jo also observed that the President did not forget about the Artists in his relief bills and WPA projects.  He admired the Presidents sense of direction.  Being a sailor he knew that traveling in a straight line was seldom possible.  Keeping a clear objective while tacking on and off course would still get you to the goal. 

  FROM ‘BUST’ TO ICON    Jo would go on to make numerous busts of Roosevelt, big, small, some carved in stone.  I observed a casting of this bronze bust bearing the Jo Davidson signature on the back while visiting the Churchill Museum at Fulton College in Fulton, Missouri several summers ago.  Churchill made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech there after Roosevelt’s death and the victory of World War II.   How thought it fitting that the curators of the Churchill Museum  choose Jo Davidson’s bust of FDR to portray that “Friendship that Saved the World.” 

Churchill and his family were also White House guests, soaking up the warmth and charm of the “sitting” President as was Jo when he sculpted.  Perhaps that warmth explains the thousands of souvenir miniatures imitating the original that are still sold in the marketplace ninety years later.  Or maybe as one critic phrased it, “His ‘President Roosevelt’ looks the character that the whole world has readily acknowledged.”

 1934 ~ LOSS OF LOVE ~ LOSS OF DIRECTION ~ 

One day Jo walked by a paint shop and saw a miniature water color set in the window bought it.  Less than two inches square he admired it. Compact and complete, it went in his pocket and never left him.  

Yvonne had been in poor health for several years, but was anxious to visit California to see their old friends Lincoln Steffens and his wife, Ella Winter.  The couples had been constant companions in their early years in Paris visiting Bistros and discovering “special foods in the French manner.”  They boarded a train heading cross-country to California. On the train Jo sketch and water-colored his way West.

Arriving in San Francisco they were besieged by reporters: Jo was the sculptor of the President and Yvonne was a great dress designer from Paris.  They visited old haunts and old friends staying with the Steffens.  But Yvonne felt worse. A doctor was called and she was put on rest.  She rallied some, visited old friends, and they returned to New York.  Back home Yvonne Davidson suffered a stroke and died two days later.

New York Daily News. Sunday, May 13, 1934.

The loss of his love of twenty-five years devastated Jo, and he began a period of “Restless Days” as he titled that chapter in his autobiography.  Those “Days” would last for three years.  He left for Paris but could not focus to work.  Life felt empty and cold.  He returned to his Bécheron studio, but his heart was not in it.  Returning to Paris he sought to settle down with his grown sons but their lives were young and Jo’s was old.  Finally he returned to New York but without Yvonne, he found it just as lonely as Paris and Bécheron.  He felt deep loss of love and direction.  

“During these years my life was without an anchor.  I kept on traveling — London, New York, Washington, Paris, California, but I was too restless to stay anywhere for very long.  I was still looking for some project in which I could completely forget myself.

A quarter of a century earlier in his life, Jo was a wanderer — looking, searching, roving until he found “the sculptor within.”  But now with the loss of love, the loss of companionship, he struggled to find direction — a reason to work, a passion to give his hands to, a project to consume his active craving for carving art. 

 MORE DISAPPOINTMENTS  He received a letter from a friend asking if he would consider doing a statue of Thomas Paine to be placed in Paris.  Paine along with Walt Whitman were two early heroes in Jo’s personal pantheon.  After hopes and excitement from friends, he was flattened to learn that the committee his friend was on had already awarded the commission to Gutzum Borglum.  Dejected, he put his sketch of Thomas Paine in his studio drawer. 

To this regret was added a further blow.  Jo returned to Paris only to learn that his beloved friend, Lincoln Steffens, had died.  Steffens was a listener.  Jo didn’t have many.  For nearly two decades he valued that understanding ear.  This dear friend’s passing was a deep loss and only compounded the Restless Days with another layer of sorrow.

 1935 ~ A NATIONAL LOSS  ~  WILL ROGERS DIES 

On August 15, 1935, American humorist and “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son,” Will Rogers died with aviator Wiley Post  when their small plane crashed after take-off in Point Borrow, Alaska. The pair were on an around-the-globe flight.  In 1931 Post had become the first man to fly solo round-the-world.

Will Rogers had become an American Icon.  An actor on stage and films, a vaudeville performer, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator; Will  was “a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.”  The warm humor of this home-spun figure won the hearts of Americans long before his sudden death at the height of the Great Depression.  His passing was a shocking sorrow in very trying times for the American public.

Jo Davidson had wanted to do a bust of Rogers but never had.  Betty, Will’s wife, had often urged him to pose for Jo.  Will would always decline jokingly calling Jo “old that headhunter” to the amusement of Jo and all nearby.  

Weeks later dining in New York with Sidney Kent of Fox Films, Jo shared his regret and the desire to immortalize Will Rogers.  Kent concurred, and agreed to lend Jo some of Will’s old movies to do the modeling work.   Jo received a letter from E. W. Marland, his old oil man friend from Ponca City, Oklahoma and the Pioneer Woman commission.  Marland was now Governor Marland.  Jo went of Oklahoma City, visited with the Governor and signed a contract to make the Will Rogers statue.

Returning to his Paris Studio the Fox Films crew set up a big projector and large screen and began running continuous movies of Will Rogers in the front studio while Jo worked in the back.  Friends gathered in this new Will Rogers “studio” for a week as Jo “worked, talked, and lived nothing but Will Rogers.  The films brought back so many memories.”  [Between …, p. 298.]

“Betty Rogers sent Wills clothes, his shirt, his tie and his shoes. … Then I had the model put on Will’s clothes.  They still contained his personality.  Clothes have a way of being impersonal until they are worn; then they become a part of the person who wore them — like a glove before and after wearing. [Between …, pp. 299-300.]

 

– Will Rogers – Keeping an eye on Congress… since June 6, 1939.

“Before his death, the state of Oklahoma commissioned a statue of Rogers, to be displayed as one of the two it has in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the United States Capitol. Rogers agreed on the condition that his image would be placed facing the House Chamber, supposedly so he could “keep an eye on Congress”. Of the statues in this part of the Capitol, the Rogers sculpture is the only one facing the Chamber entrance—a stakeout location for camera crews looking to catch House members during and after voting. It is also a common background for reporters and lawmakers, with staff often directing the media to be at the “Will Rogers stakeout” at a certain time. According to some Capitol guides, each US president rubs the left shoe of the Rogers statue for good luck before entering the House Chamber to give the State of the Union address.” [34]   [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Rogers]

Claremore, Oklahoma — Will Rogers Museum – centerpiece

When the second statue was dedicated in the rotunda of the Will Rogers Museum in Claremont, Oklahoma. 20,000 people from all over came for the unveiling — Indians, cowboys, and other friends of Will’s.  A radio program was broadcast nation-wide and President Roosevelt spoke from Hyde Park.  He told the nation of listeners:

“There was something infectious about his humor.  His appeal went straight to the heart of the nation.  Above all things, in a time grown too solemn and sober, he brought his countrymen back to a sense of proportion “

When Will’s daughter Mary pulled the string unveiling the eight and a half foot statue, “there was a moment of hushed awe.  The light fell on the statue just right.  Mrs. Rogers, overcome, broke down and wept.”  [Between …, p. 300.] 

DC Capitol Assault? by “Trump-it-eers!” ~~ What Would Will Rogers Say about January 6, 2021 ?

 

 1939 ~ STARTING AGAIN ~ Walt Whitman walks the Woods 

One day Averell Harriman visited Jo in his Paris studio and admired his sketch for a Walt Whitman statue.  When Jo lamented that the NY Park Commission refused to place it in three different parks, Averell suggested a home for it in Bear Mountain Park.  He invited Jo to his home to view the park for possible sites.

The park had been part of the Harriman property in Arden, NY.  His mother had designated 10,000 acres adjoining Bear Mountain as a public park.  Averell wanted a statue of Whitman to commemorate his mother’s gift.  Jo’s idea of Whitman fit the family’s plans for a commemorative.

Jo returned to New York in the autumn visiting Harriman for the Thanksgiving holidays.  He had immersed himself in Walt Whitman and found that the poet had actually roamed through those same hills.  Jo tramped along the wooded Appalachian Trail finding a long graceful rock formation large enough to support a bronze statue.  He determined with enlarged photostats of his sketch that an eight and a half foot statue would command the rock face as a convincing figure to be found walking in the woods.

Jo Davidson worked off and on for several years on the Walt Whitman figure.  In 1939 it was cast and displayed at the New York World’s Fair before finding a final dedication and home on Bear Mountain.

 RECASTING:  Jo had had so many disappointments that never expected the statue to emerge beyond his sketch. But it did!  Matter of fact, in 1957, six years after Jo Davidson’s death, the Fairmont Park Art Association of Philadelphia placed another casting of the statue on Broad Street near the entrance to the Walt Whitman Bridge.  

Davidson described his satisfaction in this period of his life in these words:

“THERE IS NO GREATER HAPPINESS THAN WORKING ON SOMETHING THAT ONE VERY MUCH WANTS  TO DO.”

 


 THE ‘WORK OF ART’ ~ the RECOVERING THE PASSION

The passion of Jo Davidson’s life was  sculpting.   One day when he and his friend six-foot-three friend, Charlie, (Charles W. Ervin) with a “booming voice” were in the Jo’s studio having lunch:

“I got an itch to do a bust of that booming voice.  The bust seemed to do itself I think that André Gide’s definition of a work of art applied in this case: “A collaboration between the subconscious, which is God’s part, and the artist; and the less the artist interferes, the greater the work of art.”  This has happened to me several times in my life as a sculptor.  … if I can hear the sitter’s voice, I know that the bust is good.  

Jo had a very spacious studio in the Beaux Arts building.  He he was happy there especially as people could and would drop by; he needed people around.  It was a busy studio where Jo completed one sitting with another.  Among others he did:

David Sarnoff – President of National Broadcasting Company who championed the development of broadcast communications in radio and television.

Edward MacCarten – Sculptor and Jo’s old friend from Art Students League and another of Hermon MacNeil’s student who gave him the following advise:“One day he said, “Jo, here’s an idea. When you come here tomorrow go to work as if this is your last day on earth and you have to finish your statue before you die.” This struck home. The next day I went to work with new energy.  I didn’t die that night, nor did I finish the “David” that day. But as I look back, MacCarten’s advise was one of the greatest contributions that I ever received from a fellow artist.”

They met up again when Jo came to Paris to study Beaux Arts with  no Scholarship, no support, and $40 in his pocket during Jo’s adventuring and searching years. 

Sinclair Lewis – American writer and playwright.  First writer from the United States  to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature

A BRIEF REPRISE of old love ~~ One day into that busy studio walked another former sculptor from days at the Art Student League:

“When I finished (Sinclair) Lewis’ bust, Florence Lucius was in my studio and we were talking about portraiture.  She reminded me of John Sargent’s definition of a portrait, ‘a picture of somebody with something the matter with the mouth.’  Some ten minutes later Dorothy Thompson came in to look at her husband’s bust.  She gave one glance, turned to me and said, “It’s very good but there is something the matter with the mouth.'”   [Between …, p303.]

A passing moment of shared irony ?  …

with a  briefly re-discovered old friend ?  …

but MAYBE it was more…  ?   ?    ?

MORE PLASTIC HISTORY – THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR   In the summer and fall of 1938 modeled portraits of Spanish Loyalists of the Civil War.  The results were exhibited in the Arden Gallery in New York City and published as: Jo Davidson: Spanish Portraits. New York: The Georgian Press, Inc., 1938.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 FLORENCE “Flossie” LUCIUS  ~ OLD LOVE REKINDLES 

After many years of rumblings, World War II began 1939.   Jo turned over his farm and home in Bécheron to the Vichy government to house various attachés.  So in 1940 he returned to the United States.  Jo states that he “was still at loose ends, restless and haunted by a vague sense of dissatisfaction.  There was no real reason for this complicated business of living”  Jo’s passion for sculpting was interrupted.

Into Jo Davidson’s global and personal malaise walked an old flame he had fallen hard for three decades earlier — “Flossie” Florence Lucius

“Then one day, I found my old love of the Art Students League days, Florence Lucius.  I hadn’t seen her for several years.  … With Flossie around, life began to take on a new meaning and the studio began bubbling with life and buzzing with people.

Jo and Flossie visited friends in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and while driving around Jo saw a farm for sale that reminded him of Bécheron.  Jo asked his architect friend Burral Hoffman to look it over as a possible home and studio.  

HEART CRISIS !   Although Jo had rediscovered the love of his young heart, at fifty-seven years his own heart was showing signs of hard-working wear.  Out at dinner with friends … I felt an excruciating pain in my left arm, and the next day, I was in the hospital with a heart attack.  I spent six weeks in the hospital.”

Burrell Hoffman came to see him with the proposal of sketches showing how the barn of the Bucks County farm could be converted into a wonderful studio space.  Jo was delighted with the plans and future studio, his American Bécheron.  At discharge the doctor ordered complete rest and no worries so Jo and Florence went to the Virgin Islands staying for two blissful months. Until one evening a Jimmy Sheean, (a fresh-faced and insolent radio announcer who brought home the war to American listeners) began “reporting the bombing of a Red Cross train in France by the Germans.  Other voices told of roads filled with refugees.  In the peace and quiet of this beautiful night in St. Thomas the news was appalling.  I packed my bags and returned to New York.”

The words “roads filled with refugees” had to trigger Jo’s memories of similar scenes he witnessed in 1914 while covering WW I first-hand from Belgium.  He went from “refugee stories” to his new American Bécheron in Bucks County.  The new studio and home now renamed “Stone Court Farm” was now ready for the new couple.

SCULPTING AGAIN ~ Roosevelt’s 3rd

Characteristically, Jo very quickly got his first sculpting job.  In a phone call he was asked to do the third inaugural medal for President Roosevelt  This was a rush job with just days to complete.   Sent a photograph to work from, Jo became frustrated.  Jo sculpted from life not antique photographs.  He just couldn’t properly do a bas-relief this way.  So, he made his own phone call, flew to Washington and the 32nd President posed for two sittings.  Rush mission accomplished!

SOUTH AMERICAN JOURNEY ~ Good Will Ambassador

Florence Lucius Davidson

On evening visiting with friends Jo met John Abbott who worked for Nelson Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.   The agency’s mission was to promote inter-American cooperation (Pan-Americanism) especially in commercial, cultural and economic areas thus strengthening U. S. ties with South American Nations.  The idea was conceived that night for Jo to travel as a Good Will Ambassador making busts of Presidents of South American Republics. The idea quickly became an official mission to create busts of ten presidents.

Needing an Assistant, Jo turned to Flossie, a sculptor herself.  Jo also wanted her to marry him which they did after arriving in Venezuela.  They had known each other since days as art students.  It had been puppy love back then now both those old feelings came right back and their need for each other at this point in life’s journey brought a new sense of happiness that they both needed and deserved.  So now Florence Lucius became Florence Lucius Davidson, and Jo added another portrait bust to his growing collection.  

On the six month mission to South America, Jo had to travel by flying. “From country to country — Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia, and others — he flew, modeling the presidents he met in clay, casting them in bronze on his return to the United States.  There, they were exhibited in the National Gallery of Arts in Washington.  Later, they were given to the various countries as a gift from the United States.” 5.

Writing to Flossie about Jo, Van Wyck Brooks once stated, He’s an entire United Nations in his own way.”  On this Good Will Ambassador tour that could not have been more true.

Back home again.  There soon followed portrait busts of Henry Wallace, Vice President of the United States; Ernie Pyle, reporter and war correspondent; Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, and Van Wyck Brooks, biographer, literary critic, and historian.

 THIRTY YEARS AND HUNDREDS OF SCULPTURES 

In the thirty years (1920-1949) Jo Davidson would go on to travel the world making hundreds of portrait busts and figures.  Some on commission, but many just because he was asked or he just wanted to.  Looking around his studio one day, He said he realized that he was the World’s Largest Collector of “Jo Davidson” busts.

Jo Davidson with Busts of 8 Presidents that he completed.

Jo continued his constant pace of sittings for portrait bust —  just a few of those “sitters” included:

Clarence Darrow 1929, Charlie Chaplin 1925, Lincoln Steffens 1920, Robert M. La Follette 1923, W. Averell Harriman 1935, Franklin Roosevelt 1933, 1951, Fiorello LaGuardia (1934), Andrew Mellon (1927), Andrew Furuseth (1929) Mother Jones (1922), Carl Sandburg 1931, Ignace Paderewski (1920), Will Rogers (1935-38), Mahatma Gandhi (1931), Albert Einstein (1934). Arthur Conan Doyle, Israel Zangwill, Albert Einstein 1937, Emma Goldman, Frank Harris, Hellen Keller 1942, John D. Rockefeller 1924, Dolores Ibárruri, Franklin Roosevelt 1934, 1951, Henry A. Wallace, Walt Whitman, , Dwight D. Eisenhower 1948,  H. G. Wells, Gertrude Stein 1923, Josip Tito, Carl Sandburg 1939, Edward Willis Scripps 1922, George Bernard Shaw 1931,  Mahatma Gandhi, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling, D. H. Lawrence, Henry LuceJames Barrie, Joseph Conrad, Charles G. Dawes, Will Rogers 1935-38, Anatole France, André Gide, Robinson Jeffers 1930, John Marin and Ida Rubinstein.  1

That tactile process of wordless communication accelerated “the portrait sculptor within.” And his fame kept preceding him as he assembled a PLASTIC HISTORY OF HIS TIMES

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

Jo Davidson as AMATEUR POLITICIAN 

~ ROOTING FOR ROOSEVELT ~

Jo Davidson ~ Political Sculptor

TIME Sept. 9, 1946. Jo Davidson Featured

TIME Sept. 9, 1946. Jo Davidson Featured

TIME magazine put Jo Davidson’s face on the cover in September, 1946.  The cover lampoon and story inside form a satirical and rather pejorative piece about Jo’s later activities in the political spotlight after FDR’s death in April 1945. 

The cover featured a cartoon figure speaking words “Vote For…” into a microphone.  The figure was a collage of a palette board face, a violin torso, paint brush legs, sculptors tools arms, standing on three books and a soap-box. 

Jo was famous, loved people, circulated in an extensive network of the wealthy and famous including Hollywood. Davidson had become a political activist and was reluctantly elected chairman of the Independent Citizens Committee of Artists, Scientists, and Professionals (ICCASP), a group that supported the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt but now FDR was gone.

Originally formed as the Independent Voters Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt, its organizational meeting was held in Jo’s studio (the only room big enough to hold a crowd).  Jo was elected chairman because he was the host that everybody knew.  This progressive collage included Actors, Musicians, Entertainers, Authors, Poets, Artists, Painters, Political activists, Scientists.  Their mission was to illuminate the 1944 re-election campaign of President Roosevelt by shining the star-power this distinguished collection of public faces and names behind an ongoing Roosevelt agenda.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (L), talking to the Independent Voters Committee (L to R) Van Wyck Brooks, Hanna Dornen, Jo Davidson, Jan Jiepung, Joseph Cotton, Dorothy Gish, Dir. Harlow Shapely and James Proctor. (Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Jo reports that when the group went to call on the President, he jokingly asked Jo, have they called you a Communist yet?” They hadn’t, but Jo didn’t have long to wait. The TIME story suggests that the group had picked up a few Communists, like the fleas on a dog.  Jo Davidson suggested to the reporter that “its Communists have no more to do with its course that fleas do with a dog’s.”   To the question of Communist influence, Jo Davidson replied: “Have you stopped beating your wife.”

After Roosevelt’s death and President Harry Truman succeeding him into the office, the group had to refocus in Post World War II America.  An opponent of the Cold War policies of Harry S. Truman, he joined the Progressive Citizens of America (PCA). Other members included Rexford Tugwell, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Arthur Miller, Dashiell Hammett, Hellen Keller, Thomas Mann, Aaron Copland, Claude Pepper, Eugene O’Neill, Glen H. Taylor, John Abt, Edna Ferber, Thornton Wilder, Carl Van Doren, Fredric March and Gene Kelly.

Davidson supported Henry A. Wallace in the 1948 Presidential Election. Wallace’s running-mate was Glen H. Taylor, the left-wing senator for Idaho. A group of conservatives, including Henry Luce, Clare Booth Luce, Adolf Berle, Lawrence Spivak and Hans von Kaltenborn, sent a cable to Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary, that the PCA were only “a small minority of Communists, fellow-travelers and what we call here totalitarian liberals.” Winston Churchill agreed and described Wallace and his followers as “crypto-Communists”.

   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

“No one ever met Jo and then forgot him. Wherever he was, his vibrant personality pervaded. He was tremendously gifted for the work he did. He was intelligent, incisive, witty, a marvelous raconteur. His enthusiasm was endless. He hated everything mean or intolerant.”
– Harry Rosin –  Bucks County Sculptor and neighbor         https://bucksco.michenerartmuseum.org/artists/jo-davidson

   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

 


Jo Davidson Sculptures [partial list of hotlinks]:

 

SOURCES for Davidson material:

  1. Spartacus Educational: Jo Davidson.   © John Simkin, May 2013.  FOUND AT: https://spartacus-educational.com/Ajo_davidson.htm
  2. TIME, “Political Notes: Glamor Pusses.” VOL. XLVIII, No. 11, September 9, 1946. pp. 23-25.
  3. Connor, Janis and Joel Rosenkranz, photographs by David Finn, Rediscoveries in American Sculpture: Studio Works, 1893 – 1939, University of Texas Press, Austin TX 1989.
  4. Jo Davidson. Between Sittings: An Informal Autobiography of Jo Davidson, New York: Dial Press, 1951.
  5. Lois Harris Kuhn. The World of Jo Davidson, New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudhay, 1958.  p. 153.

 


 

  1.  HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL 
  2. ~ ~ More Monuments ~ 1930 ~ 1940 ~ ~

1930 ~ “The Pilgrim Memorial” ~ Waterbury, CT

ABOUT THE PIONEER MEMORIAL

“The Harrub Pilgrim Memorial was carved out of French granite by Hermon Atkins MacNeil of New York. Charles Harrub, an engineer for the American Brass Company, donated the $100,000 needed for the project to honor his wife and the Pilgrims. Dedicated October 11, 1930. It is now located at the corner of Highland Avenue and Chase Parkway. (Photo by Daniel M. Lynch, Mattatuck Consulting, LLC.” 

This website of tells the history of settling Waterbury CT from 1657 to the American Revolution.  Descendants of early settlers give family genealogy and memorable stories. Source: OFFICIAL WEBSITE of the RIVER-HOPKINS and SAEMANN-NICKEL and Related Families

A second history blog of Waterbury offers additional photos and history of the memorial.  Here’s a photo from dedication day.

“Sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil was commissioned to create the monument. Based in New York City, MacNeil is remembered for having designed the 1917 quarter, as well as for a series of sculptures depicting Native Americans in classically heroic poses.

The Harrub Memorial was completed in 1930 and unveiled at a ceremony held on October 11, 1930. Although it is now located at the top of Chase Park, off Highland Avenue, the monument was originally placed at the bottom of the hill, facing Freight Street.”

 

1930 ~ Judge Thomas Burke Memorial

In Seattle, Washington the Memorial to Judge Thomas Burke 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, Friend, Patron of Education, First of every movement for the advancement of the city and the state, Seattle’s foremost and best beloved Citizen.”

“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)]

 

1931 ~ President James Monroe bust

Monroe-HAM-1931HOF_NYU

US President James Monroe

Exactly 100 years after James Monroes death (b. April 28, 1758 – d.July 4, 1831), Hermon MacNeil completed a bronze bust of this U.S. President.  It was MacNeil’s fourth statue of a US President. (Washington 1916, Lincoln 1928, McKinley 1906

 

This bronze bust by Hermon MacNeil resides in the Hall of Fame of Great Americans on the campus of Bronx Community College (formerly NYU). The aging memorial of over 100 busts was designed by Stanford White, famous “Beaux Arts” architect of New York City. 

Monroe was the fifth President of the United States (1817–1825).  He was the last president from the group known as the Founding Fathers.  Monroe was also the last President from the Virginia dynasty.  In 1936 MacNeil would sculpt one other Virginian from the Revolutionary era — “George Rogers Clark” (National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana site of the Clark’s Revolutionary victory at Fort Sackville).

CHECK OUT THESE LINKS ALSO:

  1. Hall of Fame:  MacNeil has Four busts enshrined there.
  2. MORE: on Monroe

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

1931 ~ HOPI ~~ PRAYER FOR RAIN  ~~ Issue #3

When Hermon MacNeil was asked to make the Third Issue of the new Society of Medalists Series, He chose to revert to his early experiences of 1895 of Native American in the Arizona and New Mexico territory.

 


 

1932 CONFEDERATE DEFENDERS 

~~ Charleston, SC ~~ Ft Sumter Harbor ~~

Grafetti after shooting at Mother Emmanuel Church Charleston 2015

The “Confederate Defenders” designed and sculpted by Hermon A. MacNeil was selected by a committee of Charlestonians from over a dozen proposals of other sculptors. 

Unlike many monuments featuring soldiers, cannons arms, horsed and battles raging, MacNeil’s concept was different.

I like to think that the committee awarded the commission for this design because of its classical Beaux Arts treatment of allegorical symbolism.  In MacNeil communicated — Youth, Athleticism, defense, the shield bearing the Seal of South Carolina, The Athena Goddess of Charleston.

In the 21 Century the Monument has become a “protest site” after shootings in 2015 at a Bible study at Mother Emanuel Church a few blocks north. 

More recently opposing groups such as:  Black Lives Matter and  Flags Across the South. Have protested on the site.

Both groups gathered. Black Lives Matter marchers held their signs along The Battery wall. Across the street at the Confederate Defenders Monument, members of  as Charleston Police stood watch.

Eventually the City Council worked out a compromise schedule of rotating permits for the plaza of the statue area

 

 

1932 U.S. Supreme Court  Building ~ East Pediment

Moses ~ Confucius ~  Salon

 

General Alfred Howe Terry

General John Sedgwick

  1934 ~ Alfred H. Terry ~ Connecticut Capitol Building 

Location:  south elevation.   Artist: Hermon MacNeil.

1934 ~ John Sedgwick ~ Connecticut Capitol Building

Location:  south elevation.   Artist: Hermon MacNeil.

 

 

1936 ~ George Rogers Clark Memorial ~ Hero of the American Revolution

Clark National Monument where MacNeil’s George R. Clark is housed

MacNeil’s Statue of George Rogers Clark is inside the circular dome of the Monument in Vincennes, IN.  CLICK HERE for More

CLICK HERE for the National Park Service’s story of this National Monument (CLICK) 

This beautifully restored dome on the prairie contains Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s heroic statue of George Rogers Clark, a Virginian who saw the importance of the West in the war effort as a whole. He persuaded Virginia’s government (and Governor Thomas Jefferson) to support his efforts; then with 200 men, he crossed the Ohio River to the Mississippi River taking Kaskaskia and Cahokia, and returning to capture Fort Sackville at Vincennes.

The following video by RATIO Architects shows the reconstruction and restoration of The George Rogers Clark Memorial roof and foundations in 2005 after decades of leakage, erosion, corrosion, stalactite formation and water damage to the steps and walkways. (length 6:24 min; Source RATIO Architects )

Thanks RATIO for restoring  this monument of American history and giving us this documentation. Dan Leininger, webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com

Treaty of Paris, by Benjamin West (1783), depicts the United States delegation at the Treaty of Paris (left to right): John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial is on the sight of the British Fort Sackville of 1779. Clark and his 170 frontier men demanded surrender from  British Lt., Governor Henry Hamilton by surprise and deception on Feb 25, 1779. They marshaled troops waving flags and firing rapidly as if they were a larger army.  Clark’s strategies and victories in the West marked the beginning of the end of British domination in America’s western frontier and by the Treaty of Paris (1783) extended the 13 colonies westward to the Mississippi River. 

Re-enactment of Fort Sackville surrender

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 

1940 ~ The Pony Express ~ Saint Joseph, MO

Follow the setting Sun

The Legend of the Pony Express is larger than life.  The images of riders carrying pouches (mochilas) of mail from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, (a 1900 mile route) through 186 Pony Express Stations along the route about 10 miles apart. Riders had to take an oath, must weigh less than 125 pounds, riding both day and night through sun and rain. Riders changed every 75 -100 miles or doubling that in emergencies from April 1860 to September 1961 before the transcontinental telegraph was completed.  

The legend of Hermon MacNeil’s Pony Express statue is told here on 5 different stories linked on this single thread searched with “Pony Express”.  (including Poncho Villa) MacNeil’s legendary statue includes:

  • a black mounted action figure heading West with hair and bandana streaming,
  • Four mochilas (pouches) for mail,
  • a pistol on his hip,
  • a Sun carved on the south side of the base symbolizing daytime and the Moon on the north side for night.
  • The legend of “Poncho Villa” the wild Dakota range horse that MacNeil modeled for the muscular steed running to the sun.

Poncho Villa was an ‘outlaw’ horse tamed by Dr. S. Meredith Strong, a physician and horse lover who was the National President of the American Rough Riders Association, a group devoted to the preservation of the wild mustangs. He traveled thousands of miles as a lover-of-horse-flesh seeking to preserve this western heritage. He and MacNeil must have had some interesting conversations.  (The newspaper photo shows Hermon MacNeil seated on the statue).

Neither rain, sleet, snow or dark of night shall keep the rider from his appointed journey.  Burr!

HOTLINKS TO 1930-1940 Statues and Monuments by Hermon A. MacNeil

 

 

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

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