WELCOME to the “Hermon A. MacNeil” — Virtual Gallery & Museum !

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School. MacNeil led a generation of sculptors in capturing many fading Native American images and American history in the realism of this classic style.

~ World’s Fairs, statues, public monuments, coins, and buildings across to country. Hot-links (on the lower right) lead to photos & info of works by MacNeil.

~ Hundreds of stories and photos posted here form this virtual MacNeil Gallery of works all across the U.S.A.  New York to New Mexico — Oregon to South Carolina.

~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth on February 27,

Take a Virtual Journey

This website seeks to transport you through miles and years with a few quick clicks of a mouse or keyboard or finger swipes on an iPad.

Perhaps you walk or drive by one of MacNeil's many sculptures daily. Here you can gain awareness of this artist and his works.

For over one hundred years his sculptures have graced our parks, boulevards, and parkways; buildings, memorials, and gardens; campuses, capitols, and civic centers; museums, coinage, and private collections.

Maybe there are some near you!

Archive for “Beaux-Arts”

Sculptures that Hermon A. MacNeil’s exhibited for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

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The above works that Hermon A. MacNeil’s exhibited in Buffalo for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition are listed in:

“The Catalogue of the Exhibition of Fine Arts.” Pan-American Exposition: Buffalo, 1901. (p. 45-46; p. 59).

pp. 45-4. H. A. MacNeil:

#1613. The Sun Vow – Silver Medal, Paris Exposition, 1900.

#1614. The Moqui Runner – Silver Medal, Paris Exposition, 1900 (Lent by E. E. Ayer, Esq)

#1615. Bust — Agnese

#1616. Bust – [Lent by C. F. Browne, Esq.]

p. 59.

MacNeil, H. A., 145 West 55th Street, New York, N. Y. (II*) 1613-1616

*II – indicates MacNeil exhibited in “Group II – Sculpture, including medals and cameos” p. 49.

Some of these people mentioned in that exhibition record were to be long term colleagues, friends and patrons of MacNeil’s art and career.

Charles Francis Browne was a painter and friend who accompanied Hermon MacNeil and author, Hamlin Garland, to the southwest in the summer of 1895. They wanted to gain direct experience of American Indians to inform their art. What the trio found reflected in their respective painting, sculpture and writing.

MacNeil’s subsequent sculptures of Native Americans after that summer of 1895 continued a cultural focus that began with his friendship and sculpting of Black Pipe, the Sioux warrior. He first met Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  The Sioux modeled for MacNeil and later worked in his studio for over a year.

Edward Everett Ayers was an art patron to both MacNeil and Browne.  He had been a Civil War Calvary officer stationed in the southwestern United States.  He became a lumberman who made a fortune selling railroad ties and telephone poles. He urged MacNeil to travel to see the vanishing West of the American Indian.  He became an arts benefactor whose art collections are now housed by the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as, the Newberry Library.

All the above is but a small part of the history woven into this simple Exhibition catalogue entry from 1901.  More later on Macneil’s mysterious “Agnese.”

Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American Sculptor (1866-1947)

Click ‘MUSEUM …’ below – then PLAY [singlepic id=22 w=320 h=240 float=right]

MUSEUM WITHOUT WALLS™: AUDIO –

“Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Memorial”

[from Fairmount Park Art Association on Vimeo.]

“ONE COUNTRY, ONE CONSTITUTION, ONE DESTINY”

 

This Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated in 1927.  The Monument consists of two 60 foot granite pylons.  These pillars mark the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  This beautiful boulevard leads from Logan Circle through the rolling Parkway Gardens on up the hill to the Philadelphia Art Museums.

  • Find the Soldiers panel and Civil War history  HERE.
  • The Soldiers pylon is pictured below =>

The Soldiers side of the monument

  • For DIRECTIONS to this Monument see the Google Map below.

We hope to have our own photos to post at a future date.

Meanwhile, thanks to the citizens and public officials of Philly for this tribute to American history and the work of Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

 

Happy Birthday Rachel!

 

 

 

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Between 1893 and 1905 Hermon Atkins MacNeil and his sculptures were involved in four World’s Fairs.  The Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (1901) was the second of these events. Popularly known as the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo NY, over 8 Million people attended the exhibition.

University of Deleware ~ Special Collections website offers this description;

The most unusual aspect of the Pan-American was the color scheme of its buildings. Unlike the pristine design of the “White City,” the architectural plan of the Pan-American was to build a “Rainbow City.” The buildings were done in a Spanish Renaissance style and were colored in hues of red, blue, green, and gold. The Electric Tower, the focal point of the fair, was colored deep green with details of cream white, blue, and gold. At night, thousands of electric lights outlined the buildings.

"The Sun Vow" (photo courtesy of Gib Shell)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil's "The Moqui Runner" (The Moqui Prayer for Rain -- The Returning of the Snakes) 1896, cast 1897.

In the year 1900, MacNeil returned to the United States after three years in Rome and a fourth back in Paris.  He settled in New York City. Within a year, MacNeil set up a home and an adjoining studio in College Point, Long Island (now Flushing, Queens ). His studio became his work place for the next four decades.

MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” and the “Moqui Runner” were both exhibited at the 1901 Fair.  The “Sun Vow” had received a silver medal at the Paris exhibition of 1900.  It was exhibited again at the Columbian Exposition of 1904 — the Saint Louis World’s Fair. As the years passed, it would become his best known work.  (Webmaster’s Note: It recently graced the cover of the 2010 Denver Art Museum publication, “Shaping the West: American Sculptors of the 19th Century”)

At the Buffalo Exhibition he was asked to do the pediment sculptures for the Anthropological Building, as well as a grouping known as “Despotic Age.”  Craven described the work as follows:

The spirit of despotism with ruthless cruelty spreads her wings over the people of the Despotic Age, crushing them with the burden of war and conquest and draging along the victims of rapine (plunder), a half savage figure sounds a spiral horn in a spirit of wild emotion. (Craven, SIA, p. 518)

MacNeil’s sculpture design for the Award Medals at the Pan American Exhibition, Buffalo, NY 1901 (front)  [ photo credits: CCya at http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=25738

MacNeil designed the official gold medal (displayed here in silver) struck in celebration of the Pan American Exhibition.  His commissioned design bears a youthful woman standing beside a buffalo on the obverse side. She represents the triumph of the intellect over physical power.  The reverse depicts two Indians with a sharing a peace pipe. One, a North American Indian, extends the extends the pipe to the South American Indian.  Craven notes that

MacNeil's sculpture design for the Award Medals at the Pan American Exhibition, Buffalo, NY 1901 (reverse). All award medals were struck from the same design whether in Bronze, silver or gold. These are silver medals.

MacNeil chose to portray the theme of “Pan-American friendship through images of the red man, not the white man.” (Craven, SIA, P. 519).  We can also observe that this choice extended MacNeil’s selection of native people into a second continent. [Photo credits CCya at http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=25738]

President William McKinley was assassinated at the fair. On Sept. 6, 1901, Leon Czolgosz shot President McKinley in the Temple of Music, a pavilion of the Buffalo, New York, Pan-American Exposition. Eight days later, on Sept. 14, McKinley was dead.  We do not know if MacNeil was present at the Fair when the President was attacked.  In some sense, President McKinley’s overshadowed the rest of the Exposition. Buffalo promoted the event in order to be seen as a prosperous, modern, technologically-advanced city,.  Instead  Buffalo became seen as the city of the assassination.

McKinley making his last public speech before he was assassinated, Buffalo, New York, September 5, 1901. (His pose in this photo resembles that of MacNeil's statue of him in 1904). (Credit: Frances B. Johnson-Ohio Historical Society-AL00501)

In the  years following The Buffalo Exhibition, a series of important commissions would raise him to prominence as a major American sculptor. One of those was, oddly enough, was the McKinley Monument Statue and Plaza at the front of the Ohio State Capitol Building where McKinley served two terms as the governor of the state.

The only remaining building of the fair is the New York State Pavilion.  It is now the home of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. (see map) A boulder marking the site of McKinley’s assassination was placed in a grassy median on Fordham Drive

1901 Pan-American Exposition links: (active as of this posting date)

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Book Source: http://www.cityofeverett.com/Everett_files/historical/herman_macneil.htm

  • Today is the 145th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth.
  • The above celebrates his life from the Everett, Massachusetts city website.

MacNeil's 12' 8" statue Washington (left ) from the other side of the Arch.

George Washington

 February 22, 1732

Pictured below is Hermon A.  MacNeil’s sculpture of General Washington in the uniform of the General in Chief of the Continental Army placed on the easterly pedestal base of the memorial Arch on May 27, 1916.

H. A. MacNeil's "Washington at War" balances the east side of the Arch in Washington Square while Alexander Stirling Calder's "Washington as President" graces the west side. Both sculptors studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and represent that art style.

The first Washington Arch was constructed to commemorate the centenary of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States.  That Memorial Arch was a temporary structure meant only for the celebration in 1889.

“The first arch was made of wood, designed by Stanford White, great architect of the age of opulence. It was originally constructed for the Centennial of Washington’s Inauguration. The celebration took place on April 30, 1889. Festooned with papier mache wreaths and garlands of flowers, lit up with hundreds of newly invented incandescent lights, the whole thing cost a whopping $2700. The arch was the hit of the ceremonies. Two days later the Marble and final version was commissioned. White also designed that. By April of 1892 the last block was in place, though the arch wasn’t dedicated until May 4, 1895!”

“Washington’s likenesses were not added until 1916 when the east pier’s “Washington at War” by Herman MacNeil was unveiled. Two years later the west pier’s “Washington at peace” by A. Stirling Calder was dedicated. Both have suffered erosion during the age of the automobile and the formerly fine features of Washington are pitted and broken down so, he is no longer really recognizable. Perhaps it’s time to redo them in bronze. For the next century. Why not?”  

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/GV/GV046WashingtonSquareArch.htm

Calder's "George Washington as President" as it appeared before restoration.

Stanford White, of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, (click name to see their work) was one of the first to be associated with the City Beautiful and the Beaux Arts movements dedicated to cleaning up American cities and planning them with order and artistic beauty.  The Arch stands at the end of Waverly Place and Fifth Avenue. The neighborhood was lined with mansions of the wealthy in the gilded age before World War I.

“The Gilded Age was a time of pomp and peace and prosperity. Never before were the gaps between the rich and poor so sharply divided as they were in those quiet years before The Great War of 1917. Without personal income tax to curtail immense fortunes in America’s burgeoning industries, millionaires flourished and paraded their wealth for all the world to see. The magnificent mansions of John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie stand like faded peacocks along New York’s Fifth Avenue to this day, bearing silent tribute to a luxurious past long faded into time.”

 Marjorie Dorfman at http://www.nyc-architecture.com/ARCH/ARCH-McKimMeadandWhite.htm

According to the Daily Planet, Washington Square ARCH is one of the great place to celebrate Washington’s Birthday:

George Washington Sculptures at Washington Square Arch, Washington Square Park
Designed by architect Stanford White, the Arch was dedicated in 1895. Washington as Commander-in-Chief, Accompanied by Fame and Valor was designed by Hermon Atkins MacNeil and was installed in 1916. Washington as President, Accompanied by Wisdom and Justice was designed by Alexander Stirling Calder and installed in 1918. A major restoration of the arch was completed in December 2004.
http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M090/news

 

 

At the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has been released from the vault.  He is out for public view.

A Nose Waiting to Be Rubbed « 2011 « Articles « LASNews Magazine ... Herman Atkins MacNeil modeled the bust in 1928 from a full-size statue he had made 14 years earlier. He gave the bronze bust a brown patina, which had worn ... www.las.uiuc.edu/alumni/magazine/articles/2011/bust/

No, this is not a student prank (like the 1979 Illini Incident) when the MacNeil’s Lincoln Statue disappeared. This time its actually a year-long Lincoln party.

Starting at noon on Sunday February 20th, the refurbished Lincoln bust by Hermon A. MacNeil will be on public exhibit in the Spurlock Museum at U of I.

In a recent email Dr. Wayne T. Pitard, Director, of Spurlock Museum, told us:

“Having had the chance to look at the bust in great detail, I am enormously impressed with MacNeil’s talent.  It is a wonderful piece, one of my favorite depictions of Lincoln.  I wanted to let you know that during its exhibition at the Spurlock between February 20 and January of next year, people will have the only chance in our lifetimes to actually walk all the way around the bust, to see it from all angles.  Once it goes back into its niche in Lincoln Hall, the back will no longer be accessible.  If you ever are in the neighborhood, you should try to come by and see it here.”

MacNeil’s Lincoln has graced the Lincoln Hall stair case since 1928.  It was removed for safekeeping in a vault when construction began on a total restoration of Lincoln Hall.  The empty niche that the statue normally occupies is visible in this video of the Lincoln Hall Kick Off Ceremony (the miniature bust of Lincoln seen here is NOT one of the MacNeil sculpture, but of another artist.)  For the next year it will be in Spurlock for viewing in a 360 degree venue, unlike the setting shown above before restoration. The Public can celebrate MacNeil’s Lincoln Statue at the Spurlock all year.

Holly Korab, (Senior Director in the Office of Communications and Marketing, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) informed the webmaster this week that:

Mr. MacNeil’s statue is dear to many generations of Illini. We are working on a video for our “This Old Hall” series on the restoration of Lincoln Hall. (Holly, I hope the video has a 360 scene of the statue as it appears on display in Spurlock ~ webmaster). Do you know how Mr. MacNeil felt about our statue?

Gutzon Borglum's famous Lincoln also has a shiny nose from public petting of the piece in Springfield, Illinois.

Well Holly, we do know how MacNeil’s friend and teacher, Lorado Taft, felt about the piece.  Taft was considered the ‘dean of American sculptors’ (especially in the Beaux Arts tradition).  He worked with MacNeil in the 1893 Columbian Exposition — the Chicago World’s Fair.  Carol Brooks, who was one of Taft’s students, would become Herman’s wife in 1895.  She helped Taft as one of the female sculptors known as “White Rabbits.” Through the thirty years since that Exposition, Taft knew the MacNeils and their artistic abilities.  Perhaps this influenced Taft’s choice of the Mac Neil Statue over that of Gutzon Borglum, yet he knew and worked with Borglum as well.   He just seemed to not like the overall effect of the Borglum piece. You can compare for yourself the two Lincolns (superficially, at least) from the photos provided here. More directly Taft stated:

“I regret to say that Borglum’s so called ‘Lincoln’ is my pet aversion; I would prefer not to help in this matter,”

In his book Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, Taft shares his expectation of good sculpture.  In the preface, he states:

“SCULPTURE SHOULD BE THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL OF THE ARTS. IT SHOULD EXTERNALIZE ONLY THE RAREST AND THE MOST ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS OF LIFE, CHOOSING WITH IRREPROACHABLE DISCRIMINATION FROM THE FORMS, THE JOYS AND THE SORROWS OF HUMANITY. A SCULPTED MOMENT WHICH IS NOT ADMIRABLE IS A PERMANENT CRIME, A PERSISTENT AND INEXCUSABLE OBSESSION.” Lorado Taft, Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1921. p. 9.

Further in the book Taft, lauds MacNeil’s work on his Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Albany and the Washington Arch in NY by saying MacNeil showed:

“his good taste united with a fine decorative sense and with much fluency of handling”… Running through all these works is a dependable sanity most gratifying to meet amid the eccentricities and vagaries of current endeavor.  The sculptor has never exemplified this quality to better advantage than in his fine “Lincoln” model, a work meriting enlargement and a prominent place.” Lorado Taft, Modern Tendencies in Sculpture, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1921. p. 120.

In 1923, Taft, recommended MacNeil to James White, the University supervising architect, for the Lincoln Hall placement. Taft’s friend, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, created a bust of Lincoln that the University purchased for $450. http://www.lincolnhall.illinois.edu/history/lincolnhall/entrance/index.html

How did MacNeil feel about his Lincoln statue?

I can’t answer that directly, but MacNeil expressed his thoughts and feelings about the sculptor’s task in 1917.  At the annual meeting of the American Federation of Arts, MacNeil spoke of the progress of contemporary sculpture.

“Above all else, [the artist’s] work must radiate some charm or strength of human character that touches the passer by.”

Errant Bronzes: George Grey Barnard’s Statues of Abraham Lincoln (American Arts Series/University of Delaware Press Books) by Frederick C. Moffatt (2000), p. 129.

He went on to suggest that this radiated art spirit, had to be discovered in the hearts of the observers of the piece.

I know myself, from reading other accounts of MacNeil describing his Marquette, Jolliet, Illini grouping in Douglas Park Chicago, and his Ezra Cornell statue at Ithica, New York, that this art spirit radiated in MacNeil himself as he planned, prepared and sculpted these works.  His heart went into and radiated from each of his sculptures and memorials.  Studying the details he put in them, reveals that to me.  Now the public can assess that at the Spurlock.

SO, Enjoy, Celebrate, and MacNeil’s Lincoln, The Lawyer. May you anticipate the 2013 re-dedication of Lincoln Hall as your 21st Century tribute to Mr. Lincoln.

MORE LINCOLN LORE:

Lincoln/net Website: by Northern Illinois University – browse primary resource materials about our 16th President. http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/aboutinfo.html

VISIT SPURLOCK MUSEUM – here’s a Google Map

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WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Nearby or far away, there is no ONE place to go and appreciate this wide range of art pieces. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and hidden, these creations point us toward the history and values in which our lives as Americans have taken root.

Webmaster: Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.
COME BACK & WATCH US GROW

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the entire work from several angles, including the surroundings.
2. Take close up photos of details that capture your imagination.
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature, often on bronze works. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of yourself and/or those with you standing beside the work.
5. Add your comments or a blog of your adventure. It adds personal interest for viewers.
6. Send photos to HAMacNeil@gmail.com Contact me there with any questions. ~~ Webmaster