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 ???

Archive for “Beaux-Arts”

NOTE: February 22nd marks the 279th Birthday of George Washington.
February 27th is the 145th Birthday of Hermon A. MacNeil.
The Arch in Washington Square Park, NYC, contains TWO separate statues of Washington



[Continued from the February 12th posting:]

While Washington "Refused to Be King" many personal factors as
well as the expectations of the people were put upon him.

1) As a large man with great physical bearing, he was an embodiment of authority all his life.

2) At 6′ 4″ and slightly over 200 lbs, he was a full head taller contemporaries.

3) Washington was not a handsome man but when he set in motion, his full package conveyed a sheer majesty.  Benjamin Rush observed, “He has so much martial dignity in his deportment that there is not a king in Europe but would look like a valet de chambre by his side.

4) As a fledgling nation that had only known “ROYALTY” prior to independence.  So any leader who looked royal was eligible, so to speak, for coronation.

5) “John Adams claimed that the reason Washington was invariably selected to lead every national effort was that he was always the tallest man in the room.” (Ellis, p. 124)

6) It did not help that he often portrayed a royal style of dress, designed his own uniforms and had them tailor-made to fit his striking frame.
7) As one of his biographers put it, “his body did not just occupy space, it seemed to organize space around it.“ (Ellis, p. 124)

Given all the above, Ellis adds the 'crowning' observation:  
He had no compunction about driving around Philadelphia in
an ornate carriage drawn by six cream-colored horses; or, when
on horseback, riding a white stallion with a leopard cloth and
gold trimmed saddle; or accepting laurel crowns at  public
celebrations that resembled coronations. (Ellis, p. 127)
No wonder the majestic man became regarded as 
"His Majesty."

The TWO Washington Statues
MacNeil's sculpture of Washington as "Soldier" was the
first of the two done in stone.  It was intended to set off the
companion piece of Washington as President, by Alexander
Stirling  Calder on the supporting walls of the Washington
Arch, on Fifth Avenue, New York.
One shows “The President,” and the other” “The Soldier.”  

MacNeil told McSpadden in 1924:
"We had to work together on those statues, Calder and I," said
Mr. MacNeil, "and we had some hot arguments over them,
though we are good friends.  Of course, each of us had his own
statue to do, but we had to treat them in the same restrained
manner, to fit each other and the Arch itself."

In order to fit the the Arch's 77 foot stature, MacNeil's
Washington was sculpted twice life-size.  So while 6 foot
4 inches in life, in MacNeil's hands,Washington became 
12 foot and 8 inches tall.  Despite this size the greater
massiveness of the Arch almost  dwarfs the figures.  In a
similar manner, the revolution and the resulting
republic appear to dwarf any ONE person or group
of Founders.  Perhaps that is the essence of the
heritage of the United States of America as a
republic.   A heritage recaptured by the immortal words
of another President, Mr. Abe Lincoln (also born in
this month) as he closed his comments over the grave sites at Gettysburg.

The statue and plinth dwarf the man below.

                                    "that government of the people,
                                                  by the people, for the people, 
                                                             shall not perish from the earth."

After Washington finished his second four year term as
President, he stepped down. He returned to his beloved Mount
Vernon Estate.  He lived only three more years and died in 1799
in the third year of the Presidency of John Adams. 

Yes, "we have a republic, if we can keep it."
And the man who could have been King, chose instead, to be a
First a citizen-soldier and then a citizen-President.  And so it
has been ever since. 

Presidents Day, the rule of law and the TWO 
twelve-foot eight-inch statues of Washington by 
Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Alexander Stirling
Calder remind us of that heritage.  

As well as the absence of any likeness of anything or
anyone resembling:      

For Mr. Washington was:   "A Man Who Refused to BE KING!"

The Arch when traffic was still allowed in the Square.
For further Reading and research see:
  1. Kurt Soller, Newsweek, “The Man who Would Be King” Oct. 8, 2008 (click on title for link)
  2. Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers, Knopf: NY, 2001.  p. 120-161 (especially 124-127).
  3. http://www.newsweek.com/2008/10/07/the-man-who-would-be-king.html

Related Posts on this website:

  1. https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/05/11/new-york-washington-square-arch/
  2. https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/09/26/washington-square-nyc/
    Here's an informative video on the nature of the
    American "republic." While a bit harsh on its
    characterization of 'democracy," it is well
    worth watching.
  • TITLE: "A Republic if you can keep it."  
  • LINK:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGL8CiUtXF0
  • Comments on this video include: Uploader Comments (aliunde)
  • “Entertaining video, but this is a gross misrepresentation. The author doesn’t note, for example, that the U.S. Constitution replaced the catastrophic “limited government” under the Articles of Confederation, and that a desire to tax Americans directly & regulate interstate commerce were the two chief motivations behind the U.S. Constitution. The size & role of a government is not the issue; it is a government’s internal structure – its checks & balances – which are the key to its success. AboveAllNations 7 months ago”

  • @AboveAllNations: The Constitution was one of strictly limited and enumerated powers. You need but read The Federalist Papers (authored by Madison, Jay, and Hamilton) to secure passage of the Constitution by the respective states) to understand that.  A quick quote: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 45    –  aliunde 7 months ago 7

The familiar George Washington in your wallet

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative by Artist C. Daughtrey is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

February 22nd marks the 279th Birthday of George Washington.

February 27th is the 145th Birthday of Hermon A. MacNeil.

The Arch in Washington Square Park, NYC, contains TWO separate sculptures of Mr. Washington.  The presence of two distinct representations of this remarkable American rather than ONE, is remarkable.

So, why TWO statues? Well, the first statue created by Hermon A. MacNeil represented General Washington, as the soldier, the Commander of the Continental Army of the American Revolution. The second created by Stirling Calder portrayed Mr. Washington as the statesman, the President. BOTH sculptures are necessary to portray George Washington’s TWO essential roles in the creation and establishment of the American republic.  

Throughout his entire career Washington (like his founding brothers and sisters) believed, worked, fought, governed, and served the ideals of a republic as the form of government for the United States.  After the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman, “What form of government have you given us?” Franklin is said to have replied, “A Republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.” A Republic is can be defined as:

a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, retain supreme control over the government.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic

At virtually every transition of his life, Washington assumed the power necessary to accomplish the next task, THEN gave that power back when the task was done. History notes that:

When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775, Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. On July 3, 1775, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he took command of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling years.

Source:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington

After the surrender of the British at Yorktown in the summer of 1781, Washington remained encamped with the skeletal Continental Army until the Treaty of Paris was ratified by King George III in September 1783.  Before it was ratified by the Continental Congress in January 1784, Washington submitted a letter of resignation as Commanding general.  He said in part:

[To the Continental Congress]

[Annapolis, Md. 23 December 1783]

Mr President

The great events on which my resignation depended having at length taken place; I have now the honor of offering my sincere Congratulations to Congress & of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the Service of my Country. …

I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my Official life, by commanding the Interests of our dearest Country to the protection of Almighty God, and those Who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping.

Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action—and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my Commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.


Washington longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon. But he soon realized that the Nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well, so he became a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington President.

Source:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington

 Washington served two terms as president.  "The main charge levied against
Washington," according to Joseph J. Ellis, "was that he made himself into a
quasi king." 
Yet history records that while England had King George III, the newly United
States would NOT have a King George IV in George Washington.  Mr W was:

"The Man Who Refused to Be King!"

TO BE CONTINUED in next post ...


MacNeil's 1915 "Lincoln" in Lincoln Hall

Abe Lincoln will be a little late for his 202nd Birthday (Feb 12th), but he will be early for Hermon MacNeil’s 145th birthday (Feb 27th).

University of Illinois officials will bring Hermon MacNeil’s bust of Old Abe out of “safe-keeping” to be displayed in Spurlock Museum starting at 1pm on Sunday February 20, 2011.



Illini news sources bill the event as “A Nose Waiting to Be Rubbed.”

A refurbished Lincoln bust will make a guest appearance at the Spurlock Museum. Who will be the first to rub Lincoln’s nose? The doors to the Spurlock Museum open at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 20, 2011.

Fans of the Lincoln bust in Lincoln Hall won’t have to wait until the building reopens in 2012 to rub its nose for luck. Beginning on February 20, the restored bust will greet visitors to U of I’s Spurlock Museum. The display will afford visitors a rare 360-degree view of the bust and will also offer the chance to restart an old tradition.

Source: LAS News http://www.las.illinois.edu/alumni/magazine/articles/2011/bust/

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/

We at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com are pleased that our favorite sculptor’s bust of Lincoln will see the light of day and be out for Public review.  We appreciate the care taken to protect this artwork during the renovation of Lincoln Hall on the Urbana Campus. For updates on the restoration go to: Lincoln Hall Project Website:

Previous Post: May 24, 2010 MacNeil Bust of Lincoln Stored in Vault

For a Series of All of our U of I – Lincoln Hall Posts see: https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/category/location/illinois/university-of-illinois/

MacNeil Month #3 ~

During his teaching at Cornell, MacNeil saved his money to seek continued art education.  He followed the path of many an artist of his day and left for Europe in 1888.  Settling in Paris, that focus of ambitious art students, he was a pupil of Henri M. Chapu at the Julien Academy. According to Matthews:

Julien’s was actually not one, but numerous schools located in various parts of Paris, all under the dictatorship of Monsieur Julien, a former prizefighter from a small village in the south of France who after studying at the Beaux Arts and enjoying a “succes de scandale” along with Manet and Whistler in 1863 at the Salon des Refus’es, had found his forte in business, first as a promoter of wrestling matches, then, as the novelty of these wore off, as a operator of a studio for artists, which he founded in 1868.”

(Marsha M. Mathews, Henry Ossawa Tanner, American Artist, . Of Chicago Press, 1969, p 62.)

He studied as well with  Alexandre Falguiere at the cole des Beaux Arts.

Palais des Études of the École Nationale Superieur des Beaux-Arts, Paris

This was a two-year period full of inspiration and high hopes, and was only terminated by the depletion of the pennies saved up at Cornell. His return to this country was in the fortunate year of 1893, when the Columbian Exposition at Chicago had created a boom in the art world. MacNeil did not want to go back to teaching in Cornell, so went instead to the Western metropolis. He fell in with Martiny, and helped him with his decorations for various Exposition buildings. (Joseph Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America, New York, 1924. p. 310)

Henry Ossawa Tanner shared a studio with Hermon MacNeil in Paris in 1893 as they both studied at Julien Academy

Regarding the Paris period, Marsha Mathews, in her autobiography of Henry Ossawa Mathews mentions that Mathews shared studio space at rue de Seine with Hermon A. MacNeil.  Apparently this occurred in the spring of 1893.

Henry Ossawa Mathews was an American painter regarded as a realist focusing on accurate depictions of subjects. His early work, “The Banjo Lesson,” dates from that period of 1893. His later works focused on religious and biblical themes.  Both men were involved with the Columbian Exposition and the Art Institute of Chicago in the years that followed.  Mathews, as a painter, and MacNeil, as a sculptor, were to have no apparent colaboration after that period in Paris.

Pat 'n Jim guard Patten Gym at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois just north of Chicago.

MacNeil’s “Pat and Jim” were recently remembered as a play place.

"Physical Development" or "Jim," for short, achieves victory over his opponent in front of Patten Gym at Northwestern University.

“We used to climb on them,” Cindy told me yesterday. Cindy explained how as a child she would climb up from the back “Jim” to sit on his shoulders. Her perch atop this eight foot tall bronze athlete must have delighted both the little girl and the 40-something woman who now walked across Sheridan Road to inform me of her childhood game.

At the time I was photographing “Jim,” more correctly, “Physical Development,” as MacNeil titled the piece in 1916.For the last 94 years, “Jim” has stood outside Patten Gym on the northern edge of the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois.

His nearly century long vigil has been shared by his partner piece, “Pat,” or more correctly, “Intellectual Development,” as the companion sculpture was named. For a previous story on these two works go to this “Patten Gym” posting.

As quickly as Cindy appeared, she quickly went on to her next destination. I wish I had gotten her full name and photo to post here.   I have found no previous MacNeil enthusiasts who have successfully climbed one of his  sculpture.  I suppose children are more welcome than we  adults.

"H. A. MacNeil 1916" ~ The sculptor's signature and date on the base of "Pat," a.k.a. "Athletic Development"

While the abstract themes of “Physical and Intellectual Development” were what the campus designers envisioned and what Hermon A. MacNeil delivered in the “Beaux Arts,” style, the two classic Greco-Roman figures of athlete accomplishment and scholarly wisdom were soon to receive more manageable “nicknames.” As a previous post on this website suggests:

Northwestern students, however, have given them the ‘very punny’ nicknames of “Pat and Jim” or more colloquially, “Pat’nJim.”  The similarity to “Patten Gym” is quite amusing.  Such whimsy may have been known by MacNeil in his day.  His choice of the ‘tortoise and the hare’ pair on the Supreme Court pediment document his own whimsy in stone.    Let us all smile as well!

"Pat" or "Intellectual Development" holds a septer bearing the initial "N," as in Northwestern, with the owl poised for flight in front of Patten Gym.

The Northwestern University website tells the story in this way:

In the building’s early years its entranceway was ornamented with pure gold plating, and in 1917 Patten commissioned artist Hermon MacNeil to design statuary appropriate to an atmosphere of athletic aspiration. MacNeil responded with bronze figures of a man and a woman. The statues have been known to generations of students by the fond nicknames of “Pat” and “Jim.” When in 1939 Northwestern planned the construction of the Technological Institute, it was clear that the Patten Gymnasium would have to be moved to accommodate the new engineering building. Subsequently a decision was made to demolish the structure and construct a new gymnasium, also to be named for James Patten. One of the most important events held in the building during its final year was the first NCAA basketball tournament, on March 27, 1939, where the University of Oregon Ducks beat the Ohio State Buckeyes by a score of 46-33.

The vanquished opponent falls in defeat.

The companion figure to "Intellectual Development"

The original Patten Gymnasium was razed on April 1, 1940. MacNeil’s statues were retained and today grace the entrance of the present Patten Gymnasium, dedicated during Homecoming on November 2, 1940.

The art was completed by Hermon A. MacNeil in 1916. These Northwestern commissions were completed in 1916, the same year as the minting of the first Standing Liberty Coin (click to see more).

It was a busy period in MacNeil’s career.

[mappress mapid=”21″]

On a recent trip to Saint Louis, Missouri to visit family, I was met by not by “Louis” but by “Hermon”

For the last 106 years (since the Worlds Fair inspired the song “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis”) a sculpture by Hermon A. MacNeil has been quietly greeting visitors at the front door of the St Louis Art Museum. The piece resides high above the center doors at the main entrance of the building.

"ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM" is a MacNeil creation for the 1904 St Louis Worlds Fair

Saint Louis Art Museum main entrance. The MacNeil sculpture rests above the center doors recessed between the center columns.

The building itself represents one of MacNeil’s first collaborations of with renowned architect, Cass Gilbert.  His last project with Cass Gilbert was the US Supreme Court Building in 1933.

The Cass Gibert Society website offers images of his lifetime of architectural achievements.

The Saint Louis World’s Fair of 1904 was formally known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.   It was an international exposition commemorating the Louisiana purchase of 1803.  It was delayed from a planned opening in 1903 to 1904 to allow for the full-scale participation by more states and foreign countries. The song, “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis” was inspired by the 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair.

The Palace of Fine Art, designed by architect Cass Gilbert, featured a grand interior sculpture court based on the Roman Baths of Caracalla. Standing at the top of Art Hill, it now serves as the home of the Saint Louis Art Museum.  … Gilbert was also responsible for … (Saint Louis Public Library), state capitol buildings (the Minnesota, Arkansas and West Virginia State Capitols, for example) as well as public architectural icons like the United States Supreme Court building. His public buildings in the Beaux Arts style reflect the optimistic American sense that the nation was heir to Greek democracy, (Wikipedia).

The MacNeil work was a part of that “Palace of Fine Art” and his abilities in the Beaux Arts style seemed to seal his collaborative link to many projects grown from Cass Gilbert’s genius.  The inscription “ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM” translates literally from the Latin as “the Art of all Arts.”

Above the columns of the Saint Louis Art Museum are inscribed the words, “DEDICATED TO ART AND FREE TO ALL – MDCDIII.”  That Free to All spirit remains today in that admission is free through a subsidy from the ZMD.

A New York Times article offers editorial on “free art” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/22/arts/design/22admi.html?_r=1

The SLAM is one of the principal U.S. art museums, visited by up to a half million people every year.  MacNeil’s art is among some of the first to silently greet them.

The Art Museum at Forest Park in Saint. Louis, Missouri at night. on 27 September 2008. (credit: Kitz000 - Matt Kitces at Wikipedia Commons ) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:StLouisArtMuseum.jpg



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


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