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

I had the privilege of visiting the MAM site this week and will post a  larger story soon.  For now, here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”.

Here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” with yours truly camera in hand.

I had the privilege of visiting the MAM site this week and will post a  larger story soon.  For now, here’s an editorial by Frank Gerard Godlewski, Historian & NY Armory Arts Week Curator

It demonstrates a strong strain of public opinion in Montclair, NJ, concerning the “Sun Vow” a gift of Wm T. Evans. Montclair citizens have viewed and driven by this MacNeil original for over 100 years. What follows below is a re-posting of a Patch Montclair facebook page: ( https://patch.com/new-jersey/montclair/respecting-sun-vow )

Montclair Op-Ed: ‘Respecting The Sun Vow’

Regarding the Montclair Art Museum’s landscape re development proposal for the Planning Board Meeting Monday August 26 at 7:30 PM

By Frank Gerard Godlewski | | Updated

This post was contributed by a community member.
 
Montclair Op-Ed: Respecting The Sun Vow
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947), The Sun Vow, 1899 (cast 1902), Bronze, 68 x 45 x 29 in., Gift of William T. Evans, 1913
MONTCLAIR, NJ — The following article comes courtesy of a Montclair Patch community member. Learn more about posting announcements or events to your local Patch site.The Montclair Art Museum is a cultural landscape masterpiece conceived by the visionary founding planners of our community. Today, it is an important cultural focal point and should continue to thrive and develop. It would be “bad grammer” however, within it’s dialogue with the community, for the Museum to erase our culteral/artistic legasy and its symols from our collective memory’s landscape..The Museum’s re development proposal calls for the removal of the “Sun Vow” statue which is one of the earliest art pieces collected by William T. Evans, the museum’s founder (1909). The statute, placed on its erratic naturalistic rock, occupies a prominent location in the historic landscape as does the Lebanese Cedar tree that was cultivated and planted by the local landscape design visionary Howard Van Vleck. The plan proposes to remove the existing tree and historic sculpture to create a reflecting pond and a new commissioned sculpture.The founders of the museum inteded to preserve our natural beauty and our cultural heritage. The Sun Vow statue is a symbol from our cultural past. Montclair, once the home of the Lenne Lenape has lost most of its native american symbols, except perhaps or the names like Watchung and Yanticaw. Dianne Lewis, NY architect stated at her Montclair Art Museum presentation “Why Montclair is Montclair” that “Montclair is a mystical visionary landscape that preserves the ghosts of the Native Americans. It has a tragic dimension. Montclair is not an ordinary suburban condition, it is like Fiesole in Tuscany and a becon of light seen from the distance.”The intention of Mr. Evans was to place the Sun Vow piece infront of the building so that it could be enjoyed by passers by from the street as well as the grounds. Why change that?

 
Museum’s founders were components of the Municipal Arts Commission who intended to preserve the natural beauty of Montclair with the creation of the first 1906 Master Plan.A 1902 Montclair Times Article about the Sun Vow statue states:”Object of the municipal art commission. The objective of this commission shall be to promote in all practical ways the beautifying of Montclair, to preserve the distinctive charm of the country town, and to exert influence to the end that the principle of local fitness shall be served in public and private improvements, to consider the probable future development of Montclair, and to plan for meeting it’s needs. To influence a just appreciation of the value of art in daily life and to encourage and promote the public and private use and patronage of good art in Montclair. Montclair is fortunate in having one of the notable groups of recent statuary permanently placed where our people may enjoy it. Mr. William T Evans who has brought to Montclair his choice collection of works of painters, has just placed upon his grounds the bronze group by H. A. McNeil, which received the highest award of the gold medal at Buffalo, and a silver medal at the Paris exposition. The group represents (an Indian) a native American boy taking the sun test, which is to decide whether he shall be classed with them the men of the tribe or shall go back to play with the children.… Mr. Evans, appropriate use of a great bolder of the massive granitoid gneiss of our New Jersey Highlands, as a pedestal for the group makes it easy to imagine the test on a rugged hilltop in the blazing glare of the midday sun. … The bolder was found by Mr. James Owen at Singac. It weighs 12 tons and was brought to Montclair upon a truck drawn by 12 horses.”The removal of the “Sun Vow” statue, a gift to the community from the museum’s founder as well as the proposed changes to the front yard of the museum subtract from our cultural patrimony. With the current local trends of re development, our collective memory of the township and its original beauty is disappearing. All you have to do is look down Bloomfield Avenue to see these aesthetic changes.The front yard of the Museum is a very important part of our cultural legacy. It is an icon ingrained in our community’s collective memory. Each element in front of the facade has a significance. The museum’s founders intentions and the valuable historic landscape should be respected and remain as a learning tool of our original cultural legacy to teach to the new generations to come.Frank Gerard Godlewski, Historian & NY Armory Arts Week CuratorDon’t forget to visit the Patch Montclair Facebook page. Send local news tips and correction requests to eric.kiefer@patch.com

A grounds renovation at the Montclair Art Museum could result in the removal of the bronze Sun Vow which has been at the entrance since 1914. Plans include a reflecting pond with a newly-commissioned sculpture.
Credit: DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI/STAFF [Source: Montclair Local News 2019/7/03 ]

The web site has received information that  MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” may lose its place of prominence at the entry circle of the Montclair Art Museum (NJ).  The statue was a gift of the co-founder, William T. Evans.  It has been welcoming patrons to the front door for over a century after William Evans (the donor and co-founder) commissioned it in 1903, and placed it there in 1914.  

The Monclair Local contains an article by Jaimie Julia Winters titled, Sculpture Removal, Tree Loss Concerns Raised with Outdoor Expansion”

Winters states:

Plans to upgrade the grounds of the Montclair Art Museum have been met with criticism from the community and the township’s historic preservation consultant over alterations to the “cultural landscape,” tree removals and the relocation of the bronze statue by Hermon Atkins MacNeil located at the entrance since the museum opened in 1914.

The New Plan– [SOURCE: https://www.montclairlocal.news/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Screen-Shot-2019-06-28-at-1.03.25-PM-1.png/

The architectural rendering above shows the new plan. The article in the Montclair Local offers a description:

A new reflecting pond is planned for the grassy area in front of the museum on S. Mountain Avenue. Plans also include removing the Sun Vow sculpture and place a new, yet-to-be-commissioned piece of art in the pond. The cypress tree located in the front, reportedly planted by Van Vleck, will also be removed.

The circular driveway connecting the parking lot to the turn-around area will be repaved with granite blocks. Handicapped parking spaces along the driveway will also be reconfigured.

(Architect Paul) Sionas told the Historic Preservation Commission that original plans for the museum called for a reflecting pool and referred to a rendering dating back to 1915 of the museum front with people in top hats and with the statue in the middle of a reflecting pool.

The website has been contacted by “a group of concerned Montclair residents who want the sculpture to remain in its original location.”

Kathleen Bennett, chair of the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission, stated:
I am writing to you concerning the copy the Montclair Art Museum (NJ) of the “Sun Vow” which was given to the Montclair Art Museum when it opened in 1914. The donor was Mr. William T. Evans, who (we are told) commissioned the first copy for the front lawn of his mansion in Montclair in 1903. He gifted it to the Montclair Museum where it held pride-of-place until now.  The board of the museum now want to move the sculpture to another location, as yet unknown, and replace it with a “contemporary” sculpture. We are a group of concerned Montclair residents who want the sculpture to remain in its original location. 

“We feel that to move the sculpture from the front of the museum completely negates the original donor’s intentions.”

William Evans donated the Sun Vow bronze statue, which sits on a rock outside the main entrance of MAM. Bronze statues are typically duplicated in full-size. Famous works such as the Sun Vow have been reproduced in both half size and even quarter size replicas.  A half-size Sun Vow (seen below) exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (cast in 1919).  The original full-size “Sun Vow” graces the Chicago Institute of Art (cast in 1901).  The first-copy of the original may be on the move at  MAM.

"The Sun Vow" by H A MacNeil

The “Sun Vow” by H. A. MacNeil graces the courtyard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This copy was cast in half-size later in 1919.

“Sun Vow” by Hermon MacNeil at the Art Institute of Chicago cast in 1901. [Photo by Dan Leininger, webmaster, www.HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com ]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The MAM First copy of the “Sun Vow” is older than any other except the Art Institute of Chicago.  It is a historic piece in the world of art and the history of Montclair Art Museum (MAM)

Note BELOW the antique book plate put out be The Montclair Art Association: (date unknown).

P.S.
Kathleen Bennett praise this website by saying:   “Your website is extremely informative about Hermon Atkins MacNeil and I hope you will add Montclair’s “Sun Vow” to the site.”
Thanks Kathleen.
Here is Part One.
More to come … Stay tuned to https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com
 
Daniel Neil Leininger
webmaster
 

Mary Lawrence was a talented sculptor.  All that is left of her work in the 1893 World’s Fair are the pictures, as depicted below.

“Christopher Columbus” by Mary Lawrence at the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, Chicago, Illinois

She became one of The White Rabbits along with Carol (Carrie) Brooks (MacNeil) and numerous other “women assistants” to Lorado Taft and other male sculptors.  They helped create “the White City” as the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair was known. The material was temporary, made of staff plaster, and modeled on wooden and medal frameworks.  The elegance of the White City inspired 

Lawrence was a pupil of Augustus Saint Gaudens at the Art Students League of New York for five years.  In that period, she proved her skills many times over. 

In the Chicago exhibition, her work with the White Rabbits was overpowered by an accomplishment central to the Court of Honor.

Saint Gaudens’ recommended that she create the theme statue of the exposition, namely, the monumental center-piece of Christopher Columbus. 1 This work was to be placed in the Court of Honor at the entrance of the Administration Building. 

Frank Millet, who served as Director of Decorations, resented that a woman “had been selected, and seemed to bear her some personal animus as well.” 2   Seeing the piece put on such a prominent place, he ordered her to move the statue to the plaza of the railroad station. Lawrence complied even though Charles F. McKim, architect for Exposition, had told to place the work at that location.  His authority to do so was second only to Daniel Burnham, the Chief Coordinating Architect.

She approached McKim a second time to tell him of the change.  He had the statue returned to the Court of Honor at the Administration Building entrance.  McKim worked with Augustus Saint Gaudens on many projects.  He was introduced to Mary Lawrence by Saint Gaudens as they collaborated in New York on early plans for the Exposition in Chicago.

Though McKim was twenty years senior to Mary Lawrence, Bruce Wilkinson describes their relationship in this way:

“Her good looks and high spirits made her popular with the young and the not so young.  Charles Follen McKim, whose second wife had died tragically after one short idyllic year, fell in love with her and remained a little so all the rest of his crowded life.”

Kim, Burnham, and especially, Lorado Taft were open to women as students and sculptors. Their show of support in the White Rabbitsdecision advanced opportunities for women for years to come. 

Janet Scudder (1869-1940) was one of Taft’s students who described her own the joy filled elation and that of her White-Rabbit-sisters in the following way:

“Janet describes working under Loredo as “That wonderful year! Filled with work, filled with accomplishment and filled with what was considered in those days a very fat salary!”[2] The salary was so large that, upon being paid, “We rushed back to our rooms at the hotel, opened the envelopes and poured out the five-dollar bills (for some reason we were paid our hundred and fifty dollars in five-dollar bills,) and carpeted the floor with them. We wanted to see what it felt like to walk on money.” [3] 3

The Joy of the “White Rabbits” changed their lives and the future of sculpture.

Women and men working on figures for the East entrance to the Horticulture Building in Taft’s section of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Chicago History Museum Images. SOURCE: [ At: https://discoverherstory.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/white-rabbits-american-women-sculptors/ on March 1, 2019.]

 

Footnotes:

  1. White City

    Most of the buildings of the fair were designed in the neoclassical architecture style. The area at the Court of Honor was known as The White City. Façades were made not of stone, but of a mixture of plaster, cement, and jute fiber called staff, which was painted white, giving the buildings their “gleam”. Architecture critics derided the structures as “decorated sheds”. The buildings were clad in white stucco, which, in comparison to the tenements of Chicago, seemed illuminated. It was also called the White City because of the extensive use of street lights, which made the boulevards and buildings usable at night.
  2. Bruce Wilkinson, Uncommon Clay: The Life and Works of Augustus Saint Gaudens. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, Orlando, Florida, 1985, p. 249
  3. Ibid.
  4. Janet Scudder: “White Rabbits: American Women Sculptors”. [ At: https://discoverherstory.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/white-rabbits-american-women-sculptors/ on March 1, 2019.]

 

TODAY marks the  153rd anniversary of the birth

of Hermon Atkins MacNeil

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

AND THE 10th Year of my Search for “Uncle Hermon”
for whom this website is dedicated.

For a brief summary of his life and work click here for => A Brief Bio of Hermon Atkins MacNeil 

This website also is inspired by the memory of my mother, Ollie McNeil Leininger.

I remember my mother telling me about her “Uncle Hermon.” 

She handed me some Liberty Standing Quarters”  from her grocery change and showed me the little “M” at the left foot of Lady Liberty.

She showed me “The Sun Vow” statue in the Saint Louis Art Museum.  We also visited The Pony Express” statue in St. Joseph, Missouri.  I grew up with a sense of pride and quiet fascination with mom’s “Uncle Hermon” 

I never met “Uncle Hermon”

Hermon A. MacNeil died on October 2, 1947 at the age of 81 years, 7 months, and 8 days.  On the day that he died I was just two years-old.

To read the whole article, Click and open in a separate window

My own Mother died years later in the winter of 1985. At that time, I wrote:

With her passing a warm, safe feeling faded from my world. I was the “baby” of her six children. Her death ushered in feelings of being a midlife orphan who would soon turn forty. Darkness seemed to creep in from the far corners of my life. A strange fearful child inside of me said, “Who will take care of me now?”

 

As the years passed, I would think of mom, and occasionally, of her “Uncle Hermon.”

By the turn of the 2K millennium, computers and the internet had become household items.  This allowed people to hunt, find, and save data.  I found fascinating stories about Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Virtually anything from anywhere could be researched. 

In 2010, I met Dan DeBlock. He is a retired Army Chaplain and Lutheran Minister who builds websites for churches.  It started as a hobby interest and became Leiturgia Communications, Inc. The Host and Tech Support for this website.

One day I asked Dan DeBlock, “Could a website be built as virtual gallery of the sculpture of Hermon Atkins MacNeil?”

Nine years and 170 stories later, “HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com” is the answer to my question and Dan’s hosting.

In that year (2010), I seriously began my “Searching for Uncle Hermon.”

That journey continues.  This is story # 171 – A Birthday Present for Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School.

 

  • Hermon MacNeil spent the summer of 1888 and the years of 1889-91 studying in Paris.  The following video shares some of the recent restoration of the Ecole de Beaux Arts.  This video tells the part of Ralph Lauren and company as benefactors to this world class seat of painting and sculpture.

Palais des Estudes in 2005 BEFORE restorations

Palais des Estudes in 2005 BEFORE restorations

Following photos are credited to Dan Leininger, webmaster,  from a tour of France in May 2015

Palais des Etudes in 2015 AFTER the restorations.

Palais des Etudes in 2015 AFTER the restorations.

 

DSCN4214 DSCN4212

 

DSCN4228

The inscription above the statues reads as follows “This monument begun under Louis XVIII, was completed in 1837 By Louis-Philippe”

DSCN4217

The year 1836 marks the beginning of the Hemicycle below.

DSCN4220

The Hemicycle of the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts, C.1836-41 was also brought back to life in the recent restorations. The original work was by Delaroche, Hippolyte (Paul) (1797-1856); French. Medium: oil on paper glued on canvas. Date: 19th Century. Les grands maitres autour d’Apelle, Ictinos et Phidias; 70 artists from antiquity to time of Louis XIV; architects and sculptors of the Parthenon; Provenance: Musee des Beaux-Arts, Paris France

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

2016-rev-1

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

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

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

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

.

 

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

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

Better yet, SUBSCRIBE by clicking the button.

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