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 and info about these works by MacNeil. ]

~ 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 Chicago Loop

My recent post about our December 3rd journey on the CTA Blue Line train to the Chicago Loop and the Art Institute of Chicago ended with a discussion of “The Sun Vow” and my photo array taken in the Sculpture Court.  [Searching for Uncle Hermon in Chicago ~ “The Sun Vow” ]

Another MacNeil piece just steps away in the adjoining American Gallery provides a “preface” to the story of “The Sun Vow”.

Modeled in 1894 that earlier piece was called “Vow of Vengeance.” It shows one of MacNeil’s early studies in Native American depiction.  It followed his exposure to the Chicago World Fair, his fascination with sketching the Indians in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and his modeling work with Black Pipe. (Black Pipe was a young Sioux who worked in Hermon’s studio and modeled for several pieces during 1893-94.  He helped with physical labor in the studio as well.  CLICK for MORE on Black Pipe and “Primitive Chant”) 

IMG_0697

MacNeil’s early study “Vow of Vengeance” that evolved into “The Sun Vow”. Art Institute of Chicago. [ Photo Credit: Dan Leininger, 2014 ]

Several pieces dated 1894 seemed to be early prototypes for later larger works and castings.  The “Vow of Vengeance” appears to be one of the more prominent.  I know of no other copies elsewhere.

A blog about the Art Institute observes some mingling of the identity of the two pieces:

The Vow of Vengeance -1894
By Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
What’s in a name?
Well, somehow I noticed a discrepancy in the name..
The Art Institute website calls it – The Vow of Vengeance [1894]
But marker at the Art Institute has the name – The Sun Vow [Modeled-1898, Cast-1901]. http://theartinstituteofchicago.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html.

 The Two “Vows” Compared  IMG_0698

While the “Vow of Vengeance” and “The Sun Vow” contain similar elements, what they communicate seems quite different:

  1. TITLE: The two titles carry contrasting emotional messages. The first (Vow of Vengeance) conveys negative aggression and hostile feeling toward some enemy, while the second (Sun Vow) depicts a more positive rite of passage from boyhood to manhood within a setting of family and tribal affirmation.
  2. GROUPING: The boy and the Elder (Warrior, Chief) are grouped to convey different emotional tones in the two pieces.  In “Vengeance,” the chief wears his war bonnet on his head. He is dressed to present tribal authority to the enemy. His face seems harsh and his posture stiff.  The Boy strains his head high up into the air.  Their grouping seems tense. IMG_0678In “Sun Vow” the two figures are closer and seem to be “more one.” The Chief has removed his bonnet so as to lean into the boy’s line of sight. The boy is also more grace-full. He looks to the arrow and the sun without straining.  Both gaze in the seeming wonder and mystical pleasure of the physical rite. 

1894 ~ Prototype Year:

In addition to the “Vow of Vengeance” we have found evidence of another prototype from 1894.

A previous posting tells James Dixon’s story of a MacNeil piece acquired by his Great-great grandmother, Edna Lord.  The sculpture bears the title  “Primitive Music” on its base.  [ CLICK Here for more ]

Photos on that previous post suggest that Edna Lord’s  “Primitive Indian Music” was an early prototype of the “Primitive Chant” (which was much more polished and finely surfaced)

It is also based on “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave. MacNeil  first saw Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show and we know that he returned many times to study the Indians.   Like MacNeil, I have return to this story of “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave, numerous times, and perhaps, will return many more.  ~~  DNL

Hermon MacNeil ~ After the World’s Columbian Exposition

The period after the end of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair was a lean, even dry time, financially for Hermon MacNeil. We do know that he continued to maintain a studio, sculpt models, teach at the Art Institute of Chicago, and associate with art colleagues and benefactors there. Yet, it seems a productive time of transition, expression, and experimentation for the as the young sculptor.

Traveling to the Art Museum, we walked out of the underground on Dearborn Street just a block south of the Marquette Building which is home to Hermon MacNeil’s 1895 sculptures of 4 bronze relief panels [Cick Here]. This commission marked his recognition and selection for the award of the Rinehart Roman Scholarship.  This began 3 years in Rome and another in Paris for he and his young bride, Carol Brooks. The bronze reliefs stands today as an icon to Marquette and his life among the Native peoples. The building has been restored by the MacArthur Foundation and now houses their international headquarters.

Those works tell the story Father Marquette explorations to Native peoples of Illinois. MacNeil would return to Chicago and the Marquette themes three decades later as he sculpted the bronze grouping [CLICK HERE] of Pere Marquette, Louis Jolliete, and an Illinois Indian on Marshall Boulevard.  Commissioned by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson  Monument Fund, this sculpture has faced the greenway of the boulevard for 88 years.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at hefoot of the Monument.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at hefoot of the Monument.

In the early 1900s, because of his knowledge and authorship on American Sculpture, Lorado Taft was referred to by many as ‘the Dean of American Sculpture.’   He offered early praise for Hermon Atkins MacNeil.  His admiration of MacNeil’s work continued into the 1920s when he recommended MacNeil’s “Lawyer Lincoln” bust to the University Of Illinois to grace the spiral entry foyer of Lincoln Hall.

In Chapter XXIII of his volume “THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN SCULPTURE” (originally published in 1903), Taft offers the following praise of the young MacNeil:

THE YOUNGER GENERATION IN NEW YORK

 The opening twentieth century brings before us a group of young sculptors equipped by nature and by training as in the past few Americans have been. …

One of the most promising of this number is Hermon A. MacNeil.

Marquette Panel #4 (detail)

Well equipped with the training which the Parisian studios give, Mr. MacNeil was early discontented with the banality of modern sculptural themes. The makeshift subjects of his comrades seemed to him unworthy. He wanted to do things more original and more truly expressive. Western life and the Indian had for him a great appeal, and he made several trips to the redman’s reservations north and west, in order to study what he considered the most sculptural motifs which America offers.

His reliefs over the doors of the Marquette building in Chicago — scenes of the life and death [ p. 437 > p. 438 ] of Pere Marquette — show to what good use he put his material. He was wont to talk of the artistic possibilities of the Indian in sculpture with an enthusiasm that was eloquent if not always convincing. To him they were as fine as Greek warriors and as worthy to be immortalized. …

More of Taft’s critique on H. A. MacNeil will be offered in upcoming postings on HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.

 

"Hermon Atkins MacNeil" in studio smock. A portrait by Milton Herbert Bancroft

In December 1895, 

"The de Profundus was intoned ..." (detail from right side of Panel 4).

  • Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s four bas relief panels depicting the life of Fr. Pére Marquette were put in place on the new Marquette Building in Chicago.
  • He received word that he had been awarded the Rinehart Prize for study in Rome.
  • On Christmas Day he married Carol Louise Brooks, a sculptor herself, who studied with MacNeil and shared many of the same colleagues.

    Carol Brooks MacNeil - 1907 - Twelve years after her marriage to Hermon

  • On New Years Day, or there about, they sailed for Rome and what would become 3 years of further study there, then going to Paris for a fourth year and exhibiting at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.

While we can imagine Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s state of mind in December 1895 to be quite elated, we have actual historical reference on MacNeil’s mood written by Amy Aldis Bradley, another artist friend who completed art for the Marquette project.

Amy Aldis Bradley wrote in 1895 to Peter Brooks, developer for the new Marquette Building in Chicago and employer of her father, stating the following: 

  “McNeil’s [sic] panels are being placed in position. It is greatly to their and his credit that these bas-reliefs have won for him the Roman [Rinehart] Fellowship. The Commission, choosing him as the best of the very young men…The young sculptor was married on Christmas Day, and sailed for Rome on Wednesday, and is, on the whole, the most happy young man I know. He is very grateful to the owners of the Marquette Building.  (Based of information from the MacArthur Foundation, current owner and curator of the Marquette Building, cited at their website: (http://marquette.macfound.org/slide/herman-macneil/ )

Marriage License of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks issued on December 24th, 1895 and completed on Christmas Day 1895 by Rev. Edward F. Williams, Congregational Minister.

Hermon and Carol obtained a marriage license on Christmas Eve Day (Dec. 24th).  They were married on Christmas Day.  The dates seem to imply that they had a wedding ‘not long in the planning.’

Christmas Day in 1895, fell on a Wednesday. The following Wednesday, of course, was New Years Day. We do not have other confirmation that they sailed on New Years Day for France, but it seems to be consistent with plans to go to Rome quickly. The article below was written on December 19th, then published on December 22, 1895 in the NY Sun.  The reporter states that MacNeil would like to leave for Rome in about a week.  That is consistent with the other evidence.

We know that MacNeil inquired of the  Rinehart Committee if he could still fulfill the Rinehart Award conditions if he was a married man. They suggested that it would be a one year award under those conditions.  As it turned out he was given three years.  We do not know if he their fourth year spent in Paris was at their own expense or financed on their own.

The full text of the December 22, 1895 article that appeared in the New York Sun is posted below. In it the reporter states:

“When found in his studio yesterday, the young sculptor was busily at work on a crude mass of clay, from which were gradually emerging the features and forms of a Pueblo Indian. He was surrounded by a miscellaneous assortment of tools, plaster, and casts.  He left his work to discuss his good fortune.”

Here is is in its entirety. Enjoy!

December 22, 1895 – New York Sun, (CLICK HERE) see columns 5 and 6

New York Sun December 22, 1895 "The Rinehart Prize Winner ~ Hermon Atkins MacNeil of Chicago"

While Chicagoans have seen these two MacNeil sculptures daily, they are new to this website’s collection of Hermon A. MacNeil’s art.  The groupings reside on Cook County Building. Each contain two male figures holding the Seal of Cook County. They are visible daily, across from the Daly Center at 118 N. Clark St.

MacNeil ~ Bas Relief - Seal of Cook County -1908 (left pair)

LEFT Pair 1).   VIEW A:  (Photo credit: Atelier Teee at Flickr)  http://www.flickr.com/photos/atelier_tee/2532280839/#/

VIEW B: (Photo Credit: Atelier Teee)  http://cookingimages.com/cook-county-building-sculpture/

RIGHT Pair 2).  VIEW C: http://img.groundspeak.com/waymarking/large/4a5e4e68-f29a-497f-86fc-97eeb563b75f.jpg

VIEW D: (Photo Credit: adgorn at Waymarking)  http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8APA_Cook_County_Building_Figures_Chicago_IL

These, along with two sculptures by MacNeil, two others by Leon Hermant and Carl Beil (“Labor on Water” & “Labor on Land”), adorn the building.  All four maybe seen in the video below.  This two minute video of the group has been produced by MindsMedia at their link below:
Bas reliefs by MacNeil and Hermant

Completed in 1908, the Cook County Building houses Courtrooms and public offices. At the time the 200 foot skyscraper dwarfed it’s neighbors, but now sits in the shadows of later skyscrapers in the downtown. Chicago City Hall, the twin structure on the same block was completed in 1912.

Photo & history of the building available at:  ArchitectureFarm

http://architecturefarm.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/old-chicago-skyscraper-of-the-week-citycounty-building/

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~ MacNeil Month #4 ~

Last night. the new FOX cop drama “Chicago Code” showed Hermon A. MacNeil’s art in the Chicago loop.

MacNeils bronze panels above the Marquette’s four doors were prominent in the pilot episode of “Chicago Code” on FOX last night.

A scene featured the front of  the Marquette Building at 140 S. Dearborn Street. The building with it’ s four MacNeil Bronze panels (above the doors in the photo at right) was used as an evacuated office building.  Detective Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) and his partner, Caleb Evers (Matt Lauria), create a fire-alarm-diversion-tactic to clear the office.  Office workers evacuated and stood on the side walk with the sculptures visible behind them.

FOX showed great shots of Chicago throughout the new series pilot, but the Marquette Building was our personal favorite.  We will keep searching for a still photo from that scene in this new fast action drama. For the link to the entire episode, see below.

Stay tuned to FOX and this website for more action (and possibly more MacNeil sculpture scenes — we are 1 for 1 so far this season). For video of news review from  Chicago check out MYFOXChicago.com.

For more info on Macneil’s 1895 sculptures on the Marquette Building check out this posting: https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/06/

The “Chicago Code” Pilot episode can be viewed at the link below. The Marquette Building scene starts at 17:54.  The  MacNeil panels are visible only for 6 seconds, but the scene outside the building continues for  almost a minute to 18:50.  No still photos have been found of this segment of the show. MacNeil Bronze relief panels on Marquette Building.

From the website archieves here's a less crowded group photo (6-12-10) of the MacNeil's bronze relief sculptures on the Marquette Building. The group includes the webmaster and family members examining and documenting the art.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s four bronze relief panels depicting the life of Father Marquette contain great detail.  The pictures in this album offer example of that.  They are also from our recent visit to the Chicago loop to document this art for the website.

Below you will find our Brief Videos of each of the four panels follow along with photos from the building:

[Click here Panel 1 for video]

“To follow those waters … which will hence forth lead us into strange lands.”

Photo of Panel 1

Panel 1 ” To follow those waters …”

[Click here Panel 2 for Video]

“In vain I showed the calumet …  to explain that we had not come as enemies.”

Photo of Panel 2

Panel 2 "In vain I showed the calumet …”

[ Click here Panel 3 for Video]

“Passing two leagues up the river we resolved to winter there … being detained by my illness.”

Photo of Panel 3

Panel 3 "Passing two leagues up the river ..."

[Click here Panel 4 for Video]

“The de Profundis was intoned … the body was then carried to the church.”

Photo of Panel 4

Panel 4 - "The de Profundis was intoned ..

"The de Profundus was intoned ..." from Panel 4 (right)

The Chicago Historical Society has recorded a brochure from the early 1900s describing Chicago as a Tourist point and Summer Resort.  The paragraph on the Marquette building and MacNeil’s art is as follows:

A block further south on Dearborn Street, on the west side, near the
corner of Adams Street, is the main entrance to the Marquette, a memorial
office building commemorating the great missionary and explorer of that
name. Over the lintels, on the outside, are statuary and descriptive bronze
tablets as follows, the accompanying legends being quotations from
Marquette's journal: 

Marquette and Joliet launching their canoe on the headwaters of the
Wisconsin River "To follow those waters * * * which will henceforth
lead us into strange lands." 

Marquette and Joliet attacked by Indians on the Mississippi "In vain I
showed the calumet * * * to explain that we had not come as enemies." 

Arrival of Marquette at the Chicago River "Passing two leagues up the
river we resolved to winter there * * * being detained by my illness."
 
Burial of Marquette at St. Ignace (Dablon's Narrative) "The De Profundis
was intoned * * * the body was then carried to the church. " 

Inside the portal one is in a compact but beautiful and unique rotunda
of-carrara marble, in which are exquisite Tiffany glass and mother-of-
pearl mosaics,further depicting the career of Marquette. These consist of
panels showing the armour and weapons of the period, the heads of Marquette
and Joliet, an Indian chief, a French man-at-arms, a courier-de-bois, and
the following three principal panels, the legends thereon being from
Marquette's journal:
 
Departure of Marquette and Joliet from St. Ignace on their first voyage to the
Illinois "Firmly resolved to do all and suffer all for so glorious an enterprise."
 
The meeting with the Illinois "They answered that they were Illinois, and in
token of peace presented the pipe to smoke. ' ' 
The Death of Marquette (Dablon's Narrative) "To die as he had always asked in a
wretched cabin amid the forest, destitute of all human aid." 

http://libsysdigi.library.uiuc.edu/OCA/Books2009-11/chicagofortouris00illi/chicagofortouris00illi_djvu.txt

H.A. MacNeil "Fan Club" Members examine the Marquette Building - 140 S. Dearborn Ave.

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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
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WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS of MacNeil's work! Here's some photo 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