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 Chicago Loop

MacNeil's bronze sculpture of Marquette with an Ilinois Indian on his right hand.

Today we took a short trip south from our daughter’s home in Logan Square here in Chicago.  We drove south down through Douglas Park on Sacramento Blvd to Marshall Blvd as it becomes West 24th Blvd. There we found the 85 year old bronze grouping of Pere Marquette, Louis Jolliete, and an Illinois Indian that faces the greenway of the boulevard.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil completed this sculpture in 1926 under a commission by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson Monument Fund.  Between 1905 and 1931 the Fund placed ten sculptures throughout various parks and beltways of Chicago.

Benjamin Franklin Ferguson, an Chicago lumber baron, left a million dollars in his will of 1905 for the purpose of  “The erection and maintenance of enduring statuary and monuments, in whole or in part of stone, granite or bronze in the parks, along the boulevards or in other public places.”

The massive scale of the trio grouping of about 12 feet on a 6 foot pedestal is visible as one approaches the Monument along Marshall and 24th Avenue Boulevards.

Chicagoans pass by the Marquette Monument daily as it towers over the Boulevards.

The bronze rests on a stone base which has aged (along with the neighborhood) in the eighty-five years since the monument was placed along the busy parkway.

Moccassin detail of Illinois Indian.

MacNeil chose to portray a clean-shaven Marquette.  The many images commemorating the French priest vary in their depiction of his appearance.  Hundreds of monuments and statues stretch  across the path of Marquette’s 17th century missionary exploration of the central U.S. frontier.

Detail of Illinois indian's leg and mocassin shows the sculptor's attention to the human form.

While conducting research for her master’s thesis, Ruth Nelson fell in love with the story of St. Ignace founder Father Jacques Marquette and his exploration of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. That admiration for Fr. Marquette history has led her around the Midwest learning things long forgotten by many. Her goal is to share what she learns with the many towns connected to Fr. Marquette.

As an art history major at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ms. Nelson wrote her master’s thesis on the artwork in the lobby of the Marquette Building in downtown Chicago, focusing on the mosaic and bronze artwork centralized around Fr. Marquette and his travels.

Bibliography: Ruth Nelson: “Conflict and Resolution on Gilded Age Grandeur: The Artistic Program of the Marquette Building Interior,” University of Illinois at Chicago, Master’s Thesis, 2007

As mentioned in the May 22nd posting on this website, the MacNeil Relief Panels in the Marquette Building in Chicago Loop have been restored and reinstalled in the building edifice on Dearborn Street.

The Mackinaw Island Town Crier quoted Ms. Ruth Nelson as observing:

“We really don’t know what Marquette looks like, everyone has a different interpretation.”

In her years of research, Nelson has found that different statues of Fr. Marquette around the Great Lakes feature him differently.  “Some depict him clean-shaven or with a beard, bald or with a full head of hair, and still others feature him with a stern-looking facial expression or a calm demeanor.”

MacNeil chose a young Marquette, clean-shaven and gentle faced in the Reliefs for the Marquette building.  This second sculpture cast in 1926 bears a similar resemblance, particular to MacNeil’s conception of Jesuit priest.

The Marquette and Joliette faces of MacNeil’s 1899 bronze reliefs at the Marquette building in the Loop resemble those likenesses he placed in this larger statue grouping of 1926. {The priest did seem to lose some hair in the 27 year interval.}

The Marquette and Joliette faces of MacNeil's 1899 bronze reliefs at the Marquette building in the Loop resemble those likenesses he placed in this larger statue grouping of 1926. {The priest did seem to lose some hair in the 27 year interval.}

MacNeil's Jolliete image of 1926.

We can thank the B F Ferguson Monument Fund, now administered by the Art Institute of Chicago, for its ongoing completion of Mr Ferguson’s vision of an art-full Chicago.  The MacNeil work comes from the earliest quarter century of the Fund’s comissions, and represents a heroic style of commemoration common to the era.

Only by standing before the sculpture can its massive scale and detail be appreciated as it towers over the boulevards.   This reminder of history and the heroic figures was central to the early wish of BF Ferguson in his 1905 bequest to the Arts in Chicago.

[mappress]

Only by standing before the sculpture can its massive scale and detail be appreciated as it towers over the boulevards. Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at the foot of the Monument.

Gregory H. Jenkins AIA, Chicago architect and keeper of the  “Chicago Sculpture in the Loop” website has documented the restoration of Hermon Akins MacNeil ‘s 117 year old bronze relief panels depicting the burial of Pere Marquette by the Native American people who he befriended. The four panels are part of the historic character and preservation of the The Marquette Building, a Chicago architectural and business land mark currently home to Holabird and Roche.

The Marquette building in the Loop is one of Chicago’s many commercial and corporate centers committed to preserving the history, art, and architecture of the city.

“I walk by there everyday on my way to work,” my daughter, Rachel, said when I showed her Gregory Jenkin’s well-done website postings.   The four bronze panels are an inconspicuous part of the Marquette Building at 140 Dearborn St in the downtown. These art treasures are easily lost to passer-byes in the bustling Chicago loop.   As you can see from the photo below, they reside about 10 feet above the noise and scurry of the fast-paced pedestrians, cars, limos, delivery trucks and  on Dearborn St (as in Ft Dearborn, children! – see below).

The four panels above the doors were restored in the summer of 2009 by  the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, as a part of its ongoing curatorship of the arts and the The Marquette Building. Gregory H. Jenkins posted the following comments on the significance of this art and preservation on the website:

“The Marquette Building was completed in 1895. Twenty years had passed since the Battle of Little Bighorn. And the passing of the the American Indian had, by then, become on object of confused Romanticism. The Fort Dearborn Massacre was still a story Chicago grandparents told their grandchildren. (Bad Indians!) But the country now stretched from Ocean to Ocean. And the time of Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet hiking a bucolic Chicago River –helped along by Native Americans — was, surely, regretfully, gone forever.”

In four postings Jenkins follows the progress of the restoration replacement of the panels

July 4, 2009 – Post 1 – http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-buiding-hermon-atkins-macneil.html

July 12, 2009 – Post 2:  http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/search?q=macNeil&updated-max=2009-07-01T15%3A23%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=20

July 18, 2009 – Post 3:  http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-building-hermon-atkins_18.html

July 22, 2009 – Post 4: http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-building-hermon-atkins_22.html

MacNeil’s bronze relief sculptures tell the story of Marquette’s discoveries and life among the Illinois people. [This picture of 6-12-10 includes the webmaster and family mambers examining and documenting the art.

Jenkins tells some of the MacNeil history of his contact with the Lakota Sioux and other Native people who were a part of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show in conjunction with the Chicago World’s fair of 1893: “Hermon Atkins MacNeil met Black Pipe, of the Lakota Sioux on the Midway in 1893. This Indian, who had seen the last of the open prairies, performed at Wild Bill Cody’s Wild West Show at the Chicago World’s Fair and stayed in Chicago after the Fair to work and model for MacNeil. His rough features, often repeated in MacNeil’s work, are contrasted here with the delicate images of two children. Both gain from the proximity.” Posted by Gregory H. Jenkins AIA

 

 

So Chicagoans, look up next time you are on Dearborn Street and take in the art and history of Chicago.

Thank You Mr. Jenkins, for lifting our eyes above the sidewalk and for enjoying the Loop Art from places as remote as South Dakota (Land of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people)   ~ the Webmaster, Sioux Falls, SD

 

 

 

MacNeil modeled Black Pipe after meeting him in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show at the Chicago Worlds Fair ~ (photo by D. Neil Leininger) ~

Gregory H. Jenkins has posted stories of the Marquette Bronze relief panels at the Marquette Building – 140 N. Dearborn St. – Chicago.  Black Pipe, the Sioux that MacNeil met at the Buffalo Bill’s Wild west Show, adjacent to the 1983 Columbian Exposition, posed for him in 1894.  Some of the detail in the Bronze panel sculptures is amazingly intriguing up close.

Click HERE to see Jenkins comments and photos at: Chicago Sculpture in the Loop http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2009/07/marquette-buiding-hermon-atkins-macneil.html

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
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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