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 Civil War

  • What is the future of this statue?

“Confederate Defender of

Charleston?”

Given the recent violence around Confederate monuments,

And the removal of others

one must wonder. 

 

How long will this pair point out to

 

Fort Sumter Bay?

 

Since 1932 if this monument has stood in

Charleston harbor at Battery Park.

Twice it has been vandalized with spray paint.

In separate news:    At the University of Texas – Austin, Confederate statues have been removed. University President Greg Fenves said in a statement that it has become clear “that Confederate monuments have become  symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”  (USA Today, Aug 22, 2017)

Is the sun setting on this piece by Hermon MacNeil?

only time will tell…

Hermon A. MacNeil’s words at the dedication:

“Its motif in brief, is that the stalwart youth, standing in front with sword and shield, symbolizes by his attitude the defense not only of the fort, but also of the fair city behind the fort in which are his most prized possessions, wife and family. And she, the wife, glorified into an Athena-like woman, unafraid, stands behind him with arms outstretched toward the fort, this creating an inseparable union of the city and Fort Sumter.”

“BLACK LIVES MATER. THIS IS THE PROBLEM RACISM”. SOURCE: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/statue-honoring-confederacy-defaced-charleston-park-article-1.2266043

MacNeil’s “Confederate Defenders” was completed as a studio model in 1931. This is is an autographed photo of the model of Confederate Defenders of Charleston Monument pictured in MacNeil’s studio in College Point, NY before completion of the full bronze sculpture as dedicated on October 20, 1932

 

“THE CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY FOUGHT THE CAUSE OF SLAVERY WAS WRONG.” SOURCE: The Blaze ( http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/07/11/charleston-confederate-monument-vandalized-again-this-time-with-obama-quote/ )

 

Can America as a nation get beyond the “birthmark of slavery” present throughout our founding, our history, our civil war, our Jim Crow apartheid, our Civil Rights violence, our ongoing racial prejudice, ethnic discrimination, black voter suppression, and claims of racial supremacy?

The answer is up to us.

“The cause for which they fought,

the cause of slavery was wrong.” 

President Barack Obama ~ Eulogy for Rev. Pickney, Pastor of Emanuel AME Church 1.5 miles North of this statue

 

An excerpt From President Barack Obama’s

FAREWELL ADDRESS

January 10, 2017

“I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written; Yes we can.”

“BLACK LIVES MATER. // THIS IS THE PROBLEM #RACISM”. http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/06/21/21/29D7C09E00000578-3133597-Confederate_monument_vandalized-a-58_1434918039434.jpg

The Post and Courier ~ Charleston, SC

( Edit this Post )

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 ONE COUNTRY,   ONE CONSTITUTION,   ONE DESTINY

words from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Philadelphia

“IN GIVING FREEDOM TO THE SLAVE

WE ASSURE FREEDOM TO THE FREE”.  Abraham Lincoln

CLICK HERE for interpretive video

Early postcard (about 1927) shows the back of MacNeil's "Soldiers and Sailors" Monument looking east to the downtown. (Photo credit Gib Shell, KC,MO)

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Philadelphia By Hermon A. MacNeil was dedicated in 1927. Two 60 foot granite pylons mark the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The period automobiles and newly planted trees line the Parkway. This beautiful boulevard leads from Logan Circle through the rolling Parkway Gardens on up the hill to the Philadelphia Art Museums.

Hermon A. MacNeil's “Soldiers and Sailors Monuments” mark the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia

Link

 

 

"Moqui Runner", "Prayer for Rain"

"A Primitive Chant"

A MacNeil "Sun Vow"

"A Chief of the Multnomah"

 

Chief Manuelito of the Navajo sculpted by Hermon A. MacNeil in 1895 two years after the Chief's death at age 75.

This topic seems a strange fit for a website devoted to the art of Hermon Atkins MacNeil, an American Sculptor of the 19th and 20th centuries, born in Massachuesetts of Scottish descendents. 

Please, bear with me briefly while I take you on a journey toward today’s Native American Day story.  

STEP ONE:  An arrogant sense of Manifest Destiny often accompanied many 19th and 20th Century concepts of American culture, history, and pride.  An inescapable irony in our own 21st Century, is that Hermon MacNeil and many of his contemporary sculptors placed many Native American images at the center stage of the historical and allegorical sculptures of World Fairs from 1890 to 1915.  That is quite visible throughout this website.  I am beginning to find that MacNeil’s embrace of Native American themes in his sculpting, especially from 1895-1905, still offers us lessons more than a century later in understanding culture, anthropology and life values. 

STEP TWO:  Today is Native American Day in South Dakota, my home for the last 31 years.  I understand that California is the only other state celebrating a Native American Day.  “In 1989 the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation proposed by Governor George S. Mickelson to proclaim 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between Native Americans and whites, to change Columbus Day to Native American Day and to make Martin Luther King’s birthday into a state holiday. Since 1990 the second Monday in October has been celebrated as Native American Day in South Dakota.” [ Wikipedia: Native American Day:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_Day ]  In April 1993, Governor George Mickelson, a friendly giant of a man, and eight civic leaders were killed in a tragic plane crash in Iowa.  His death was a great loss to this state and to hopes of Reconciliation.  We still observe the day, even if it is in a subdued fashion.

STEP THREEI am Daniel Neil Leininger, founding webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.  I am a Caucasian descendant of Scottish German stock. My maternal grandfather. Thomas Henry McNeil (1860-1932), was a cousin to Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947).  My mother, Ollie McNeil Leininger, always called Hermon MacNeil her “Uncle Hermon.” My middle name, Neil, was my mother’s gift.  It reminds me of my heritage.

STEP FOUR:  In researching the sculpture of MacNeil in recent years, I have developed a growing sense of “historical irony” in his placement of Native American images to symbolize the vitality of American expansion westward through his cultural era of Manifest Destiny.  His choice moves against the strong current of self-absorption in contemporary cultures, both his and ours.

MacNeil's sculpture design for the Award Medals at the Pan American Exhibitition, Buffalo, NY 1901 (reverse). Note the shields with South and North American continents

EXAMPLES 1-5: See photos above:

EXAMPLE 6:  MacNeil made a Pan American Exhibition Award Medallion with an indigenous North American and an indigenous South American sharing a Peace Pipe.  Probably a corrupted mix of Native images, but it is a allegory, a visually symbolic representation carrying a larger meaning.

THE STORY OF MacNEIL and CHIEF MANUELITO:

MacNeil never met Chief Manuelito.  Two years after his death, MacNeil made a statue of him using only a photograph supplied by trader C. N. Cotton. The year was 1895.  Thirty years earlier, Manuelito had survived the “scorched-earth” missions of the U.S. Army under Gen. James H. Carleton and Col. Kit Carson, the “Long Walk” (a 320 mile forced march of men women and children through the deserts) to Bosque Rodondo, and the imprisonment of Native peoples there for four years. 

Navajo Chief Manuelito - taken between 1868 and his death in 1893. He was a war Chief of the 1860. (photo Credit: ASU- Denver Public Library).

MacNeil made the statue  tribute out of available materials.  He built a wooden frame, a wire mesh surface and sculpted cement around it forming an eight foot two inch tall image of the Chief wrapped in a bright native blanket.   His techniques seem to mirror the many ‘staff plaster’ statues he made for the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.  He was visiting the southwest that summer with friends Hamlin Garland (writer) and C.F. Browne (artist) to experience the vanishing Native culture at the urging od E. E. Ayers and others.

As the story goes, after he finished he asked Cotton if the piece was acceptable.  Cotton left and brought in a group of older Native women to enter the canvas enclosure where MacNeil had setup a  open-air studio workshop.  After much weeping, the women, one of whom was Manuelito’s wife, came out obviously moved by the experience of being with the piece. 

See my previous stories on Manuelito and MacNeil, and MacNeil’s two friends, Hamlin Garland and C.F. Browne.

Edward E. Ayers was the  benefactor of the three artists  who urged them to make the trip.   A former member of the First California Cavalry Volunteers of the U.S. Army in AZ during the Civil War and the Native American oppressions of the 1860s,Ayers was stationed at the Cerro Colorado Silver Mine (now a ghost town) south of Tuscon in Pima County AZ.  He was in charge of 14 men who guarded the silver mine from robbers.  While there he happened on a copy of William H. Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico placed there by the mine’s owner Col. Samuel Colt, of revolver-fame. Ayers devoured the book repeatedly and began his life-long insatiable interest in Native American literature, manuscripts, and culture.  He became an American business magnate, who is “best remembered for the endowments of his substantial collections of books and original manuscripts from Native American and colonial-era history and ethnology, which were donated to the Newberry Library and Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.”  [ Wikipedia ]   (Editors Note: Ayers passion for understanding and preserving Native American culture continues into the 21st Century  through the legacy of his estate now bequeathed to Newberry Library, Field Museum and related archieves.)

One hundred years after MacNeil make the trip and completed the piece, Joe Di Gregorio, (Gallup businessman and grocer), stepped in to rescue the Manuelito statue.  It was badly needing repair and being stored in a warehouse going up for sale.   Leslie Linchicum of the Albuquerque Journal relays this account in her March 2010 story:

“Longtime Gallup grocer Joe Di Gregorio and his wife, Christine, own the statue. They took custody after the building’s owner, in negotiations to sell to an out-of state buyer in 1983, turned to Di Gregorio and whispered, “Don’t let the bastards take the Indian.” Di Gregorio didn’t. He agreed to take custody of Manuelito and promised to keep him in Gallup.” [“Navajo Leader Stands Tall” Albuquerque Journal, March 11, 2010]

Now 116 years after MacNeil’s visit, McKinley County Fine Arts Commission in Gallup, NM is restoring the nearly 9 foot fragile artwork that MacNeil built in an outdoor tent.  “Carolyn Milligan, chairwoman of the … Commission, has estimated that it will cost $25,000 to $38,000 to restore the sculpture, which has deteriorated from a hundred years of rail yard soot, showers with a fire hose and a well-meaning but inept repainting.” 

Milligan continues, “The 1,000-pound piece is fragile, …. Wherever it stands, she said, it will probably attract crowds.”  “It’s really quite a commanding piece,” Milligan said. “And it’s for the people.”

BEST WORDS OF THE DAY: “Don’t let the bastards take the Indian.” MacNeil and Manuelito would probably smile to hear those words.  While virtually all of the ‘staff plaster’ sculptures of the World Fairs have crumbled to dust, Manuelito still stands tall. 

After all, he does belong to the people, centuries of people, both Native and otherwise. 

THAT’s WHY I BELIEVE THAT: MacNeil’s embrace of Native American themes in his sculpting from 1895-1905 still offers us lessons in culture, anthropology and life values for the 21st Century.

MORE HISTORY:

1.) For further irony read my previous stories of  the making of Hermon MacNeil’s 1895 sculpture representing Chief Manuelito of the Navajo or read history of this Chief of the Navajo starting here.

2.) William Wroth’s “Long Walk” to Bosque Redondo  also provides poignant insight into this period of the United States management of Native American peoples and the life of Chief Manuelito who was part of that “Long Walk” and signed the treaty of 1868 that sought to restore Navajo lands after the disastrous interventions of the US government.

3.) “The Long Walk”  A Ten (10) Part video story of the Navajo “Fearing Time” accounting atrocities against the Navajo people from 1863 to 1868.  Researched and produced with support of the George S. and Delores Dore’ Eccles Foundation and the Pacific Mountain Network.   Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8 Part 9Part 10.

4.)  “The Long Walk”   For a Navajo perspective view this video by Nanebah, whose great-great grandmother survived “The Long Walk”.

5.) “300 Miles – Or Long Walk Of The Navajo – Richard Stepp”  For a musical tribute with an ‘American Indian Movement’ perspective.

6.) Leslie Linthicum, staff writer for the Albuquerque Journal,  gives a delightful article, “Navajo Leader Stands Tall”.   It offers historical irony from our 21st Century on attitudes toward Native American culture  through her story of the ‘management’ and ‘preservation’ of MacNeil’s iconic statue of Chief Manuelito.

Related posts:

  1. 1901 Pan-American Exposition – Buffalo, New York ~~ “The Rainbow City” (10.3)
  2. MacNeil Sculpture “Meets Me in St. Louis” (20)
  3. Expositions and World’s Fairs ~ Hermon A. MacNeil (15.6)
  4. MacNeil at the 1893 Columbian Exposition ~ ~ ~ THE CHICAGO YEARS ~ ~ (10.8)
  5. https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2011/03/26/1904-louisiana-purchase-exposition-saint-louis-worlds-fair/

MacNeil's 1934 statue of General Alfred Howe Terry on the south elevation of the Connecticut State Capitol

We have recently learned that a large group of MacNeil statues (7) rest on the Gothic sculpture niches of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut.The carvings represent important persons and events in American and Connecticut history.  Here are two examples of these works commissioned in the 1930’s:

<= General Alfred Howe Terry statue.

Location: Connecticut State Capitol, south elevation.

Artist: Hermon MacNeil.

General Alfred Howe Terry (1827-1890) was born in Hartford Connecticut. He was one of 15 officers to receive the “Thanks of Congress” for his part in capturing Fort Fisher, North Carolina during the Civil War (1865)∗ The Union Army’s capture of this Fort ended the Confederate’s ability to use Wilmington, North Carolina as a shipping port, and was therefore a significant victory. Terry later led U.S. troops against the Plains Indians, and was in command of the expedition against the Sioux when Colonel George A. Custer was killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn (June 1876). He retired from the Army due to illness in 1888, and died two years later.

The statue was commissioned under the supervision of the state Commission on Sculpture and was installed about 1934. A cleaning and restoration project of the exterior of the capitol, including the Welles statue, was completed in 1985.  The artist, Hermon MacNeil, is best known for his design for the Liberty quarter dollar (1916). His naturalistic style, with high modeling and surface texture, reflects his Parisian training at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. His works are included in public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [∗ Boman, John (Ed.), 2001. Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography. Accessed March 23, 2009 via iConn at http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh&AN=24F18006Terry&site=ehost-live. ] [ Information provided by Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT WAR MEMORIALS ]

General John Sedgwick occupies a niche alongside the statues of Gideon Welles and General Alfred Howe Terry.

<= Major General John Sedgwick statue

Location: Connecticut State Capitol, south elevation.

Artist: Hermon MacNeil

Continuing the Civil War Era theme of the south elevation, the statue of Major General John Sedgwick occupies a niche alongside the statues of Gideon Welles and General Alfred Howe Terry.

General John Sedgwick (1813-1864) was born in Cornwall, Connecticut. His grandfather served with George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Sedgwick served with distinction in the Mexican-American War, and was promoted to Major General during the Civil War (July, 1862). He was killed when shot by Confederate sharpshooters at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House May 9, 1864, during his command of the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

[ Information provided by Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT WAR MEMORIALS ]

Other works by Hermon MacNeil at the Capitol include: Gideon Wells, Oliver Wolcott, David Humphreys, and General David Wooster.

Images of these works will be posted at a later date.

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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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[For more recent news (Dec 21st) on the posting below see this link:  The Star: Ball Draws Celebrators, Protestors ]

 Hermon A. MacNeil’s Confederate Defenders statue may cast its shadow on upcoming Secession Gala festivities.  MacNeil’s massive work stands sentry over Charleston Harbor, facing toward Ft Sumter, 3 1/2 miles away.

MacNeil's "Confederate Defenders" as photographed in his studio in 1931.

The South Carolina Theatrical Performance and Secession Ball is planned for December 20th at Gaillard Auditorium in downtown Charleston, SC.  Tickets are still available for $100 each at the Gala Website
Dress Code consists of: “Modern black tie, Period formal, or pre-war militia. Ladies formal modern or period.”

According to the sponsoring committee:

The South Carolina Secession Gala tickets are going quickly. We have less than one month left to attend an event that will surely be an “EVENT OF A LIFETIME”!!! You certainly won’t want to miss this wonderful event!We have a 45 minute theatrical play re-enacting the signing of the original Ordinance of Secession with Senators and famous individuals as actors in this performance. We even have President Pro-Tempore of the SC Senate, Glenn F. McConnell as Convention Chair, David F. Jamison of Barnwell.

The wonderful news is that the ORIGINAL Ordinance of Secession will be available for viewing by our guests. This is not a lithograph, but the ACTUAL document which has been protected for years in the vault and hasn’t been seen in years. Those sponsoring tables will be able to have a group photograph with all Sponsors made with the ORIGINAL ORDINANCE.

The cost includes the theatrical play, dinner and dancing. Do not wait until the last minute as tickets are going fast and there is limited seating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The event has stirred some debate in the news locally and nationally. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-10/civil-war-s-150th-anniversary-stirs-debate-on-race.html

“It’s almost like celebrating the Holocaust,” said Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Our rights were taken away and we were treated as less than human beings. To relive that in a celebratory way I don’t think is right.”

For persons not wanting to pay $100, there are other alternatives.   The state’s NAACP chapter plans a protest march and vigil outside the city-owned auditorium where the party will be held.

CLOSING COMMENT: The MacNeil Statue will not attend the Gala. It will remain in Battery Park, its home for the last 78 years.  In addition, the sculpture’s attire is not proper for the dress code of the Ball. WEBMASTER

Related MacNeil Links:

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/08/10/confederate-defenders-of-charleston/

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/08/04/confederate-defenders-statue-battery-park/

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