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 Daniel Chester French

I sit here in Chicago during this Christmas Season, imagining a Christmas wedding ceremony one hundred and nineteen years ago.

~

On Christmas Eve day in 1895, Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks purchased a Cook County license to solemnize their marriage. The very next day, Christmas 1895, they shared their vows before God and a Congregational minister named, Edward F. Williams, here in Chicago.  The record looks like this:

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.

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.

Both Hermon and Carol were sculptors. Hermon had completed 4 bronze relief sculpture panels for the new Marquette Building. They had fellow friends among the art community, sculptor colleagues from the  Chicago World’s Fair, students and teachers from the Art Institute of Chicago, and “White Rabbits” team of women sculptors.  We don’t have any record of who might have witnessed their nuptials.

~

But it was Christmas Day, a time when families gather.  Hermon’s family was far away in Massachusetts. Carol’s was born in Chicago and studied there at the Art Institute with Lorado Taft working on the 1893 Worlds Fair with her “White Rabbit” colleagues. Perhaps some friends or family were present or even hosted some wedding celebration. Her parents were close enough to be present, but no evidence suggests that.  It appears to have been a quick, quiet, modest ceremony.  The less than a one-day turn around on their marriage license would support that.  In addition, we know that they sailed a week later for Rome and Hermon’s Roman Reinhart Scholarship studies there. A  December 22, 1895 – New York Sun, article (CLICK HERE) supports that as well as a letter from Amy Ardis Bradley [ CLICK for MORE ]

~

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

New York Sun December 22, 1895 “The Reinhart Prize Winner ~ Hermon Atkins Macneil of Chicago”

The officiating minister, Rev. Edward (Franklin) Williams appears to have been a prominent clergy described as “a Congregational minister, educator, field agent for the United States Christian Commission, missionary, and writer.” Source: Edward Franklin Williams papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana )  He wrote Carol’s name as “Carrie” in his handwritten certification on the bottom of the license.  She went by ‘Carrie’ among her friends.

 ~

Whether Rev. Williams considered her a ‘friend’ we do not know.  Philip Khopf, the Cook County clerk, wrote ‘Carol’ in the top portion of the certificate.  Rev. Williams could have copied “Carol” from the official record above, but chose to use ‘Carrie’ instead.  The license lists Carol as being 24 years of age and Hermon as 29.  We know that the minister was 63 years of age when he led their ceremony.  Until 1891 he was pastor of the South Congregational Church, in suburban Chicago.  For health reasons he had “an extended stay abroad (June, 1891 to July, 1893), primarily in Germany, where he pursued studies in Berlin.” Returning to Chicago he studied and lectured at Chicago Theological Seminary during 1894.

 ~

Whether Rev. Williams had some previous knowledge with Carrie and Hermon or was a friend of the family, is uncertain.  He seemed very connected to the Chicago community and many of the potential benefactors of the arts. At a minimum, his use of “Carrie” seems to indicate a ‘cordial’ style of ministry and interaction. It also seems consistent with his servant-attitude toward needs of the soldiers and wounded he encountered during the Civil War.

~

CLICK HERE for more Links and info about Hermon and Carrie’s marriage in 1895:

~

More biographical information on Rev. Williams is offered below.

Williams, Edward Franklin (1832-1919)

 Historical Note: Edward Franklin Williams was a Congregational minister, educator, field agent for the United States Christian Commission, missionary, and writer.  Edward Franklin Williams was born in Massachusetts in 1832, the son of Delilah Morse Williams and George Williams. Williams attended Yale University from 1852 to 1856, and he continued to earn an advanced degree from Yale. He later attended the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he graduated and earned his license to preach in 1861.Williams was exempt from the draft due to a tubercular condition in his lungs, and thus he did not fight in the Civil War. In April 1863, Williams received a commission as a field agent for the United States Christian Commission. With the Commission, he served two and a half years in the armies of the Potomac and the James.After the war, Williams was sent as principal to begin was became the Lookout Mountain Educational Institutions in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1867, Williams was appointed by the American Missionary Association to teach in the Normal and Preparatory Division of what was later Howard University. He left Howard to preach at several churches in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York, ultimately serving as pastor of Tabernacle Church in Chicago and Forty-Seventh Street Congregational Church, which later became South Congregational Church, in suburban Chicago, where he served until 1891.By 1880, Williams was writing a monthly column for The Congregationalist under a pen name, “Franklin.” He continued writing for this publication until 1908. He continued as a prolific writer, particularly in the 1890s.

From 1901 to 1911 Williams served as pastor of the Evanston Ave. Congregational Church in Chicago. Williams died in 1919 in Chicago.

[ Sources: Edward Franklin Williams papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana ]

 

 

 Daniel Chester French’s most famous creation is his seated Lincoln.  This work won him much acclaim, including a National Sculpture Society Special Honor Award in 1929. 

Seated In the marble throne supported by two Roman fasces symbols, Lincoln gazes contemplatively over the "preserved Union."


The National Sculpture Society created a Special honor Award presented in 1929 to Daniel Chester French (lt). Presenters were Hermon A. MacNeil (ctr), Herbert Adams (rt.) and not in this picture are A. A.Weinman, and James Earle Fraser. Here the men admire the Special Honor Award sculpted by Laura Gardin Frazer.

The screen capture (above) shows a frame from the 1929 silent movie “The Medal Maker.”     This video frame shows two of the four presidents of the National Sculpture Society presenting the NSS‘s ‘Special Award Medal’ to Daniel Chester French (left).  Hermon MacNeil is in center (with hand gesture).  Herbert Adams is on right. 

French (1850-1931) died just 2 years after this video was made.  The making of the Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser is told in “The Medal Maker” (CLICK HERE FOR MORE).

The temple of the Lincoln Memorial shelters Daniel Chester French's tribute to our 16th President. Enthroned in marble the seated Mr. Lincoln personifies the greatest struggle of the American experiment in its first century.

Enshrined with him are the 438 words that rang out over the Gettysberg Battlefield Cemetery. Though he said "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here," history and the heart felt convictions of free people have proved that part of his dedication to be inaccurate.

 

 

Comments (0)

Andrew Jackson tips his hat to the White House and the Washington Monument. The statue cast by Clark Mill in 1853 occupies the center of Lafayette Square.

I recently visited our nation’s Capitol with family. Sculpture and history are everywhere.  On the way to the Supreme Court to take a few photos of MacNeil’s tortoise and the hare, I was lured away by a few wonderful sites.

So the East Pediment of 11 figures (Moses, Confucius, Solon, the tortoise and the hare, and six others) would have to wait.

In front of the White House in Lafayette Square, I found Andrew Jackson rearing up on horseback and waiving his hat to the White House and Washington monument in the distance. Apparently, he has been doing that pose for over 160 years when Clark Mills’ tribute to Jackson was emplaced.  For more perspectives and close-up details on this piece click HERE at DCmemorials.com.

 

The First Division Monument of WWI was designed by Cass Gilbert. This golden "Victory" was the work of Daniel Chester French.

Behind the Old Executive Office Building, high on a Roman column stood “Victory” by Daniel Chester FrenchCass Gilbert was also the architect of this WWI memorial to the First Infantry Division.   All of the funds for the monument as well as the additions were provided by the Society of the First Infantry Division. 

To see this full monument and others in the Ellipse and D.C. CLICK HERE. The StationStart.com website provides photos and history to accompany your ride on the Metro through the Capitol.

On across the street stands the Washington Monument which is closed for structural repairs following the earth quake last year. Some mortar was loosened and cracks opened.  But the spire stands tall and proud like the General himself.

On down the hill to the west rests the WWII Memorial.  Nestled into the center of the Mall, this oval dish of fountains, pools, and 56 state and territorial salutes gathers people into a living history.  Veterans of WWII, some of the last remaining were there on that sunny Saturday morning giving dignity and flesh and blood to this stunningly compelling tribute.  As a VA Chaplain, I found myself shedding more tears here and recalling the veterans I have been privileged to know.

The WWII Monument is just down the hill from the Washington obilisk. Across the pool of fountains we see the 4048 gold stars and the Lincoln Memorial in the distance.

ALL GAVE SOME - SOME GAVE ALL. 4048 Gold Stars commemorate the 404,800 American soldiers who died in World War II.

ALL GAVE SOME – SOME GAVE ALL.  These 4048 Gold Stars commemorate the 404,800 American soldiers who died in World War II. Each Gold Star here represents 100 dead.

During the war, each mother of a veteran would place a Blue Star in the front window of the family home. A Gold Star is what a mother placed if a son had been killed in action.

For more photos and history on this monument see HERE.

COMING: Next post will take us to the Lincoln Memorial to see Daniel Chester French’s most renowned sculpture.

Comments (0)

"Medal Maker" VHS of 1929 with remake in 1997

The screen capture (below) shows a frame from the 1929 silent movie “The Medal Maker.”     This photo frame shows four presidents of the National Sculpture Society who were also “Medal Makers” presenting the NSS‘s ‘Special Award Medal’ to Daniel Chester French (center).  French (1850-1931) died just 2 years after this video was made.  The making of the Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser is told in “The Medal Maker” (see cover at right).

Three of these sculptors (Fraser, Weinman and MacNeil) had already redesigned US Coinage.  They created the Buffalo Nickel (JEF), the Liberty [Mercury] Dime & Walking Liberty Half-Dollar (AAW), and the Standing Liberty Quarter (HAM). 

Below are Society of Medalists creations and stories from each sculptor on some of their medal making. (The SOM medal images below are from the collection of the webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger.)

This screen capture shows the video playing on this website as posted on Sept 26, 2011 

Laura Garden Frazer and James Earle Frazer were both sculptors.(http://www.nysmhs.org/history/LauraGardinFraser/index.htm)

All five sculptors contributed to the “Society of Medalists” series of the Medallic Arts Company started in 1930, one year after this video was made.  Laura Gardin Fraser, the maker of the NSS Special Award Medal, is the fifth medal maker featured here. She also sculpted the SOM#1, First Issue of the entire SOM series.  Her NSS Award Medal (100mm or 4 inches) is featured below also.

  • James Earl Fraser (1876-1953) ~ SOM #45 “The Pony Express” and “New Frontiers” 1952″ James Earle Fraser was the husband of Laura Gardin Fraser and 13 years her senior.  He chose historic images of the west, namely, the “Pony Express” and the oxen-drawn “Covered Wagon.”  He stated that the Covered Wagon was a childhood image that he remembered from his childhood in South Dakota and Minnesota.

James Earle Fraser's "Pony Express" and "New Frontier"

  • Adolph Alex Weinman (1870-1952). ~ SOM#39 ~ 1949 ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny.” Weinman  offers the following  description of his inspiration for this piece:
  • “… for ‘Genesis’, look up chapter one in your Bible, I could not say it nearly as well. As to the ‘Web of Destiny’, that should be easily interpreted. The little fellow is Eros, who can perform more miracles in guiding the strands of destiny than any power known to man.”  (J.E.F. -SOM #39)
Adolph Alex Weinman ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny” SOM #39 ~ 1949
Obverse:  Male nude figure to l. in seated in fetal pose holding hammer and chise, imposed on Pegasus to l.: Mute.
Reverse:   Flame.: NATIONAL SCULPTURE SOCIETY/ SPECIAL — MEDAL/ OF — HONOR
Measurements: 100 mm / 4 inches
  • Laura Gardin Fraser's NSS Award Medal presented to Daniel Chester French. The sculptor with mallet and chisel in hands, rests in slumberous thought as Pegasus rises to to seek messages from the gods. This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

  • NSS Special Award Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser ~ 1929 (obv). This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

 

  •  Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) – “Hopi” and “Prayer for Rain” SOM #31 ~ 1931.   Based on MacNeil’s “Moqui (Hopi) Runner” of 1897, this was the only SOM medal that he would sculpt.
  • For his lengthy explanation of the theme he chose, see this website:  “Medals4Trade”
  • MacNeil’s brief intro to the medal is as follows: “The two incidents of the Hopi Prayer for Rain on the mesas of northeastern Arizona depicted on this medal are chosen by your sculptor because of the extraordinary vital enthusiasm and power that the Indians throw into this ceremony. Having witnessed it and been thrilled by the intensity of their emotion and on further study by the complicated and perfectly natural development of this drama, I cannot help feel that in it we find a basic note underlying all religions. All these Southwest Indians, living as they do in an arid region, have developed their religion along the lines of their greatest need –water.”

Hermon MacNeil's "Prayer for Rain" was based on his statue "The Moqui Runner"

Four examples of various finish patinas medals that MacNeil selected for SOM#3 in 1931 (from collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

Reverse of SOM#3 by Hermon MacNeil (collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)
  • Herbert Adams (1858-1945)~ SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner 1934
  • “Oh What Are the Prizes We Perish to Win” (on obverse), “To the First Little Shiner We Caught with a Pin” (on reverse).     Numbers Issued: 1,207 Bronze, 100 Silver.
  • The words that Adams placed on the medal are translation of the two lines from Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem, “Song of a Piece of Eight”, ~ He made the medal eight-sided (as a piece-of-eight) reminiscent of the pirate poem “Oh what are the prizes we perish to win. To the first little ‘shiner’ we caught with a pin.”

  • Herbert Adams SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner ~ 1934

    ALL FOUR MEN in the photo (excluding Daniel Chester French) would become Medal Makers for the SOM Series.  The Society of Medalists series (begun in 1930 after this photo of 1929) was created by Medallic Art Company.  It enlisted sculptors for the next 65 years.  That list would read like the Who’s Who of Sculptors (American and otherwise) from 1930 to 1995.

  • LAURA GARDIN FRASER was “The Medal Maker” featured in this film by that same name.  I imagine that she was present for the presentation of the medal to French.  She made numerous other medals (George Washington Bicentennial Medal 1932, Gilbert Stuart It seems ironic that her husband, James Earle Fraser, is admiring the medal and explaining some of her technique with the other sculptors.  It is likely that Carol Brooks MacNeil was also present at the event.  Women, however, were not in leadership in her era.

Gibson Shell has collected a book full of Hermon A. MacNeil photos, postcards, and memorabilia. Gib contributes photos regularly to this website. More to come. Stay tuned in 2012.

Happy 2012 from the Friends of Hermon Atkins MacNeil!

On Christmas Eve Day I had the pleasure of having breakfast in Kansas City, Missouri with Mr. Gibson Shell, one of Hermon’s biggest fans.

No stranger to HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com “Gib’s” photos and postcards have graced our pages for the last year. 

Neither is he a stranger to those of  you who frequent Coins Shows in the KC MO region and beyond.

Gib is an avid photographer and collector of Beaux Arts images (photos, postcards, souvenirs).  Gib has documented what he calls ‘MacNeil’s French Connection,’ namely, the works of Chapu and Falguière, MacNeil’s teachers in Paris.  Gib has gathered Sculptor Studies in MORE than a dozen Notebooks.

I enjoyed my tour through his Hermon MacNeil Notebook he is holding in this photo.  MacNeil studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Julien Academy as a pupil of Henri M. Chapu and Alexandre Falguière.  Gib has an extensive collection of French postcards of their sculptures that MacNeil would have known and been influenced by.

I also was able to enjoy his Notebook of Daniel Chester French’s sculptures.  (French’s “Minuteman” statue at Concord elevated him into public prominence in 1875 at the tender age of 25.  His seated ‘Lincoln’ in the Lincoln Monument is his most famous work. French was on the Roman Rinehart Committee that awarded to Hermon MacNeil the first Rinehart scholarship in 1895. He also worked with MacNeil on the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.  See Gib’s photos below of D. C. French’s “Republic” statue from the Fair ).

Next time I can see some of Gib’s other notebooks on Beaux Arts sculptors.   I wanted you to see this “friend of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com”

Thanks Gib for being a contributor! He sent this photo of Daniel Chester French’s “Republic” to herald in 2012.  So once more:

HAPPY 2012 from CHICAGO! Daniel Chester French's centerpiece of the 1893 Chicago Fair greets you and (with her Blackbird) herald's in the New Year.

 INSPIRING AMERICANS for HER 3RD CENTURY

"Republic" raises the Old World symbols over the New World ~ the Globe and Eagle and the Laurel Wreath of Victory

P.S. 

We discovered that Gib lives 6 blocks from where my “Aunt Jane” McNeil Boody lived in Kansas City.  Jane and my mother, Ollie Frances McNeil both called Hermon MacNeil, “Uncle Hermon” all their lives. 

Webmaster Dan Leininger (lt.) and Gib Shel (rt.) share Hermon MacNeil facts, research, & trivia


ROGER WILLIAMS bust by MacNeil at “Hall of Fame” in Bronx Comm. College ~ Photo Credit: Librado Romero/The New York Times ( http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/12/05/nyregion/05metjournal2_ready.html )

December 21st marks the Birthday of Roger Williams (theologian, teacher, preacher, linguist, pioneer, reformer, and spiritual seeker after God).

Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s bust sculpture of Roger Williams ( made in 1920) is only 91 years old, but the man himself was born 317 years earlier on December 21, 1603. (That is a lot of candles to have on a cake).

The sculpture of Williams is one of four that MacNeil made for the Hall.  His other subjects were: James Monroe, Francis Parker, and Rufus Choate.

Many of MacNeil’s contemporaries sculptors were commissioned for works at the colonnade: Daniel Chester French, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, A. Stirling Calder, James Earle Fraser, Frederick William MacMonnies, Lorado Taft, and Adolph WeimanThe Hall of Fame is also a virtual “Who’s Who” of American Sculptors.

Over one hundred sculptures line the 630 foot long open-air colonnade.  The NeoClassical arc walkway was designed in 1900 on the undergraduate campus of New York University, now Bronx Community College.

The Hall has not added any sculptures since 1975 but remains a stunning collection of American Renaissance art and history.  See the articles below for more on both Roger Williams and the Hall of Fame of Great Americans.

FOR MORE:

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

PHOTOS WANTED: Be a WEBSITE contributor

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