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~ 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!

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Archive for George Washington

Hermon A. MacNeil

The FOURTH Pillar of MacNeil Month 2022 is

Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s

General George Washington 

MacNeil’s George Washington

has not always been treated kindly. 

Vandals in June 2020 left their angry marks on

George Washington. 

Both Hermon MacNeil’s and Alexander Stirling Calder’s statues were covered with RED sploches of HATE.  The following post from  June 30, 2020


 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 1974 Cecelia MacNeil decried  the condition of Hermon’s 1916 marble statue.(Above)

Six decades of  careless sandblasting and harsh cleaning left  the Commander  looking

more like a  LEPER  than

commander in Chief of the American Revolution. 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Fortunately the Washington Arch and Washington Park

continues into its SECOND CENTURY

as a gathering place and a celebration place for

New Yorkers to call out to

the Nation and World.

“Washington” in evening light

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Twenty-seven years after Hermon MacNeil’s death,  Cecelia Weick MacNeil, his second-wife, wrote a series of three articles which she entitled:

“Sculptor Americanus:

HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL”

Cecelia MacNeil, RN (1945). Born Cecelia Weick in 1897. She served as a nurse in WWI in the European theater. She married Karl Weick in about 1920.

 

Cecelia opens the first of three articles with memories of her 12th Birthday in 1909. 

Born in 1897, Cecelia Weick told the story of first the day that she ever heard the name of “Hermon Atkins MacNeil”  

NOTE:  Thirty-seven years later … Hermon would ask her to marry him.  

As a birthday surprise, her father took her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Ascending into the American Wing, they sat down on a bench near MacNeil’s sculpture group of “The Sun Vow.”  Sixty-four years later, Cecelia described their visit to that sculpture this way:

 

Owen Schweers, my own grandson, in front of “The Sun Vow” that Cecelia Weick and her father saw on her 12th Birthday. He visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City about 110 Years after Cecelia. That particular casting of MacNeil’s statue was placed there by Daniel Chester French.

“The Sun Vow portrays two Indians, elder and younger, chief and future brave, grandfather and grandson.  The grandfather, his body still subtle and strong, is weary just the same. The viewer knows that the chieftain’s feathered head-dress … will never again be worn.  The old Indian holds this symbol of authority on his lap as he presses the young Indian to him.  The grandchild holds an arrowless bow, symbolizing the celebration of coming of age in the in Indian lore but transcending the culture of any age.  For when the young brave is able to shoot an arrow into the son, far enough away so that its decent to earth passes unseen, then he has attained manhood. 

After at least five minutes of silence my father commented.

‘Ceil, the man who created this work is surely one of the greatest American Sculptors. Never, never forget his name.’

I am still a romantic.  My father’s words were to be part of my destiny.  37 years later I married Hermon Atkins MacNeil.”

 

Sculptor AMERICANUS

CECELIA opened her first of three articles with those memories of her 12th Birthday.   Continuing, she describes her sculptor, hero, and sunset-partner with the following phrases:

The Sculptor:

  • MODESTY was so much a part of Hermon MacNeil
    • Will my words of praise cause his spirit to stir ?
    • Will my words cause his truly American soul to BLUSH?
  • A successful bronze gives the sculptor a few steps toward immortality.
  • A Creator of Memorials, Coins and Medals
  • Time has made almost Hermon a forgotten American type …
    • an extinct species
    • whose works are ravaged by time, corrosion, spoilage …
  • Hermon loved sculpting American Indians in their naturalness and beauty.
  • Cecelia cites Jean Stansbury Holden’s description of Hermon in 1907 as:
    • a boyish, slender, medium height, with large eyes that meet you with a twinkle
    • a serious sculptor when working …
    • without pretense of his accomplishments …
    • When keeps his medals from:
      • Chicago Exposition – 1893;
      • Paris Exposition – 1900
      • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY – 1901
      • Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis – 1904
      • and numerous others
      • IN DRAWERS in his studio, and rubs off some of the tarnish before showing them
      • TRULY without Pretension or POMP.

AMERICANUS: 

Quoting Jean Stansbury Holden she adds,

“While his work shows this variety in subject and treatment, one quality runs through it all; Whatever he touches is, in its very essence American; it smacks of the soil.” 1

Mrs. MacNeil then suggests:

American history can be studied by totaling up Hermon’s works.  This can be seen by mentioning a mere scattering of examples — The Pony Express, McKinley, The Pilgrim Fathers, Pere Marquette, Ezra Cornell, George Rogers Clark, the eastern pediment of the United States Supreme Court Building — and the most familiar and relevant of all, the marble of Washington as Commander-in-Chief, which along with Stirling Calder’s figure of Washington as President, graces Stanford White’s Washington Arch in Greenwich Village.  (bold added).

Source: Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”. (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974, p. 54.

BUT then Cecelia sounded a shrill alarm for the Washington Arch.  Pointing out 1974 photos showing decades of decay.   Air pollution.  traffic (Cars, buses) traveled through the arch for over 75 years.   Cleaning by abrasive sandblasting and eroded the soft marble of both statues by MacNeil and Calder.

Figure 6 shows the toll on MacNeil’s statue of Washington’s pitted face.

She writes:

“Washington’s nose has been carelessly damaged by thoughtless sandblasting (figure 6).   Sandblasting marble!  Now th first President resembles a leper. Aldolph Block, former student of Hermon, reknowned (sic) president of the National Sculpture Society (as Hermon was on two different occasions) despairs over the disaster to this historical landmark.  Smog from the air, vandalism, time, such factors can be expected.  But destruction such as Washington has suffered, accidental as it may have been, seems all too contemporary.”  

Over the years Cecelia MacNeil wrote many letters to the responsible officials seemingly hopeless battle.”  Her complaints as well as Mr. Block’s were “for all intents and purposes, ignored. 

Cecelia shares her familiarity with her late partner by suggesting:

1916 Photo of the installation of the MacNeil statue. Thia appears to have the statue sitting in the right hand leg of the Arch. The left leg is where it was permanently installed. Photo Credit: John Gomez, NYC. [ https://i0.wp.com/hermonatkinsmacneil.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/MacNeil-Washington-Arch-1.jpeg?resize=799%2C1024&ssl=1 ]

“One can NOT imagine Hermon and his fellow sculptors ignoring Washington’s face.  In no time at all a group of them, most of whom worked with Hermon, would have a scaffold up.  A roster would include (Phillip) Martiny, Daniel Chester French, Augustus St. Gaudens, Alexander Stirling Calder, giants all.  I can see Hermon chewing on a small cigar, making jokes.”         

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

This concludes

Part 1 of MacNeil Month.

In Part 2 we will examine the

History and RESTORATION of the Washington Arch and the

two Washington Statues.

~~~~~~~~~~~

READ MORE:   History of Washington Arch by New York Architecture

~~~~~~~~~~~

FOOTNOTES:

Traffic in the 1950s

  1. Holden, Jean Stansbury (October 1907). “The Sculptors MacNeil“. The World’s Work: A History of Our Time XIV: 9403–9419. [Retrieved from GOOGLE eBooks]
  2. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974,  pp. 10-13, 54.
  3. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Second in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, May 1974,  pp. 28-31.
  4. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Third in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, June 1974,  pp. 32-35, 51.
  5. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.

~~~~~~~

Related posts:

WASHINGTON ARCH in the 1920’s

  1. INDEPENDENCE DAY Images ~ from Hermon A. MacNeil (5) Here are a few images of  Independence from Hermon Atkins…
  2. Washington Statues “Bleeding” with Red Paint! MacNeil & Calder works defaced. (5) We were saddened to hear that “red paint” was splattered…
  3. The death of Carol Brooks MacNeil and Hermon MacNeil’s remarriage. (5) Cecelia W. Muench MacNeil In 1944 Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil…
  4. Happy (actual) Birthday, Mr. Washington! ~~~ ~~~ Visit New York City for MacNeil Month ~~~ (#8) (4) George Washington  February 22, 1732 Pictured below is Hermon A. …
  5. MacNeil’s “General George Washington” shows up on “Forgotten New York” virtual tour. (4) On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington…
  6. Senator Bernie Sanders Calls for a Political Revolution at Washington Arch. (4) NEW YORK CITY — In Washington Square Park last evening,…
Categories : Location
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George Washington statues

Both George Washington statues on the Arch were defaced with red paint in Washington Square.  [Credit: Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post]

We were saddened to hear that “red paint” was splattered over statues of George Washington in NYC yesterday.

CLICK HERE for the New York Post story of the defacing. By Kevin Sheehan and Tina Moore June 29, 2020 | 12:26pm |

George Washington statue

Vandalism on June 29, 2020 left MacNeil’s statue “bleeding” red paint of of the 104 year-old marble monument.

The news arrived this morning from Antonio Bueti, a New York native, MacNeil buff, and Friend of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com/

Three weeks ago, I posted Photos and the story of BLM Protesters marching through the Arch during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd. CLICK HERE

Both Statues on the Arch were attacked.  Hermon A. MacNeil and Alexander Stirling Calder made the pair of companion pieces that sit on the supporting walls of the Arch at the end of Fifth Avenue. One was “The Soldier” and the other was “The President.”
“We had to work together on those statues, Calder and I,” said Mr. MacNeil, “and we had some hot arguments over them, though we are good friends. Of course, each of us had his own statue to do, but we had to treat them in the same restrained manner, to fit each other and the Arch itself”  J. Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America: Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, 1924, reprint 1968
MacNeil and Calder had their work placed on the Arch several years after it was constructed.
 
PLEASE NOTE:  Similar vandalism was done on the “Confederate Defenders” in Charleston, SC, [CLICK HERE] after the murders at the Mother Emmanuel AME Church down the street ON JUNE 17, 2015.
Dylan Roof was indited for murder in the Charleston Church Massacre on July 17, 2015.  “In December 2016 he was convicted of 33 federal hate crime and murder charges. On January 10, 2017, he was sentenced to death for these crimes.[9]  https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/charleston-church-shooting/dylann-roof-indicted-murder-church-massacre-n388066
 
Turbulent times raise issues of removal and/or further vandalism. 
 
We await further updates on this news. …

 

Senator Bernie Sanders at the Washington Arch In NYC on April 13, 2016. MacNeil’s statue of Washington as Commander of the Continental stands to the right on the back of the Arch. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2016/apr/13/us-election-campaign-live-sanders-clinton-trump-cruz-kasich

NEW YORK CITY —

In Washington Square Park last evening, two marble figures of “George Washington” stood quietly in the dark amid rallying cries for political revolution in the November 2016 Elections.

Hermon MacNeil’s  statue of “General George Washington” and Alexander Stirling Calder’s Statue of “President Washington” have graced the back of the monument for nearly a century.  They immortalize two facets of an American giant who was no stranger to either revolution or politics.

The 124-year-old marble Washington Arch framed a white-haired Bernie Sanders as the Brooklyn-born senator railed on about how politics is “fixed” for the wealthiest 1% of Americans.  A reported 27,000 people packed the park on a brisk NYC evening.  The event in one of the largest rallies of this campaign.

Senator Sander’s familiar stump speech rang out loud and clear as  the Presidential candidate’s raspy-voice pierced the night air.  The enthusiasm of “Gotham City” night-life roared from the sign-waving crowd. The event seemed to open another chapter in the life of this historic gathering place of American celebration and demonstration.

Washington Square Park as Senator Sanders spoke.

The white marble mass of the Washington Arch towers over the scene of a packed crowd filled with electric energy.

Sanders 40 years of independent politics has sounded themes of “income inequality”, “health care rights”, “Wall Street power”, and “corporate greed”  to list a few. In recent months he has thundered his message to ever-widening audiences across the United States.

The rally last evening brought Sanders home to his Brooklyn roots and this historic place of American identity and protest.

Whether it brought him any closer to George Washington’s old job has yet to be determined.

Behind the scenes MacNeil's likeness of General Washington guarded the rear flanks of the rally

This daylight view of MacNeil’s General Washington Profiled with Valor guarded the rear flanks of the Arch. The statue was added to the monument in 1917 – 1918.

GWashingtonCalder 2001

“Washington as President” by Alexander Stirling Calder stands opposite the MacNeil statue. The statue was added to the monument in 1917 – 1918.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Washington Arch BEFORE 1812 with no statues in place.

The Washington Arch BEFORE 1912 with no statues in place.

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The face of the General shows marble worn through 97 years of exposure and harsh cleaning.

The face of the General shows marble worn through 97 years of exposure and harsh cleaning.

On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington (Feb. 22, 1732), we visit Hermon MacNeil’s famous statue in Washington Square, NYC.  Photos here show it both today and in MacNeil’s original plaster model of 1915 from his College Point studio.  His model was located just this past year. (See photos below).

CLICK BELOW for The Washington Arch as New Yorkers and visitors stroll southward from Fifth Avenue into Washington Park.

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/37-arch/

CLICK BELOW for General George Washington ~ MacNeil’s patriot Commander of the Continental Army.

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/39-washington-3/

CLICK BELOW for President Washington ~ Alexander Stirling Calder’s rendition of the civilian “Mr. President”

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/38-washington-2/

BELOW is my photo of MacNeil’s original studio plaster model for the George Washington Statue.  It is about 3 1/2 feet tall. 

George Washington as Commander-in Chief by H.A. MacNeil

Original Plaster model for “George Washington as Commander-in Chief” by H.A. MacNeil

The actual statues on the Arch are 12 feet tall.  They were both carved by the Piccirilli Brothers.  To see a clay model for the piece CLICK BELOW  =>

http://www.lehman.edu/academics/arts-humanities/piccirilli/img44.php

The Picarrilli’s were a  famous family of stone-carvers and sculptors who made many of the great sculpture carvings of that period (early 20th century).

Lincoln Bible and king Bible as Barack Obama takes Oath (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com)

Lincoln Bible and king Bible as Barack Obama takes Oath (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com)

On this Presidential Inaugural Day, the 57th in our history, President Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of the Office of President of the United States.  He will place his hand on two Bibles.  One used by President Abraham Lincoln,  and a second belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whose birthday is also celebrated on this today.  This Inaugural Day comes fifty years after M. L. King spoke at the Civil Rights March at the Lincoln Memorial and 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. 

THEREFORE, in tribute to this historic day, we offer images of the three Presidents of the United States that Hermon Atkins MacNeil sculpted in his lifetime ~~ George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.

Washington and 'Valor' in profile

Washington and ‘Valor’ in profile

General George Washington with Flags (U.S. and POW/MIA) ~ Washington Arch Greenwich, NYC (Photo courtesy of: Gibson Shell - 2011)

A visit to Illinois last week included a stop at the Abe Lincoln bust at Spurlock Museum  at U of I.  The sculpture will no longer be viewable in-the-round after being returned to its permanent home in the sparklingly-restored Lincoln Hall on campus.

A visit to Illinois in 2011 included a stop at the Abe Lincoln bust at Spurlock Museum at U of I. The sculpture will no longer be viewable in-the-round after being returned to its permanent home in the sparklingly-restored Lincoln Hall on campus

MacNeil originally sculpted a standing model of the Illinois Lawyer that he later re-sculpted as a bust.  From that piece he had Roman Bronze Works make eight castings of his Lincoln Lawyer.  This one is at the University of Illinois and will be returned to the Lincoln Hall when renovation is completed.  (For more on Lincoln busts see below.)

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil's Lincoln standing.

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil’s Lincoln standing.

Hearmon A. MacNeil's "Lincoln Lawyer" at the University of Illinois

Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” at the University of Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKinley Statue in Columbus, Ohio.

McKinley making his last public speech. before he was assassinated, Buffalo, New York, September 5, 1901. (His pose in this photo resembles that of MacNeil's statue of him in 1904). (Credit: Frances B. Johnson-Ohio Historical Society-AL00501)

McKinley making his last public speech. before he was assassinated, Buffalo, New York, September 5, 1901. (His pose in this photo resembles that of MacNeil’s statue of him in 1904). (Credit: Frances B. Johnson-Ohio Historical Society-AL00501)

MacNeil's McKinley at Ohio Statehouse plaza

MacNeil’s McKinley at Ohio Statehouse plaza

 

 

MORE on MacNEIL’s BUSTS of LINCOLN: Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings.  Public records of the four other “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear to be incomplete according to the following documentation by the Smithsonian Museum:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

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