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 H. A. MacNeil Biography

~~ SLQ ~~ Part One ~~

In September 2019 the cover story of the Numismatist

featured a superb story

by Edward Van Orden

entitled,

“Collecting a Masterpiece;

an Introduction to the Standing Liberty Quarter”

CLICK HERE or Above for full Article

screenshot of ANA Museum, Robert B. Kelley.

Credit: ANA Museum Photo / Robert B. Kelley (Screenshot by Webmaster on 3-5-2020)

 

SLQ Article: The Numismatist Sept ‘19

Edward Van Orden describes the Standing Liberty quarter dollar by saying:

“Eversince it first appeared  in circulation in January 1917, the Standing Liberty quarter (SLQ) has been considered  among the most beautiful U.S. coins ever produced.  Its historically symbolic and sculptural design played a vital role in elevating the artistry of U.S. silver coinage.

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

Crafted by American sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947), this iconic image of Liberty was the winning entry in a contest that drew upward of 50 submissions. An artist of some renown, MacNeil designed the east pediment of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., and sculpted a rendering of General George Washington for the Washington Square Arch in New York’s Greenwich Village. MacNeil’s Liberty spoke to the movement in American numismatics initiated in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt and preeminent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In the spirit of Saint-Gaudens’ double eagle (gold $20)and 

Victor D. Brenner’s Lincoln cent designs, – the quarter found its renaissance, boasting a style hearkening back to antiquity that intertwined artisan form with transactional function

At a time when most of Europe was actively engaged in the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson, elected on a peace platform in 1916, was biding our country’s time before directly involving the United States militarily. It was against this backdrop that the Standing Liberty quarter was unveiled to an eager public.

Robert W Wollery, Director of US Mint 1915-1916

The design fittingly reflected America’s increasing global involvement, epitomized by Miss Liberty’s confident, forward movement, holding a shield in her left hand for protection and an olive branch in her right for peace. Our nation, for the most part, desired peace but was prepared to defend itself and its way of life. In the words of Mint Director Robert W. Woolley in July 1916, the design seemed to typify “the awakening interest of the country in its own protection.”

FOR CONTINUED ARTICLE VIEW HERE

To be Continued …  Come back for MORE ….

~~~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES used by Van Orden for his article:

Benford, Timothy B., Jr. “MacNeil’s Liberty: Art or Obscenity?” The Numismatist (December 2003).

Brothers, Eric. “New York City: Mecca of Numis- matic Artistry.” The Numismatist (November 2013). Cline, J.H. Standing Liberty Quarters, 3rd edition.

Palm Harbour, FL: author, 1997.
Dolnick, Michael M. “Design Changes on the Lib-

erty Standing Quarter.” The Numismatist (Septem- ber 1954).

Doyle, Al. “Class of 1916, Part 2.” The Numismatist (October 2016).

____. “MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Quarter among Most Artistic.” Coin World’s Coin Values (November 2004).

Duffield, Frank G. “Slight Change in the Die of Quarter Dollars.” The Numismatist (June 1926).

Kelman, Keith N. Standing Liberty Quarters. Nashua, NH: International Numismatica Corporation, 1976. (ANA Library Catalog No. GB24.K4) .

LaMarre, Tom. “MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Remains a Favorite.” Coins magazine (September 30, 2009).

Lange, David W. “The Coinage of 1921.” The Numismatist (December 2003).

____. “Collecting Standing Liberty Quarters.” The Numismatist (December 2003).

____. “The Impossible Dream.” The Numismatist (October 2005).

____. “1923-S Coinage, Part 2.” The Numismatist (September 2011).

____. “The Standing Liberty Quarter.” The Nu- mismatist (July 2016).

Moran, Michael F. Striking Change: The Great Artistic Collaboration of Theodore Roosevelt Augus- tus Saint-Gaudens. Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2008. (GB40.M6s)

Sieber, Arlyn G. “Images of Liberty.” The Numis- matist (July 2016).

Woolley, Robert W. “Symbolism of the New Coins of 1916.” Report of the Director of the Mint (July 15, 1916).

 

Why do we celebrate MacNeil Month each February?  Two reasons:

  1. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” Hermon MacNeil. 

    Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

    Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

     

    1. February 27 is the 154th anniversary of the birth of Hermon A. MacNeil, born in 1866.  Hermon is the patron-sculptor whose work and life are celebrated at this website – HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.
  2. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” Tom Henry McNeil, My grandfather ~ And the older cousin of Hermon MacNeil.

    Thomas (Tom) Henry McNeil (b. 1860 – d. 1932)

    1. February 29 is the Anniversary of the birth of Thomas (Tom) Henry McNeil (my grandfather) born in 1860, one-hundred and sixty years ago.
    2. Tom told his daughters to address “Hermon” as “Uncle Hermon.”  “Uncle” was the title of respect bestowed on their first-cousin-twice-removed.

TODAY marks the  153rd anniversary of the birth

of Hermon Atkins MacNeil

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

AND THE 10th Year of my Search for “Uncle Hermon”
for whom this website is dedicated.

For a brief summary of his life and work click here for => A Brief Bio of Hermon Atkins MacNeil 

This website also is inspired by the memory of my mother, Ollie McNeil Leininger.

I remember my mother telling me about her “Uncle Hermon.” 

She handed me some Liberty Standing Quarters”  from her grocery change and showed me the little “M” at the left foot of Lady Liberty.

She showed me “The Sun Vow” statue in the Saint Louis Art Museum.  We also visited The Pony Express” statue in St. Joseph, Missouri.  I grew up with a sense of pride and quiet fascination with mom’s “Uncle Hermon” 

I never met “Uncle Hermon”

Hermon A. MacNeil died on October 2, 1947 at the age of 81 years, 7 months, and 8 days.  On the day that he died I was just two years-old.

To read the whole article, Click and open in a separate window

My own Mother died years later in the winter of 1985. At that time, I wrote:

With her passing a warm, safe feeling faded from my world. I was the “baby” of her six children. Her death ushered in feelings of being a midlife orphan who would soon turn forty. Darkness seemed to creep in from the far corners of my life. A strange fearful child inside of me said, “Who will take care of me now?”

 

As the years passed, I would think of mom, and occasionally, of her “Uncle Hermon.”

By the turn of the 2K millennium, computers and the internet had become household items.  This allowed people to hunt, find, and save data.  I found fascinating stories about Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Virtually anything from anywhere could be researched. 

In 2010, I met Dan DeBlock. He is a retired Army Chaplain and Lutheran Minister who builds websites for churches.  It started as a hobby interest and became Leiturgia Communications, Inc. The Host and Tech Support for this website.

One day I asked Dan DeBlock, “Could a website be built as virtual gallery of the sculpture of Hermon Atkins MacNeil?”

Nine years and 170 stories later, “HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com” is the answer to my question and Dan’s hosting.

In that year (2010), I seriously began my “Searching for Uncle Hermon.”

That journey continues.  This is story # 171 – A Birthday Present for Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School.

 

This Feb 27th of 2018 marks the 152 Anniversary of the birth of HERMON ATKINS MacNEIL. We celebrate with a little MacNeil history.

American sculptor of hundreds of pieces and monuments all over this country, 1st President of the Clan MacNeil Association of America,

Eight years ago this website started gathering the many images and stories associated with his life and work.  The Clan name traces back to to the Island of Barra in the Western Hebrides of Scotland.

The Kisimul Castle in Castle Bay was restored by the MacNeil of Barra XLV –Robert Lister MacNeil.  The story of the Clan and the Castle are told in his book, Castle in the Sea: The Macneil of Barra XLV, published in 1964.  His son Ian Roderick Macneil, Chief, Clan Macneil, published a revised 2nd edition 1975.

The Kisimul Castle is featured in cameo on this postcard “The Macneil” by Raphael Tuck and Sons. (Publishers to their Majesties the King and Queen) as part of their series “SCOTTISH CLANS.” Series VI; Postcard 9481.

The reverse of this never used postcard contains a Clan history of the two branches of the MacNeils:

No Date is found on the Postcard

MacNeil Chief greets visitors arriving to the Kisimul Castle for the 2014 Gathering of the MacNeil Clan.

The 2014 Gathering of the Clan was celebrated at the Castle and across Barra. I had the priviledge to attend the festivities and to tour Scotland for three weeks with Donna, my wife.  It was a memorable trip of a lifetime and an inauguration of our retirement years.

Webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger in kilt at Kisimul Castle in the summer of 2014.

 

 

February 27th 2017 marks the 151st Anniversary of the birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

February 29th marks the 157th Anniversary of Tom Henry McNeil (Thomas H. McNeil). Because he was born on Leap Day his birthday came only once every four years (Leap Year).

So we remember the McNeil/MacNeil cousins Tom Henry and Hermon. And we celebrate each February as “MacNeil Month” here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.

Thomas (Tom) Henry McNeil (b. 1860 – d. 1932)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil (b. 1866 – d. 1947)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) and Thomas Henry McNeil (1860-1932) were cousins. They shared a common grandfather, Peter McNeil (1786-1847).
Hermon is the sculptor celebrated on this website.Thomas (Tom Henry) was my grandfather. My mother, Ollie Francis McNeil, always referred to Hermon as “Uncle Hermon”. Their parents wanted her (and her sisters and brother) to do that out of respect.

Tom Henry was born near Burdette, Missouri, in Bates County. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1884 (Literature) and 1885 (Law). 

1884 Michigan Wolverines Football Team. Tom Henry McNeil, seated in the front in the black shirt, was the team captain. By Unknown – 1884 Michigan football team photograph http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1884fbt.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12425688

He played football there as the first starting quarterback in consecutive seasons of 84 and 85. He practiced as a lawyer for Kansas City Railways Company, and in later years, he was responsible for making accident reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Public Service Commission of Missouri. He died in 1932. 

1885 Michigan Wolverines Football Team — Quarterback Tom Henry MacNeil is seated second from the left holding a ball. A rugby style ball was used, but no forward passes were allowed

 

Hermon was born in Everett (Chelsea, Malden) Mass.  In 1886 he graduated from Normal Art School in Boston (now Mass Art).  He moved to Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York.  As Instructor

until 1889, leaving to study in Paris as a pupil of Henri M. Chapu and Alexandre Falguière. He sculpted in Chicago from 1891-1895, at the Columbian World Exposition (1893 Chicago World’s Fair) meeting Carol Brooks (also a sculptor).  They married on Christmas Day 1895 and sailed days later for Rome (1895-99). Following another year in Paris (1899-1900), they settled in New York City building a home and studio in College Point, Long Island.  He worked and lived there until his death in 1947.

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The MacNeil Studio no longer stands. In it’s nearly fifty years beside the East River Sound, many sculptor assistants, sculptures, and models of works were shaped in that place.

Postcard of MacNeil studio in College Point. From the webmaster’s collection.

This postcard and the Christmas card of 1912, posted on December 22, 2016, show the exterior of the studio. Pictures of the inside of MacNeil’s studio are rare.

However, one word picture offers a captivating account from about 1902-1903.   (Jo Davidson, Between Sittings, Dial Press: New York, 1941).

As an 18 year-old struggling artist, Jo Davidson aspired to become a sculptor. (http://www.highlands-gallery.com/jo-davidson) 

Though young, he was outgoing, naively confident, and very determined. In his autobiography he shares a fascinating encounter with Hermon MacNeil. Davidson gives a vivid description of both of MacNeil’s studios on Fifty-fifth Street and in College Point. Davidson eventually went on to become a renowned portrait sculptor of over 250 world leaders.  See him below sculpting a bust of General Eisenhower nearly fifty years later.  However, his initial impressions upon MacNeil were much less inspiring. Davidson recounts their meeting with understated humor:

Jo Davidson making a bust of General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1948) SOURCE: Laurant Davidson ( http://www.highlands-gallery.com/jo-davidson )

“On my first visit to New York, I went to the Art Students League and inquired who taught the sculpture class. I was told Herman [sic] A. MacNeil. They gave me his address, the Holbein Studios over the stables on West Fifty-fifth Street. I went to call on him to see if I could get a job in his studio. He asked me whether I had ever done any modeling, and remembering Mister Broadman’s encouragement, I told him I had. MacNeil looked at me quizzically and said, ‘I have to go out for a bit.’ He handed me a blueprint, saying, “ See what you can do with this,’ and took me to a stand piled up with plasticine – the beginning of a Corinthian capital. Then Mac Neil left.”

 “I had never seen a blueprint before in my life. I tried to figure it out, but it was hopeless. I looked around the studio. There were bronze statuettes of Indians; scale models of monuments; photographs of executed work; and some portrait heads. I was fascinated and impressed. I made up my mind to get a job with that man.”

 “I struggled with my Corinthian capital but got nowhere. In the midst of this Mr. MacNeil returned. He looked at the sorry mess I had made of his model, shook his head and asked, ‘How much do you expect to earn in a week?’”

 “I meekly suggested fifteen dollars.

He said, ‘Young man, you will never make that at sculpture.’

I asked him what he would give me, taking for granted that a job was there for me. He was taken unawares and said, ‘Six dollars a week.’ I accepted. He looked defeated and said, ‘All right, Come in Monday morning.’”

 “I went home elated and told my people I had found a job in a great sculptor’s studio. Though they did not approve, I think they caught my enthusiasm; I could hardly wait for Monday morning. At the appointed time, I rang the studio bell. The door opened and Mr. MacNeil stuck his head out of the door scowling.

‘I’ve thought it over,’ he said. ‘You are not worth it.’

I followed him into the studio.

‘What am I worth?’ I asked

‘Four dollars.’

‘All right, I’ll take it’

He gave up. ‘All right, you go to my studio in College Point, Long Island and see Mr. [John] Gregory. Tell him you are the new studio boy.’

The ride was long and expensive, a carfare, a ferry and another carfare I arrived at the MacNeil house, which was on the Sound, in Long Island, and finally found Mr. Gregory

Mr. Gregory was rather brusque: ‘Come on, hang up your things,’ he said, and he introduced me to Henri Crenier, the master sculptor.”

Davidson goes on to describe the MacNeil Studio and his early experiences there. His word picture shares some similarities of old Smithsonian archive photos. 

The Poppenhusen Institute houses this plaster model of “A Chief of the Multnomah” donated in 1920 by MacNeil. It represents half of the “Coming of the White Man” grouping comissioned in 1904 for the City of Portland, Oregon by the family of David P. Thompson. (photo courtesy of Bob Walker, College Point)

  

“The studio was a huge barn of a place or, so it appeared to me then. It was full of work in progress. There was the ‘Fountain of Liberty’ which Mr. MacNeil was making for the coming World’s Fair in St. Louis. It consisted of colossal rampant sea-horses, cavorting over a cascade of waves, sea formations and variegated seashells. At the other end of the studio there was an immense group in clay of two Indians – an older Indian standing on his tiptoes with his arms folded across his chest, looking into the distance, the younger Indian with his left hand on the old man’s shoulder and in his right hand waving an olive branch. The title of the group was ‘The Coming of the White Man.’ There were plaster molds and sketches of details of other projects.”

I was bewildered.  John Gregory woke me out of my trance and took me down to the cellar where he was working on some plaster moldings. It didn’t take him long to discover that I knew nothingbut he sensed my eagerness and was quick to give me advise and information. When I got home , I talked everybody’s ear off, but my sister Ray was the only one who listened sympathetically.   She wanted to know all about it and there was so much to tell.” 

STAY TUNED FOR “SO MUCH MORE TO TELL”

SOURCE:  Jo Davidson, Between Sittings: An Informal Autobiography (Dial Press: New York, 1951. Pp.13-16)

 

 

 

 

 

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