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 McSpadden

"Primitive Indian Music" - A rare 1894 bronze casting of a sculpture later refined and cast in multiple copies as the "Primitive Chant to the great Spirit."

A recent inquiry from James Dixon has revealed a previously unseen 1894 bronze casting entitled “Primitive Indian Music.” The piece appears to be an early (or earliest) proto-type of  “The Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit” by Hermon A. MacNeil dated 1901.  

MacNeil marked this earlier piece on the base in block letters. He signed it simply “MACNEIL Sc”

It is dated [ ’94 ] similar to the Marquette Building panels of 1895, some of which are dated [ ’95]. SEE detail below: 

"MACNEiL 95" reads this signature on Panel 3 of Marquette Building, Chicago. (Detail from lower right corner - Note; mocassin foot in showshoe above signature.)

This ‘Dixon’ piece is marked like no other bronzes of the “Primitive Chant.” All others are dated 1901.  Jim tells us that his great grandmother, Eda Lord, lived in Evanston, Illinois, and purchased the statue between 1890 and 1900.

Jim Dixon knows this, because the sculpture has been in his family for four generations.  He found our website seeking more information on his family’s MacNeil art piece. Here’s how Jim shares his family’s story:

My Great Grandmother, Eda Lord, purchased a MacNeil sculpture in the late 1800’s when she lived in Evanston, Illinois. The sculpture made its way down the family tree to my Grandmother and then to my mom and dad and it was passed on to me when my mom passed away last year. The statue is of an Indian boy and is about 24″ tall (bronze) It is labeled “Primitive Indian Music MacNeil s: ’94” My review of the works of MacNeil pointed to the sculpture entitled “A primitive chant to the Great Spirit” at the Smithsonian Museum. My observation of the photo of “A primitive Chant…” lead me to believe that the two sculptures are the same. It this possible? Were multiple casting made of these statues? Was it common to re-cast the statue at a later time? I would be happy to send digital photos of the sculpture for your records, review and comments. Any further information you may have on this statue would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

James Dixon

The partial title "PRIMITIVE IND..." is visible here

Hers is partial title "Indian Music" and "MACNEIL Sc" with date " '94"

This photo of  markings on the piece read “PRIMITIVE…” and the next photo continues “INDIAN MUSIC”. The  signature bears no initials, only the full last name, “MACNEIL Sc”. Additional marks include a date [ ‘ 94 ]. These markings are consistent with MacNeil’s pre-1900 dates on the Marquette Panels — last name only with no initials. The block letter ( MACNEIL ) is “identical to Panel #3 of the Marquette Building.  In addition, consider the following:

  1. No foundry marks appear on this Dixon Family heirloom.
  2. More importantly no RBW (Roman Bronze Works) initials or name appears on the casting.  Roman Bronze Works is where most museum pieces of this work were cast.  They also bear the date of 1901.  RBW opened its doors in 1900 the same time that Hermon MacNeil settled in College Point, Queens, NYC, New York.
  3. The absence of RBW’s distinguishing mark, as found on the 1901 casts, and the Dixon family story of acquisition would seem to indicate a date before 1900 for the casting of this piece.
  4. The story of Hermon MacNeil and his hiring of Black Pipe (see previous post dated April 25, 2012) as a studio assistant and model are consistent with an 1894 dating of this piece.  In this conversation with J Walker McSpadden in 1924, MacNeil recalled the events:
    • MACNEIL: “Yes, and you may find it an interesting yarn. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show had been in Chicago during the Fair, and one of his braves was Black Pipe, a Sioux, a fine-looking fellow. He had stayed behind, and one day I met him on the streets, looking hungry and cold, and asked him if he wanted something to do. He did there was no doubt about that. I took him into the studio, fed him up, and then set to work modeling his head. I finished it in four hours, for I was not sure that I would ever see my Indian again; but he stayed with me in all for a year and a half, helping me with odd jobs about the studio. That’s his head there.”
    • It was a life-size bronze, which he indicated, not done in full relief but resting on a plaque a strong piece of portraiture.
    • MCSPADDEN: “In this and your later work with Indians,” I inquired, “did you have any trouble about making their likenesses? Some of them object to being photographed.”
    • MACNEIL: “Yes, many of the older Indians object; they think it takes the spirit out of them. But Black Pipe had been among white folks long enough to know better, and with others I managed to get around their superstitions. Black Pipe, by the way, posed for ‘The [312] Primitive Chant 5 which is one of my best-known Indian subjects.”
    • This is the spirited figure of a naked savage dancing to the music of his own flute. It has been widely copied in art prints.  [ Source: Joseph Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America, (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1924) pp. 311-12. ]
  5. This figure also appears to also be based on Black Pipe.  CLICK HERE for more on MacNeil and Black Pipe
  6. The only other evidence of a MacNeil Bronze from this period (1894) is “the Vow to Vengeance” in the Art Institute of Chicago which lists a date marking on 1894 as well.   SEE AIC Website HERE.

Many old photos of ‘plaster casts’ of this sculpture appear in museum archives.  This ‘Dixon’ bronze appears to be a very different find than other models, either plaster or bronze. 

WEBMASTER’S COMMENTS:

  1. Thanks Jim for the photos and inquiry.
  2. This seems a VERY early bronze casting from MacNeil’s 1893-1895 days at the Art Institute of Chicago (1893-1895).
  3. I have seen Plaster sculptures from this period but not Bronze casts. Perhaps, MacNeil was venturing (experimenting) into bronze castings. Another bronze from 1894 is this “Vow to Vengeance” which was an early version of the later “Sun Vow”  [ SEE Art Institute of Chicago holdings: CLICK HERE ]
  4. This “Primitive Indian Music” seems an early version of his “Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit.” of 1901. Your piece seems to be a ‘first’ to me. Spelled RARE. There maybe others, but they are not in museum archives, or accessible on-line. I certainly have not seen them.

  5. All other bronze casts I have seen photos of date after 1900. This includes “Primitive Chant” from museums and auction house photos. All those have RBW initials from NYC -Roman Bronze Works.
  6. The work seems much less finished (polished).  It appears rougher in texture (more primitive? early?). Not only Primitive Indian…, but also maybe Primitive MacNeil… ?

CONCLUSION (for now): This is a fascinating piece that seems to this non-curator-MacNeil-enthusiast to be one of Hermon’s earliest concepts of what he later cast as “Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit” in 1901. 

That piece was cast by Roman Bronze Works when MacNeil settled there in his studio-home in College Point NYC.

NEXT: “Who was Eda Lord? And How did she become owner of this early MacNeil sculpture?

MacNeil’s “Moqui Runner” is running through a prominent Chicago Library. The “Runner’s” race began in 1924 and continues into the 21st century.

Macneil's "Moqui Runner" has silently raced through the Newberry Library since 1924

According to Scott Manning Stevens, Ph.D. (director of the McNickle Center at the Newberry), it is very likely that this Moqui belonged to Edward Everett Ayer himself. Its dimensions are the same as those specified in this AIC collection entry [AIC – “Moqui Runner”]

Edward Ayer also encouraged the young McNeil to travel to the American west and southwest. He urged artists and sculptors to capture the vanishing images of the native culture. In addition he was a patron of many artisans in such travels and western studies.

A portrait of Ayer’s office painted by his nephew, Elbridge Ayer Burbank, includes two MacNeil statuettes (light gray pieces) sitting on the bookcases. The one on the left resembles “Early Toil” (a figure of a native American woman carrying many objects of her daily labor). The other figure on the right appears to be “A Chief of the Multnomah”  (an arrow straight chief standing proudly with his arms crossed over his chest). This second piece became the right half of the “Coming of the White Man” grouping that can be seen in Portland’s Washington Park and in Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens, NYC (and in the previous post of June 1, 2011 on this website-see link at bottom).

 

MacNeil has captured the intensity of the Hopi Runner.

The fact that Ayer private study would include these two MacNeil sculptures offers perpetual record to his connection to the artist and patronage of his western work. The fact that Ayer’s nephew included them in his painting composition bears testimony to his awareness of his uncle’s identity with MacNeil pieces.

 

MacNeil's swift Runner, balanced on one foot, remains frozen in time from the 19th, to 20th, to 21st Centuries. (Webmaster's photo: D. Leininger - background removed to enhance image)

MacNeil had Blackpipe model in his Chicago studio that he shared with C. F Browne after the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  Blackpipe continued to work for him through 1894.  This all gives evidence of his fascination with Native people and  making them subjects of  his sculpture. His travels in 1895 to the southwest (later called the four corners area) greatly influenced his sculpture choices for years to come. These works became the objects of his early public acclaim. Yet their influence remained throughout his career both personally and publicly. In 1931, for example, the Society of Medalists commissioned him to make their annual medal. The “Prayer for Rain” (the obverse – patterned after the “Moqui” shown here) and the “Hopi” (reverse) became his chosen subject.   [“Hopi” was the later preferred spelling of the earlier “Moqui.”]

MacNeil’s Exhibit  listings for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition are recorded in “The Catalogue of the Exhibition of Fine Arts.” Pan-American Exposition: Buffalo, 1901. p. 45-46; 59 This document indicates that the statue belonging to E. E. Ayer, Esq by 1901 was the one exhibited in the Pan-American exposition and receiving the Silver Medal in the Paris Fair of 1900.  It appears that the Ayer Moqui pictured here is that same sculpture.

Records in the Catalogue of Pan-American Exposition of 1901 in Buffalo, NY are as follows:

  • H. A. MacNeil:
  • #1613. The Sun Vow – Silver Medal, Paris Exposition, 1900.
  • #1614. The Moqui Runner – Silver Medal, Paris Exposition, 1900 (Lent by E. E. Ayer, Esq)
  • #1615. Bust — Agnese
  • #1616. Bust – [Lent by C. F. Browne, Esq.]
  • p. 59.
  • MacNeil, H. A., 145 West 55th Street, New York, N. Y. (II*) 1613-1616
  • *II – indicates MacNeil exhibited in “Group II – Sculpture, including medals and cameos” p. 49.

The Art Institute of Chicago lists the following collection information:

MacNeil's "Moqui Runner" at the Newberry Library (photo by webmaster - bkgd removed)

  • Hermon Atkins MacNeil
  • American, 1866-1947
  • The Moqui Runner (The Moqui Prayer for Rain—The Returning of the Snakes), Modeled 1896, cast c. 1897
  • Bronze
  • H. 57.2 cm (22 1/2 in.)
  • Signed on side of base: “H. A. MAC NEIL. Sc. Fond. Nelli. ROMA”
  • Inscribed around side of base, front: “THE RETURNING OF THE SNAKES”
  • Inscribed under center of the figure, on base: “THE MOQUI / PRAYER.FOR.RAIN”
  • Gift of Edward E. Ayer, 1924.1350

See Moqui Runner ~ Previous Post

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/09/01/the-moqui-moki-hopi-prayer-runner-by-hermon-a-macneil/

[mappress mapid=”31″]

Another "The Coming of the White Man" postcard actually mailed over a century ago, "From Chas. Aug. 24, 1907." (Antique Postcard courtesy of Gil Shell of KC, MO)

This month’s MacNeil postcard again features the “Coming of the White Man” statue in Portland, Oregon. This b&w p hoto  postcard shows the statue as it looked in its first year, 1906.  The postcard (which was actually mailed for 1 cent in 1907 – ‘from Chas’) is now owned by Gib Shell.  Note the fresh landscaping around the base of the statue.  Also the complete oak branch in the hand of the young scout  (before it was broken off – see below).  

The branch in the scout's hand has been broken for some time.

A recent estate auction featured a “Chief of the Multnomah” which is the right-hand half of this pair.

“Everything Must Go” was a feature story in the “Queens Chronicle” by Elizabeth Daley, editor (March 11, 2011).  Michael Halberian lived in the former Steinway Family Mansion.  It is uncertain whether the MacNeil sculpture was a Steinway heirloom that sold with the mansion or whether Mike discovered it in his appraisal work.


The late Michael Halberian poses on his estate with his prized possession, an Indian statue by Hermon Atkins MacNeil. (Photo by Elizabeth Daley, Queens Chronicle)

This Queens blogger suggests that the Steinway mansion was something of a museum – free to the public for much of its lifetime: http://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2011/03/steinway-mansion-artifacts-to-be.html

The original plaster sculpture from which this bronze is cast now stands in the Poppenhusen Institute in Queens, NYC just several blocks from MacNeil Park near MacNeil’s home and studio on College Point.  Hermon served as president of the institute board and donated the original plaster model to them. A previous post here tells the whole story.  CLICK HERE

A miniature of the "Chief of the Multnomah" behind glass at the MMA in NYC.

The figure on the right with crossed arms was also cast singlely and entitled “The Chief of the Multnomah.” It was later cast in miniatures also. ~

It is possible that MacNeil patterned this statue after Blackpipe, a Sioux Warrior in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show that he befriended after the 1893 Chicago Fair.   Blackpipe worked off and on at MacNeil’s studio during 1894.  Thirty years later, J. W. McSpaden conversed with MacNeil about how he developed an interest in Indian subjects:

"Blackpipe" - photo of a sculpture in the Smithsonian Institute archieves for H. A. MacNeil.

 

MACNEIL: “Yes, and you may find it an interesting yarn. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show had been in Chicago during the Fair, and one of his braves was Black Pipe, a Sioux, a fine-looking fellow. He had stayed behind, and one day I met him on the streets, looking hungry and cold, and asked him if he wanted something to do. He did there was no doubt about that. I took him into the studio, fed him up, and then set to work modeling his head. I finished it in four hours, for I was not sure that I would ever see my Indian again; but he stayed with me in all for a year and a half, helping me with odd jobs about the studio. That’s his head there.”

It was a life-size bronze, which he indicated, not done in full relief but resting on a plaque a strong piece of portraiture.

MCSPADDEN: “In this and your later work with Indians,” I inquired, “did you have any trouble about making their likenesses? Some of them object to being photographed.”

MACNEIL: “Yes, many of the older Indians object; they think it takes the spirit out of them. But Black Pipe had been among white folks long enough to know better, and with others I managed to get around their superstitions. Black Pipe, by the way, posed for ‘The [312] Primitive Chant 5 which is one of my best-known Indian subjects.”

This is the spirited figure of a naked savage dancing to the music of his own flute. It has been widely copied in art prints.

Source: Joseph Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America, (New York:Dod, Mead and Company, 1924) pp. 311-12

The Smithsonian archives contain a photo of “Blackpipe” in their MacNeil collection of papers and photos. (No other images or location of this sculpture is known to this author). McSpadden’s description, “It was a life-size bronze, which he indicated, not done in full relief but resting on a plaque a strong piece of portraiture” suggests a permanent piece of art.  It’s lineage after 1922 and present whereabouts (even existence) remain a mystery to this author.

 

 

NOTE: February 22nd marks the 279th Birthday of George Washington.
February 27th is the 145th Birthday of Hermon A. MacNeil.
The Arch in Washington Square Park, NYC, contains TWO separate statues of Washington

 

 

[Continued from the February 12th posting:]

While Washington "Refused to Be King" many personal factors as
well as the expectations of the people were put upon him.

1) As a large man with great physical bearing, he was an embodiment of authority all his life.

2) At 6′ 4″ and slightly over 200 lbs, he was a full head taller contemporaries.

3) Washington was not a handsome man but when he set in motion, his full package conveyed a sheer majesty.  Benjamin Rush observed, “He has so much martial dignity in his deportment that there is not a king in Europe but would look like a valet de chambre by his side.

4) As a fledgling nation that had only known “ROYALTY” prior to independence.  So any leader who looked royal was eligible, so to speak, for coronation.

5) “John Adams claimed that the reason Washington was invariably selected to lead every national effort was that he was always the tallest man in the room.” (Ellis, p. 124)


6) It did not help that he often portrayed a royal style of dress, designed his own uniforms and had them tailor-made to fit his striking frame.
7) As one of his biographers put it, “his body did not just occupy space, it seemed to organize space around it.“ (Ellis, p. 124)

Given all the above, Ellis adds the 'crowning' observation:  
He had no compunction about driving around Philadelphia in
an ornate carriage drawn by six cream-colored horses; or, when
on horseback, riding a white stallion with a leopard cloth and
gold trimmed saddle; or accepting laurel crowns at  public
celebrations that resembled coronations. (Ellis, p. 127)
No wonder the majestic man became regarded as 
"His Majesty."

The TWO Washington Statues
MacNeil's sculpture of Washington as "Soldier" was the
first of the two done in stone.  It was intended to set off the
companion piece of Washington as President, by Alexander
Stirling  Calder on the supporting walls of the Washington
Arch, on Fifth Avenue, New York.
One shows “The President,” and the other” “The Soldier.”  

MacNeil told McSpadden in 1924:
"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."

In order to fit the the Arch's 77 foot stature, MacNeil's
Washington was sculpted twice life-size.  So while 6 foot
4 inches in life, in MacNeil's hands,Washington became 
12 foot and 8 inches tall.  Despite this size the greater
massiveness of the Arch almost  dwarfs the figures.  In a
similar manner, the revolution and the resulting
republic appear to dwarf any ONE person or group
of Founders.  Perhaps that is the essence of the
heritage of the United States of America as a
republic.   A heritage recaptured by the immortal words
of another President, Mr. Abe Lincoln (also born in
this month) as he closed his comments over the grave sites at Gettysburg.

The statue and plinth dwarf the man below.


                                    "that government of the people,
                                                  by the people, for the people, 
                                                             shall not perish from the earth."


After Washington finished his second four year term as
President, he stepped down. He returned to his beloved Mount
Vernon Estate.  He lived only three more years and died in 1799
in the third year of the Presidency of John Adams. 

Yes, "we have a republic, if we can keep it."
And the man who could have been King, chose instead, to be a
Citizen.
First a citizen-soldier and then a citizen-President.  And so it
has been ever since. 

Presidents Day, the rule of law and the TWO 
twelve-foot eight-inch statues of Washington by 
Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Alexander Stirling
Calder remind us of that heritage.  

As well as the absence of any likeness of anything or
anyone resembling:      
       "KING GEORGE WASHINGTON IV"

For Mr. Washington was:   "A Man Who Refused to BE KING!"


The Arch when traffic was still allowed in the Square.
For further Reading and research see:
  1. Kurt Soller, Newsweek, “The Man who Would Be King” Oct. 8, 2008 (click on title for link)
  2. Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers, Knopf: NY, 2001.  p. 120-161 (especially 124-127).
  3. http://www.newsweek.com/2008/10/07/the-man-who-would-be-king.html

Related Posts on this website:

  1. https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/05/11/new-york-washington-square-arch/
  2. https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/09/26/washington-square-nyc/
Video: 
    Here's an informative video on the nature of the
    American "republic." While a bit harsh on its
    characterization of 'democracy," it is well
    worth watching.
  • TITLE: "A Republic if you can keep it."  
  • LINK:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGL8CiUtXF0
  • Comments on this video include: Uploader Comments (aliunde)
  • “Entertaining video, but this is a gross misrepresentation. The author doesn’t note, for example, that the U.S. Constitution replaced the catastrophic “limited government” under the Articles of Confederation, and that a desire to tax Americans directly & regulate interstate commerce were the two chief motivations behind the U.S. Constitution. The size & role of a government is not the issue; it is a government’s internal structure – its checks & balances – which are the key to its success. AboveAllNations 7 months ago”

  • @AboveAllNations: The Constitution was one of strictly limited and enumerated powers. You need but read The Federalist Papers (authored by Madison, Jay, and Hamilton) to secure passage of the Constitution by the respective states) to understand that.  A quick quote: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 45    –  aliunde 7 months ago 7

The familiar George Washington in your wallet

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative by Artist C. Daughtrey is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

February 22nd marks the 279th Birthday of George Washington.

February 27th is the 145th Birthday of Hermon A. MacNeil.

The Arch in Washington Square Park, NYC, contains TWO separate sculptures of Mr. Washington.  The presence of two distinct representations of this remarkable American rather than ONE, is remarkable.

So, why TWO statues? Well, the first statue created by Hermon A. MacNeil represented General Washington, as the soldier, the Commander of the Continental Army of the American Revolution. The second created by Stirling Calder portrayed Mr. Washington as the statesman, the President. BOTH sculptures are necessary to portray George Washington’s TWO essential roles in the creation and establishment of the American republic.  

Throughout his entire career Washington (like his founding brothers and sisters) believed, worked, fought, governed, and served the ideals of a republic as the form of government for the United States.  After the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman, “What form of government have you given us?” Franklin is said to have replied, “A Republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.” A Republic is can be defined as:

a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, retain supreme control over the government.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic

At virtually every transition of his life, Washington assumed the power necessary to accomplish the next task, THEN gave that power back when the task was done. History notes that:

When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775, Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. On July 3, 1775, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he took command of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling years.

Source:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington

After the surrender of the British at Yorktown in the summer of 1781, Washington remained encamped with the skeletal Continental Army until the Treaty of Paris was ratified by King George III in September 1783.  Before it was ratified by the Continental Congress in January 1784, Washington submitted a letter of resignation as Commanding general.  He said in part:

[To the Continental Congress]

[Annapolis, Md. 23 December 1783]

Mr President

The great events on which my resignation depended having at length taken place; I have now the honor of offering my sincere Congratulations to Congress & of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the Service of my Country. …

I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my Official life, by commanding the Interests of our dearest Country to the protection of Almighty God, and those Who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping.

Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action—and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my Commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.

http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/revolution/resignation.html

Washington longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon. But he soon realized that the Nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well, so he became a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington President.

Source:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington

 Washington served two terms as president.  "The main charge levied against
Washington," according to Joseph J. Ellis, "was that he made himself into a
quasi king." 
Yet history records that while England had King George III, the newly United
States would NOT have a King George IV in George Washington.  Mr W was:

"The Man Who Refused to Be King!"

TO BE CONTINUED in next post ...

MacNeil Month #3 ~

During his teaching at Cornell, MacNeil saved his money to seek continued art education.  He followed the path of many an artist of his day and left for Europe in 1888.  Settling in Paris, that focus of ambitious art students, he was a pupil of Henri M. Chapu at the Julien Academy. According to Matthews:

Julien’s was actually not one, but numerous schools located in various parts of Paris, all under the dictatorship of Monsieur Julien, a former prizefighter from a small village in the south of France who after studying at the Beaux Arts and enjoying a “succes de scandale” along with Manet and Whistler in 1863 at the Salon des Refus’es, had found his forte in business, first as a promoter of wrestling matches, then, as the novelty of these wore off, as a operator of a studio for artists, which he founded in 1868.”

(Marsha M. Mathews, Henry Ossawa Tanner, American Artist, . Of Chicago Press, 1969, p 62.)

He studied as well with  Alexandre Falguiere at the cole des Beaux Arts.

Palais des Études of the École Nationale Superieur des Beaux-Arts, Paris

This was a two-year period full of inspiration and high hopes, and was only terminated by the depletion of the pennies saved up at Cornell. His return to this country was in the fortunate year of 1893, when the Columbian Exposition at Chicago had created a boom in the art world. MacNeil did not want to go back to teaching in Cornell, so went instead to the Western metropolis. He fell in with Martiny, and helped him with his decorations for various Exposition buildings. (Joseph Walker McSpadden, Famous Sculptors of America, New York, 1924. p. 310)

Henry Ossawa Tanner shared a studio with Hermon MacNeil in Paris in 1893 as they both studied at Julien Academy

Regarding the Paris period, Marsha Mathews, in her autobiography of Henry Ossawa Mathews mentions that Mathews shared studio space at rue de Seine with Hermon A. MacNeil.  Apparently this occurred in the spring of 1893.

Henry Ossawa Mathews was an American painter regarded as a realist focusing on accurate depictions of subjects. His early work, “The Banjo Lesson,” dates from that period of 1893. His later works focused on religious and biblical themes.  Both men were involved with the Columbian Exposition and the Art Institute of Chicago in the years that followed.  Mathews, as a painter, and MacNeil, as a sculptor, were to have no apparent colaboration after that period in Paris.

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.

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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