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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 Moqui

1931 Society of Medalists #3 ~ Moqui Runner and Hopi Rain Dance (reverse) ~ exhibitor: Chrysler Museum - Norfork, VA

1931 "Moqui Rain Dance" (reverse) SOM #3  ~ Dan Leininger, webmaster

1931 "Moqui Rain Dance" (reverse) SOM #3 ~ exhibitor: Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster

Here are two examples of Hermon A. Mac Neil’s 1931 Society of Medalists (SOM) Issue #3 entitled “Prayer for Rain” and “Hopi” on the reverse.  These show two of the 4 varied patinas that MacNeil chose for the issue. (Thanks to Gilbert Shell for sharing these sources & interesting me in this MacNeil – SOM Issue #3)

The medals are slightly oval in shape. The Obverse, shown here in a striking orange patina, can be seen in the Chrysler Museum of Norfork, Virginia.  In his design Hermon MacNeil, has recaptured his 1895 image of the Moqui Runner. The title, PRAYER FOR RAIN,  portrays a group of young Hopis sprinting to the right; their hands filled with snakes. The Reverse side, shown in beautiful sea green patina, bears the title, “HOPI,” a more modern transliteration of “Moqui”.  It shows a group of Hopi Indian dancers handling ritualistic snakes.  It is owned by our webmaster.

In a 2005 article, David T Alexander, a widely published numismatic writer, described 4 different applied patinas that were offered for the 1,713 medals released in this issue. Here is an excerpt of Alexander’s article: (NOTE: In his comments, the usual ‘reverse’ and ‘obverse’ for this medal has been switched by this author.)

1931 #3. HERMON MacNEILL. Hopi Indian Prayer for Rain.
Obv Five Hopi rain dancers, two with snakes in their mouths, one crouching to gather up snakes for return to the cottonwood enclosure set up for the ceremony. Two other dancers distract mouth-held snakes with eagle feathers. MacNeil’s sky is adapted from Hopi sand painting showing stylized rain clouds and serpentine arrows of falling rain.
Incuse HOPI in exergue. Signature H A MACNEIL incuse lower r.
Rev Dancers race from mesa onto the desert, hands full of snakes to be returned to their dens. Lightning flashes above, incuse PRAYER (vertical) FOR RAIN in exergue.

MacNeil, best known to coin collectors for his Standing Liberty Quarter of 1916-1930, wrote, “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.”

MacNeil described the setting as the Kiva, An underground chamber. Members of the Snake and Antelope clans gathered snakes for six days from the compass points, above and below, “therefore from all the directions of the universe.” Poisonous snakes are included in the dance, distracted from the dancers holding them in their mouths by another dancer wielding an eagle feather. The artist witnessed several snakebites, which had no apparent effect on the exalted, fasting dancers.

MacNeil theorized that the wriggling serpent forms suggested the shape of lightning “snaking” earthward from the clouds, as seen in the sand art above. At the end of the prayer dance, the Indian raced out onto the desert, hands filled with snakes to be released into their dens as a rain cloud forms overhead.  This is SOM’s first non-circular medal, showing a boldly ovoid shape. At least four distinctive patinas have been 16 observed on examples of the Hopi medal,
described below.
EDGE AND PATINA VARIETIES OBSERVED:
1. THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRD ISSUE. Rounded rims. Light tan, sea green highlights. A.
2. Ditto. Light tan with hints of gold. A.
3. Ditto. Intense glossy hematite red. A.
4. Ditto. Bold sea-green, sharply squared rims. A.

Source:

  1. David T. Alexander, “The Art Medal Defined” in The Medal Collectors of America Advisory, Volume 8, Number 5, May 2005, pp. 10-12.  (Thanks to Gilbert Shell for sharing this source and his interest in this SOM Issue #3)
  2. For more on SOM see: Samuel Pennington, “The Society of Medalists”

 

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Sculptures that Hermon A. MacNeil’s exhibited for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

The above works that Hermon A. MacNeil’s exhibited in Buffalo for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition are listed in:

“The Catalogue of the Exhibition of Fine Arts.” Pan-American Exposition: Buffalo, 1901. (p. 45-46; p. 59).

pp. 45-4. 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.

Some of these people mentioned in that exhibition record were to be long term colleagues, friends and patrons of MacNeil’s art and career.

Charles Francis Browne was a painter and friend who accompanied Hermon MacNeil and author, Hamlin Garland, to the southwest in the summer of 1895. They wanted to gain direct experience of American Indians to inform their art. What the trio found reflected in their respective painting, sculpture and writing.

MacNeil’s subsequent sculptures of Native Americans after that summer of 1895 continued a cultural focus that began with his friendship and sculpting of Black Pipe, the Sioux warrior. He first met Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  The Sioux modeled for MacNeil and later worked in his studio for over a year.

Edward Everett Ayers was an art patron to both MacNeil and Browne.  He had been a Civil War Calvary officer stationed in the southwestern United States.  He became a lumberman who made a fortune selling railroad ties and telephone poles. He urged MacNeil to travel to see the vanishing West of the American Indian.  He became an arts benefactor whose art collections are now housed by the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as, the Newberry Library.

All the above is but a small part of the history woven into this simple Exhibition catalogue entry from 1901.  More later on Macneil’s mysterious “Agnese.”

Related Images:

Between 1893 and 1905 Hermon Atkins MacNeil and his sculptures were involved in four World’s Fairs.  The Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (1901) was the second of these events. Popularly known as the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo NY, over 8 Million people attended the exhibition.

University of Deleware ~ Special Collections website offers this description;

The most unusual aspect of the Pan-American was the color scheme of its buildings. Unlike the pristine design of the “White City,” the architectural plan of the Pan-American was to build a “Rainbow City.” The buildings were done in a Spanish Renaissance style and were colored in hues of red, blue, green, and gold. The Electric Tower, the focal point of the fair, was colored deep green with details of cream white, blue, and gold. At night, thousands of electric lights outlined the buildings.

"The Sun Vow" (photo courtesy of Gib Shell)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil's "The Moqui Runner" (The Moqui Prayer for Rain -- The Returning of the Snakes) 1896, cast 1897.

In the year 1900, MacNeil returned to the United States after three years in Rome and a fourth back in Paris.  He settled in New York City. Within a year, MacNeil set up a home and an adjoining studio in College Point, Long Island (now Flushing, Queens ). His studio became his work place for the next four decades.

MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” and the “Moqui Runner” were both exhibited at the 1901 Fair.  The “Sun Vow” had received a silver medal at the Paris exhibition of 1900.  It was exhibited again at the Columbian Exposition of 1904 — the Saint Louis World’s Fair. As the years passed, it would become his best known work.  (Webmaster’s Note: It recently graced the cover of the 2010 Denver Art Museum publication, “Shaping the West: American Sculptors of the 19th Century”)

At the Buffalo Exhibition he was asked to do the pediment sculptures for the Anthropological Building, as well as a grouping known as “Despotic Age.”  Craven described the work as follows:

The spirit of despotism with ruthless cruelty spreads her wings over the people of the Despotic Age, crushing them with the burden of war and conquest and draging along the victims of rapine (plunder), a half savage figure sounds a spiral horn in a spirit of wild emotion. (Craven, SIA, p. 518)

MacNeil’s sculpture design for the Award Medals at the Pan American Exhibition, Buffalo, NY 1901 (front)  [ photo credits: CCya at http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=25738

MacNeil designed the official gold medal (displayed here in silver) struck in celebration of the Pan American Exhibition.  His commissioned design bears a youthful woman standing beside a buffalo on the obverse side. She represents the triumph of the intellect over physical power.  The reverse depicts two Indians with a sharing a peace pipe. One, a North American Indian, extends the extends the pipe to the South American Indian.  Craven notes that

MacNeil's sculpture design for the Award Medals at the Pan American Exhibition, Buffalo, NY 1901 (reverse). All award medals were struck from the same design whether in Bronze, silver or gold. These are silver medals.

MacNeil chose to portray the theme of “Pan-American friendship through images of the red man, not the white man.” (Craven, SIA, P. 519).  We can also observe that this choice extended MacNeil’s selection of native people into a second continent. [Photo credits CCya at http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=25738]

President William McKinley was assassinated at the fair. On Sept. 6, 1901, Leon Czolgosz shot President McKinley in the Temple of Music, a pavilion of the Buffalo, New York, Pan-American Exposition. Eight days later, on Sept. 14, McKinley was dead.  We do not know if MacNeil was present at the Fair when the President was attacked.  In some sense, President McKinley’s overshadowed the rest of the Exposition. Buffalo promoted the event in order to be seen as a prosperous, modern, technologically-advanced city,.  Instead  Buffalo became seen as the city of the assassination.

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)

In the  years following The Buffalo Exhibition, a series of important commissions would raise him to prominence as a major American sculptor. One of those was, oddly enough, was the McKinley Monument Statue and Plaza at the front of the Ohio State Capitol Building where McKinley served two terms as the governor of the state.

The only remaining building of the fair is the New York State Pavilion.  It is now the home of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. (see map) A boulder marking the site of McKinley’s assassination was placed in a grassy median on Fordham Drive

1901 Pan-American Exposition links: (active as of this posting date)

[mappress mapid=”24″]



Book Source: http://www.cityofeverett.com/Everett_files/historical/herman_macneil.htm

  • Today is the 145th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth.
  • The above celebrates his life from the Everett, Massachusetts city website.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil's "The Moqui Runner" (The Moqui Prayer for Rain -- The Returning of the Snakes) 1896, cast 1897.

The year was 1895.  Hermon MacNeil, along with two friends (painter, Charles Francis Browne, and author, Hamlin Garland), spent the summer traveling and living in the Territories of New Mexico and Arizona.  There they sought direct experience among the Indians that would give birth in them to a new, truly American art.  “The Indian caught my fancy as it had with many young sculptors,” wrote H.A. MacNeil in his “Autobiographical Sketch.” They became eye-witnesses to the life and culture of the Hopi (formerly known as Moki, and Moqui) people.

“We found Indians a plenty and perhaps because I was keenly interested in them I was in heaven and I flared to a high pitch, working from sunrise to dark,” wrote the twenty-nine year old MacNeil. Like many ethnologists of that period, the Snake Dance deeply impacted his cultural awareness and artistic curiosity.

The Snake Dance ritual involved fifty or more men and lasted for ten days.  As a part of the ceremony the priests would dance with live snakes in their months (presumably making the reptiles the bearers of the prayers of the priests).   The climax of the ceremony involved a four mile run returning the snakes (now endued with prayers) to their natural home.

The long black locks streaming in the wind follow the runners path back to nature and the ancestors.

“There was something superb in all this,” wrote Garland in his “Among the Moki.” Something natural, strong, and wholesome.” Garland described the Runners, with their black hair flowing down over their shoulders, “They ran with the chest thrown out and with light step, which only three hundred years of daily climbing to and fro on this cliff could give.  It was like seeing one of the old Greek games.” (Among the Moki).

MacNeil never forgot the indelible visions of these moments in his artist’s eye. He writes, “Every artist has at various times strong impressions that he longs to express. The sensation received by me from this dance was without doubt the deepest I had received. There was an abandon, fury, and sincerity.”

One reviewer of MacNeil’s work from this period captures their energy and abandon by saying:

MacNeil captures the energy and fury of the ceremonial "Return of the Snakes" in the grip and gaze of the runner.

“In sculpture those fresh, spirited Indians, by H. A. MacNeil, are so strong and full of vigor that they command at once one’s admiration and respect. The strongly developed and “straight-as-an-arrow style”surely marks the Indian as nature’s nobleman.  MacNeil knows just how to bring out their striking characteristics, and even on a small scale the work is grandly conceived.” (Sculptors at the American Art Exhibition.” Arts for America 4 (November 1895) p. 150.)

Snake Dance – For a short history see:http://www.brownielocks.com/snakedance.html

HISTORY NOTE: MacNeil’s experience with the Hopi follows less than five years after tragic deaths of December 1890 — namely, Wounded Knee Massacre — The killing of Chief Sitting Bull and the murder of Chief Big Foot.  For more details of this history view”

http://www.lastoftheindependents.com/wounded.htm and

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wounded_Knee_Massacre

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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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2. Take close up photos of details that you like
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