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 Poppenhusen Institute

Hermon A. MacNeil’s plaster sculpture of “George Washington”made as his studio plaster model nearly a century ago.

Recognize this Patriot?

You can HELP HIM return to College Point. 

Here are a few clues:

  1. The piece you see here is less that 1/3 the size of the actual statue (pictured below).
  2. For the last 64 years it has been in storage at a museum over 800 miles from MacNeil’s studio in College Point, Queens, NYC where it originated.
  3. Along with a dozen and a half other plaster casts from MacNeil’s studio, this stately Commander left College point after the sculptor’s death.

If the Poppenhusen Institute and Susan Brustmann, the director, have their way, this “General Washington” may spend his 2nd century as a “permanent resident” of the community where Hermon MacNeil sculpted him.

“George Washington as Commander-in Chief” ~ A recent photo of this MacNeil work that has graced the Washington Arch in Greenwich Village for the last 96 years.

 A NEW HOME at the POPPENHUSEN INSTITUTE (MORE)  is being offered just blocks down the street from where MacNeil’s hands fashioned this commemorative piece.

Susan Brustmann, director of the Institute, informs us that discussions are underway to bring these MacNeil statues home. 

For 64 years they have been in the inventory and care of a midwestern museum that has decided to de-assession the pieces.  Seldom seen, never permanently exhibited, and soon to be de-assessioned, over a dozen others may return to College Point.

But your help is needed.

YOU CAN HELP! CONTACT us at:

HAMacNeil@gmail.com

Stay tuned for updates.

Related posts:

  1. Poppenhusen Institute makes MacNeil Collection Appeal! (14.8)
  2. MacNeil Sculpture at Poppenhusen Institute (11.2)
  3. MacNeil Park – College Point, Queens, NY (17)
  4. MacNeil Postcard #3 ~ ‘From Chas. Aug 24, 1907′ (8.4)
  5. Confederate Defenders Statue – White Point Gardens & the Battery (8.6)

 

February is “MacNeil Month at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com

Feb 27th, 2012 is the 146th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth.

Hermon MacNeil’s “Coming of the White Man” sculpture in Portland, OR, appears to be the most popular postcard of all his statues.

"Coming of the White Man" (Postcard credit: Gibson Shell, KC MO)

Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Coming of the White Man” in Portland Oregon has an interesting story of the  boulder-like stone that forms its base.  This postcard image from Gib Shell shows the enormous granite stone on which MacNeil placed the statue.

The story, as I read it from a newspaper interview from about 1905, went like this.  MacNeil was very particular about how his sculptures were mounted. Many of them were placed on bases that he made as a special part of the piece.  The Marquette-Jolliet-Illini grouping in Chicago, the “Confederate Defenders” statue in Charleston each have stone bases with carvings, words, and art details that compliment the piece.

MacNeil wanted a stone base that fit into the wooded setting of Washington Park (Plaza Park) in Portland,Oregon.  The site for the statue, I am told, overlooks the Columbia River to the East.  The Native American pair [a Chief of the Multnomah, and the Medicine Man (scout)] look into the river valley and spy the first White explorers coming to their region.  MacNeil portrays the Chief as tall, proud, and serene, while the Medicine Man is aroused, eager, and excited.  [See: ” If MacNeil’s “Chiefs” Could Speak, What would They tell us Today? ].   

MacNeil considered the cost of shipping a stone from New York.  He decided it would cost too much.  But he knew what he wanted in a stone.  So he made a plaster model (that is what sculptors do).  The model was 1/3 the size of the stone that he wanted.  Then he shipped it with the statue to Portland.  He sent instructions that a stone be found sufficient for a base. 

When the statue arrived in Portland, Hermon came and found that no one had looked for a stone as he requested.  So he took his 1/3 plaster model, put it in a boat and traveled up the Columbia River to a granite quarry about 20 miles up river.  Leaving his plaster model in the boat, he went to the quarry and found a piece of granite sufficient to shape for a natural looking base.   Finding a suitable stone, he had it transported to a barge and them brought up the river.  At the foot of the hill where the statue was to be placed, it took a four horse team to pull the stone up the hill (this was 1904 remember).

MacNeil must have sculpted the base on site.  It bears the name of the statue and the information on the donor.  When looking at a sculpture I seldom take time to consider the base, pedestal, or the setting in which the sculptor, artist, architect may have placed it. I hope MacNeil’s story adds to your curiosity and appreciation of his work.

This photo shows the upper base of the statue as part of the casting itself with the name sculpted into the base. This sits on the boulder that MacNeil crafted for the setting from Columbis River granite. (Postcard courtesy of Gibson Shell, KC MO)


 

 

There is another “Chief of the Multnomah.”

Today I received four unsolicited photos in my website email.  Three are posted below. The only message was the words, “I need help with this.”

I responded with “What help do you need with this?”

“A Chief of the Multnomah” is silent, but If he could only speak and share his observations of 150 years with the White Man.

The one word answer came back, “Valuation.”

So, I asked for permission to post the photos on this website. I added that the photos: 

“are excellent examples of public works of HA MacNeil that are not publicized in the art world. I was not aware of this public sculpture until your inquiry.”

My responses included:

1. An explanation that I am neither an art appraiser nor an art dealer.  I also expressed curiosity as to where the statue was located in such a park-like setting.

2. I identified myself as the webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com. I  stated that I build and maintain this website to gather information on the sculpture and life of Hermon A. MacNeil.  I stated that it has attracted people like the inquirer who wanted more information.

3. So I offered the following information: I recognize the piece in the photographs as “A Chief of the Multnomah.”  The  photo of MacNeil’s signature is very helpful. (See below). The ‘H.A. MacNeil, SC’ was his typical marking.  “SC” was his abbreviation for ‘sculptor.’  The ’04’ would indicate a completion date of ‘1904’ for the sculpture. The 4/9 would suggest this is the 4th casting of 9 castings of this piece.  There is probably a marking of RBW or “Roman Bronze Works” somewhere on the sculpture also. They were the foundry that MacNeil (and dozens of other American sculptors) used most extensively.

The signature reds: "H.A MacNeil, SC. 04" and "4/9"

4. I passed along information of a recent estate auction in Queens, NY  a where a “Chief of the Multnomah” statue was sold.  While I do not have documentation, I remembered reading a sale price somewhere in the $35,000 range. I suggested that this other piece might be one the ‘nine’ cast with this 4th-of-9 castings. See section 7 below and the links there for a bit more on that Michael Halberian Estate Sale.

5. I told how MacNeil later combined ‘Chief Multnomah  with a smaller accompanying figure of a native medicine man standing by the chief. That larger sculpture he called, “The Coming of the White Man.”  It stands in Portland, Oregon in Washington Park. See my posting at:
https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/05/17/portland-coming-of-the-white-man/  

6. I also told how the original plaster sculpture model of the “Coming of the White Man” was given by MacNeil to the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens, NYC, which is just up the street from the location of MacNeil’s studio and home (now destroyed). Here is more of the story on that:
https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/2010/09/15/macneil-sculpture-at-poppenhusen-institute/  

"A Chief of the Multnomah" looks over the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

7. I then offered more about that recent estate auction featuring “A Chief of the Multnomah” (which is the right-hand half of the “Coming of the White Man” 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. (Some stories say he had is cast from the plaster original model.)

At that point I still had no idea where the statue was located.

Neither do you until next posting.

AND THAT IS THE BEST PART OF THE STORY. 

STAY TUNED!

Categories : Location, Sculptures, Statue
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The Poppenhusen Institute (just blocks from the site of MacNeil’s Studio and home) in College Point, Queens, NYC has made an urgent Appeal for $3000.  The money will secure the shipment and handling of several MacNeil Statues being donated to the Institute.

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)

An Appeal

The Landmark Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens has been presented with the opportunity to obtain a number of statues by Hermon Atkins Mac Neil. We are anxious to accept this offer since Mac Neil was the head of the art department at the Institute for many years and also served as its president. He also lived in this community of more than 40 years.

The cost of packing, and transporting these sculptures is $3,000. Won’t you consider contributing to this cause. You can learn more about the Institute, visit our website at www.poppenhuseninstitute.org.

We are a tax exempt (501C3), therefore all donations are tax deductible according to the N.Y.S. Tax Deduction Law.

Checks can be sent to: Poppenhusen Institute, P.O. Box 91, College Point, NY 11356

Thank you for your anticipated support.

Susan Brustmann

Bob Walker (illustrator, sculptor, and long time College Point resident), has informed us just yesterday of these needs and developments.  He also sent the wonderful detail photo of “The Coming of the White Man” shown above. This plaster model is MacNeil’s original sculpture from which the Portland bronze grouping was cast by Bureau Brothers foundry of Los Angeles.  This original work is on display in the auditorium of the Institute. Bob has also told us that:

These plaster works will be joined by other pieces by MacNeil being donated to become in the future, a substantial MacNeil collection to be exhibited at Poppenhusen.

The Poppenhusen Institute built in 1868 by Conrad Poppenhusen was established to be a learning institute open to all people providing the opportunity to improve their lives by offering adult education and the first free kindergarten in the USA in 1870. It continues to serve the community by offering Theater groups, Music and Art programs, Lectures, Historic exhibits and creative workshops for children.

Susan Brustmann and her dedicated staff have done an amazing job of keeping the Institute together with creativity and hard work.

This request for funds is a first step in expanding the MacNeil Collection of the Institute.  Thanks to the Poppenhusen Institute, its donors, and the people of College Point, Queens, the MacNeil Collection there can be expanded.

MacNeil Park was dedicated by Mayor Lindsey in 1967. That act permanently placed the name of Hermon A. MacNeil” in the community he and Carol loved, and where their home and studio stood for 50 years.

Bob Walker has lived in College Point for 46 years just a few blocks from the site of the MacNeil studio and home. Bob also gives us the ultimate web-surfer compliment, “I have really enjoyed your website as I am a fan of MacNeil’s work and I’m grateful to find a site dedicated to his sculpture.” (Thanks Bob for your ongoing contribution here as well. – webmaster Dan)

PLEASE HELP these MacNeil sculptures to come home to College Point. Send your check today to: Poppenhusen Institute, P.O. Box 91, College Point, NY 11356

Hermon served as president of the Poppenhusen Institute board and donated the his original plaster model. Click in this link for a stunning photo and the Poppenhusen story — “The Coming of the White Man” .

A previous post here tells the whole story.  CLICK HERE.

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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.

 

 

"The Coming of the White Man" ~ MacNeil posed Black Pipe, the Sioux Warrior in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show that he befriended after the 1893 Chicago Fair. (Antique Postcard courtesy of Gil Shell)

For our

Second MacNeil Postcard

we have selected  a re-run of this very old

color rendered photograph of the

“Coming of the White Man.”

Photo file courtesy of Gil Shell

This monument in Portland has a twin on the east coast in NYC that is in the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens, NYC.

This second statue is just down the street from Hermon A. MacNeil Park and the site of his old home and studio in Queens.  The sculpture was donated by Mr. MacNeil to this Cultural Center in his community.  It occupies an honored place in the stage-right corner of the auditorium.

See that twin photo here


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