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 Portland

I never met Hermon MacNeil.

I never met my maternal grandfather, Tom Henry McNeil.  

ALL OF LIFE and our family histories are filled with people we HAVE NEVER MET.

In 2014 I wrote an article for the MacNeil Clan Magazine,

The Galley.

I include the the pages and the text of that article below in this post:

The photos can also be viewed in this previous post. 

Hermon Atkins MacNeil – American Sculptor – (1866-1947)

MacNeil Clan history, like all family history, is filled with people we have never met.  One MacNeil who has always fascinated me is Hermon Atkins MacNeil.  Researching “Uncle” Hermon has also led me to another amazing man, Robert Lister MacNeil. Both men were present when the Clan MacNeil Association was formed ninety-three years ago. 

MacNeil kinsman.

On May 26, 1921, the Clan MacNeil Association of America was organized in New York City.  Central to that moment were Robert Lister MacNeil, (The MacNeil of Barra – 45th Chief of the Clan), and Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a sculptor, who served as the clan’s first president.  At that time, Robert Lister was 32 years of age, a practicing architect in New York City, and a veteran of the First World War. He had succeeded to the chiefship of the Clan MacNeil just six years earlier.  His dreams of the Isle of Barra and restoring Kisimul Castle (as told in his book The Castle in the Sea) were but faint hopes that would await decades and the efforts of many MacNeils for their accomplishment.

Dan “Neil” Leininger in a MacNeil kilt at Kisimul Castle, Isle of Barra, Scotland 2014. WHAT A TOUR it was!!!

His other kinsman was Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Hermon was the older of the two, an accomplished sculptor, also practicing in New York City, he had already created a myriad of statues, sculptures, monuments, as well as, the U.S. Standing Liberty Quarter first minted in 1916.  Although these two MacNeils were 23 years apart in age, they were both trained in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, a school for architects and sculptors in the Classic Greco-Roman styles.  A lasting bond between them formed through their shared artistic talents, professional skills, and years of Clan MacNeil activity.

Hermon MacNeil designed a bronze plaque that was unveiled and dedicated on May 28, 1928 on the campus of Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, NC. The plaque commemorated the 1735 landing of Neil MacNeil of Jura, Scotland with 350 followers.  This group made up mostly of clan members landed at the Cape Fear Settlement in North Carolina. The plaque was placed on a red granite stone and marked another clan project shared by these two men.

In his later years, Robert Lister stated: “Hermon was an outstanding sculptor and one of my dearest friends all the rest of his life.”  In 1970, six years after publishing those words, Robert Lister MacNeil died at the age of 81.  Twenty-three years earlier (in 1947), Hermon Atkins MacNeil had died, also at the same age of 81.  All of the above was discovered as I “searched for Uncle Hermon.” I never met either of these two MacNeil men. The more I learn of them both, the more striking I find the parallels in their lives.

MacNeil roots. The third MacNeil man that I never met was my own grandfather, Tom Henry McNeil (1860-1932). Whenever my mother spoke of her father or of her “Uncle Hermon,” I would see a certain smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye.  Emotionally, recalling her McNeil memories seemed to take her to “a very pleasant place.” On the MacNeil family tree, her father and Hermon MacNeil were first cousins. But “Uncle Hermon” was what the whole family always called him and what he always considered himself to be. Though she did not share them often, my mother’s stories instilled in me a sense of “wonder” about these two “MacNeil” men. 

Genetically, my mother gave all of us six children her MacNeil biology, but when I first realized that my parents also gave me the middle name of “Neil,” I felt some extra portion of my Scottish ancestry. That feeling has only grown as I get older.  My grandfather McNeil died before I was born.  I was just two years old when Hermon MacNeil died.  Now as an old man myself this MacNeil heritage and my memories of the sparkle in mother’s eyes have expanded my interest in these three MacNeils, and in the many other MacNeils that I have yet to meet.

MacNeil pursuits. So I am pursuing my MacNeil Clan interests in several ways.  In 2010 I formally began searching for “Uncle Hermon” by building a “digital gallery” of the life and work as a sculptor. I built HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com, a website dedicated to making his sculpture and career available to the world. A web search of the name “Hermon MacNeil” will take you there.  His sculptures, statues, monuments are scattered from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon, and from New York City to Gallup, New Mexico.  Now this virtual gallery features over 500 photos and 125 stories of Hermon MacNeil’s life and work.  There you can see his statues of George Washington from Washington Arch, NYC; Ezra Cornell at Cornell University, William McKinley at Columbus, Ohio; Abraham Lincoln at Champaign, Illinois; Pony Express at St. Joseph, Missouri; Pere Marquette in Chicago; and monuments in Philadelphia, Charleston, Albany, and Flushing, and dozens of other cities.

In 2013 I became a member of the Clan MacNeil Association of America.  I did not know its existence until I saw the 1928 news story of the MacNeil plaque dedication in Red Springs.  For the last three yearsI have shared “MacNeil stories” at our annual family reunion of my siblings and our children and grand children.  In August 2013 I went to my first Highland Festival. My nephew in Colorado  told me about the attended the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Fest in Estes Park.  What a great celebration of Celtic pride and heritage.

Donna and I have booked our spots on the 2014 MacNeil Clan Tour of Scotland.  We reserved our passage before I received the Fall/Winter issue of The Galley with Rory MacNeil’s invitation to the World Gathering of the Clan MacNeil on the Isle of Barra from August 4-7, 2014.  We hope to meet some of you there this summer.

  1. I joined Clan MacNeil Association I have attended the 2013 Estes Park Highland Fest
  2. I have booked spots for Donna and I on the 2014 MacNeil Clan Tour of Scotland
  3. I continue to research HAM


PART ONE

The next several story-postings  on www.HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com will document my “Searching for Uncle Hermon” in Portland, Oregon.

The Astoria Column high over the city overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the Columbia River. Here Lewis and Clark reached the ocean in 1805 and wintered there. Donna and I visited here before driving on into Portland.

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Second Lieutenant William Clark. and Captain Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition exploring the Louisiana Purchase Territories. Their goal, in part, was to search the territory for a possible river passage to the Pacific. 

Wall mural of Lewis & Clark in a Portland hotel that houses Jakes Grill

Wall mural of Lewis and Clark Expedition in Jake’s Restaurant the In the lobby of the old Hotel Governor, Portland Oregon.

While they did not find a contiguous river route to the sea, they did reach the Pacific at what is now Astoria, Oregon.

On November 20, 1805 they encounter the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River.

A monument there, the Astoria Column, sits atop the high bluff overlooking the Columbia River as it flows into the Pacific Ocean.  

Donna and I came to Portland for four days to observe and document the “Coming of The White Man.” This 1904 sculpture by “Uncle Hermon” marks the westward most reach of his public monuments. 

—  The year 1904 marked the Centennial of the Lewis and Clark adventure. MacNeil’s opportunity to place a monument here in Portland came at the invitation of a prominent Portland Family, the David P. Thompson family.

At last we had arrived.

H. A. MacNeil’s Tribute to Portland, the indigenous Multnomah tribe, and the Centenary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was in hiking distance.

After writing about it for 10 years, “The Coming of The White Man” statue was on the agenda for the next morning!

As it unfolded, the day was beautiful and pictures stunning.
Webmaster Dan has arrived at another MacNeil Sculpture. 

Sacajawea appears in Jake’s Grill murals.

MORE TO COME – stay tuned … 

Webmaster Dan has come to the “The Coming of The White Man” statue after writing for 10 years about it on this site. The day was beautiful and pictures stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories : Location
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May 8th I will be able to complete a “bucket list” check-off by visiting the “Coming of the White Man”.

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 Columbia River granite.

Post Card of 1905 Statue before the oak branch was broken. MacNeil selected the stone for the base and supervised its delivery from the quarry to the hill where it was hauled up by a four horse team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to take my own photos of the Statue in its Washington Park setting.  I have told MacNeil’s stories of this piece, but have never had the pleasure of seeing it myself and spending time there. 

Other posts related to the “The Coming of the White Man”  [Click HERE]

More to come after May 8th.

 

photo 1

Dan Leininger holds the “Galley” for Summer 2014 with MacNeil’s “Pony Express” statue on the cover and an 8 page feature story inside.

“Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil”

The current issue of the Clan MacNeil Association of America magazine has a feature story on Hermon Atkins MacNeil by webmaster, Dan Leininger

The Galley edited by Vicki Sanders Corporon titles Dan’s story as “Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil.” The feature and photos fill 8 pages in the “Galley” issue for Spring/Summer 2014.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.  Page 19 of the “Galley” (This Photo from Cornell University is Courtesy of Chris Carlsen).

 

 

Page 20 of  “Galley” for Summer 2014

Page 20 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

The featured photos include the East Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (with a detail close-up of Moses, Confucius, and Salon); The George Rogers Clark monument in Vincennes, IN at the site of his victory over the British in 1779; Confederate Defenders of Charleston, SC; the Young Lawyer Abraham Lincoln in Champaign, IL; General George Washington on the Washington Arch, NYC, NY. Also in this article are photos of the grouping Coming of the White Man in Portland, OR; The WWI Angel of Peace Monument in Flushing NY; and a bust of Dwight L. Moody (who MacNeil sketched during the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.

photo 2

Page 18 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

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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1. Take digital photos of the entire work from several angles, including the surroundings.
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