WELCOME to the “Hermon A. MacNeil” — Virtual Gallery & Museum !

~ 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!

DO YOU walk by MacNeil Statues and NOT KNOW IT ???

Archive for “Sun Vow”

Hermon MacNeil often made Christmas Cards that  featured his own drawings and studio images.

MacNeil Christmas card from 1922.

Here’s a Card from 1922  ==>>

This pencil sketch proclaiming “Merry Christmas 1922” appears reminiscent of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”

In that composition, a Native Chief, possibly Sioux, coaches a young warrior through a rite of passage — shooting an arrow into the of the sun.

In MacNeil’s 1922 Christmas drawing, a similar pair of figures wave a banner of seasons greetings.  Their presence seems a reprise of the Sun Vow sculpture.

While that was over a century ago, here’s what we can know  today:

  • We know being an artist, MacNeil often carried and kept sketchbooks. 
  • We know he would sit in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his sketchbook.
  • We know he sketched D. L Moody at an interdenominational Sunday Worship in Wild Bill’s Arena (since no Sunday shows were allowed and Moody rented the venue)
  • We know he traveled, sketched and sculpted on his trip to the Southwest territories in 1895 (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado). 
  • We know he formed clay and plaster images there; and he shipped many back to Chicago.
  • We know that his memory of Native images dominated his sculptures for the next ten years.

I suspect that the idea for this card sprang up from the artist’s visual memory, perhaps, revived from an old sketchbook.  A dusty record of images that he first saw three decades earlier at the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Here’s More from this website:

“Native American Themes: His first introduction to native subjects came through Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. During the 1893 Worlds Fair, Buffalo Bill’s troupe performed in a carnival setting outside the main entrance. Fascinated, MacNeil’s artist-eye and imagination took every opportunity to see the show and sketch the ceremonies and rituals of Indian life — MacNeil often carried a sketch book. He latter befriended Black Pipe, a Sioux warrior from the show, who he found down-and-out on the Chicago streets after the carnival midways of the Fair had  closed.  MacNeil invited Black Pipe to model for him and assist in studio labors, which he did for over a year.  Inspired by these native subjects and encouraged by Edward Everett Ayers, MacNeil found a respect for this vanishing Native culture and made subsequent trips to the southwest.  When the Marquette Building was constructed, MacNeil was awarded a commission to complete Four Bas Relief Panels  of over the main entrance.  His work depicts four scenes from Marquette’s trip through the Great Lakes region.”

“In the summer of 1895, along with Hamlin Garland (a writer) and C. F. Browne (a painter), he traveled to the four-corners territories (now, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah) seeing American Indians (Navajo, and Moqui — now Hopi) in their changing cultural element on various reservations.  While there, he was asked to sculpt, out of available materials, a likeness of Chief Manuelito. The Navajo warrior had died in despair after being imprisoned for four years as a renegade by the U. S. Government (Col. Kit Carson) twenty-five years earlier.  Manuelito’s likeness (click here), made of available materials, brought tears to his widow’s eyes, and remains an object of cultural pride in Gallup, New Mexico to this day.” SOURCE: Click HERE

I had the privilege of visiting the MAM site this week and will post a larger story soon. For now, here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”.

 In August, news arrived from Monclair, NJ, expressing community concern about the 117 year-old “Sun Vow” at Monclair Art Museum’ being relocated (without a specific plan for its future).

https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/?s=montclair

The statue was a gift of the co-founder, William T. Evans.  It has been welcoming patrons to the front door for over a century after William Evans (the donor and co-founder) commissioned it in 1903, and placed it there in 1914. 

Son Vow – Opinion ‘Respecting ‘The Sun Vow’ Regarding the Montclair Art Museum’s landscape re development proposal for the Planning Board Meeting Monday August 26 at 7:30 PM

“The relocating of this “Sun Vow” appears to be on hold for the present as the Montclair Museum continues to assess their future expansion and update plans.”

~ Dan Leininger ~

Related posts:

  1. Son Vow – Opinion ‘Respecting ‘The Sun Vow’ Regarding the Montclair Art Museum’s landscape re development proposal for the Planning Board Meeting Monday August 26 at 7:30 PM Here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” with yours…
  2. “Sun Vow” – MacNeil’s most famous piece ` ` The Sun Vow is certainly Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s…
  3. Searching for Uncle Hermon in Chicago ~ “The Sun Vow” (cont.) On a cold December day we took the CTA Blue…
  4. Searching for Uncle Hermon in Chicago ~ Part 2 ~ “Vow of Vengeance” My recent post about our December 3rd journey on the…
  5. “Sun Vow” Video Starts MacNeil Month 2015 Here at the HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com website we celebrate every February as…

MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” is “Still There”

in NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1919.

The “Sun Vow” became a theme here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com on several occasions. 

In November, I received an email and Photos from my daughter and grandson as they visited New York City.

Rachel and Owen Schweers visiting “The Sun Vow” in NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York City ~~ Metropolitan Museum of Art   My daughter and grandson texted the following:

“Hey Grampa, Look what we found!”

Owen Schweers at Hermon MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”.

Here’s some 2019 Photos of the MMA with Rachel and Owen Schweers on a New York City excursion in November.

Here is the Museum’s own description of this MacNeil piece:

“By the 1890s, sculptural representations of Native American and Western themes had become extremely popular. While living in Chicago in the early 1890s, MacNeil had learned of a rite of passage that captured his imagination: before a boy on the threshold of manhood could be accepted as a warrior, he was required to shoot an arrow directly into the sun. If the chieftain judging the boy’s prowess was so blinded by the sun’s rays that he could not follow the flight of the arrow, it was said to have gone “out of sight,” and the youth had passed the test. MacNeil portrayed the dramatic moment following the arrow’s release, heightening both the visual impact of the composition and the sense of narrative suspense.”

The Sun Vow

Working Title/Artist: The Sun Vow
Department: Am. Paintings / Sculpture
Culture/Period/Location:
HB/TOA Date Code:
Working Date: 1919
scanned for collections

Artist: Hermon Atkins MacNeil (American, Everett, Massachusetts 1866–1947 Queens, New York).  Date: 1899, cast 1919.  Culture: American.  Medium: Bronze.  Dimensions: 72 x 32 1/2 x 54 in. (182.9 x 82.6 x 137.2 cm).  Classification: Sculpture

Native Perspective:  from MMA.  Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Sun Vow

Hermon Atkins MacNeil (American, 1866–1947). The Sun Vow, 1899, cast 1919. Bronze, 72 x 32 1/2 x 54 in. (182.9 x 82.6 x 137.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.126). On view in gallery 700.

How will MacNeil’s story end? The figures are suspended, held captive by a vow that the artist later admitted he perhaps made up. This representation of the futility of Indian action fosters a belief in their aimlessness. Where will the arrow land? It cannot. Ineffective and undirected, it must disappear. This reinforces a limited vision of Native success in which the youth, the next generation, must move beyond the blinded elder. In a celebration of naivety, the child smiles slightly at the release of the powerless arrow, contributing to the acknowledgment of landless future generations—of Natives forcibly separated from their territories, and from themselves. This depiction participates in a ritual of blindness to a civilizing violence understood as necessary.

Jackson Polys (Tlingit)

Credit: Met Museum of Art; NYC: https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/the-american-wing/native-perspectives ]

We observe each February as MacNeil Month here on HAM.

“They’re Still There!” celebrates several re-visits and discoveries of MacNeil works made in 2019.

Why do this in February?  Two reasons:

  1. February 27 is the anniversary of the birth of Hermon A. MacNeil, born in 1866, of one-hundred and fifty-four years ago. Hermon is the patron-sculptor whose work and life are celebrated at this website – HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.
  2. February 29 is the Anniversary of the birth of Thomas (Tom) Henry McNeil (my grandfather) born in 1860, one-hundred and sixty years ago. Tom told his daughters to address “Hermon” as “Uncle Hermon.”  “Uncle” was the title of respect bestowed on their first-cousin-twice-removed.

MacNeil of Barra Tartan (Modern)

“They’re Still There!”

That’s the 2020 theme for the tenth year of MacNeil Month. 

We observe each February as MacNeil Month here on HAM.

“They’re Still There!” celebrates several re-visits and discoveries of MacNeil works made in 2019. This years featured visits include:

  1. “The Sun Vow” in New York City and Monmouth, New Jersey. 
  2. “William McKinley” statue in Columbus, Ohio.
  3. Presidents Day – Lincoln and Washington
  4. The Patten Gym at Northwestern University ~ “Intellectual Development” and “Emotional Development”
  5. “The Soldiers and Sailors Monument” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Why do this in February?  Two reasons:

  1. February 27 is the anniversary of the birth of Hermon A. MacNeil, born in 1866, of one-hundred and fifty-four years ago. Hermon is the patron-sculptor whose work and life are celebrated at this website – HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.
  2. February 29 is the Anniversary of the birth of Thomas (Tom) Henry McNeil (my grandfather) born in 1860, one-hundred and sixty years ago. Tom told his daughters to address “Hermon” as “Uncle Hermon.”  “Uncle” was the title of respect bestowed on their first-cousin-twice-removed.

I had the privilege of visiting the MAM site this week and will post a  larger story soon.  For now, here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”.

Here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” with yours truly camera in hand.

I had the privilege of visiting the MAM site this week and will post a  larger story soon.  For now, here’s an editorial by Frank Gerard Godlewski, Historian & NY Armory Arts Week Curator

It demonstrates a strong strain of public opinion in Montclair, NJ, concerning the “Sun Vow” a gift of Wm T. Evans. Montclair citizens have viewed and driven by this MacNeil original for over 100 years. What follows below is a re-posting of a Patch Montclair facebook page: ( https://patch.com/new-jersey/montclair/respecting-sun-vow )

Montclair Op-Ed: ‘Respecting The Sun Vow’

Regarding the Montclair Art Museum’s landscape re development proposal for the Planning Board Meeting Monday August 26 at 7:30 PM

By Frank Gerard Godlewski | | Updated

This post was contributed by a community member.
 
Montclair Op-Ed: Respecting The Sun Vow
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947), The Sun Vow, 1899 (cast 1902), Bronze, 68 x 45 x 29 in., Gift of William T. Evans, 1913
MONTCLAIR, NJ — The following article comes courtesy of a Montclair Patch community member. Learn more about posting announcements or events to your local Patch site.The Montclair Art Museum is a cultural landscape masterpiece conceived by the visionary founding planners of our community. Today, it is an important cultural focal point and should continue to thrive and develop. It would be “bad grammer” however, within it’s dialogue with the community, for the Museum to erase our culteral/artistic legasy and its symols from our collective memory’s landscape..The Museum’s re development proposal calls for the removal of the “Sun Vow” statue which is one of the earliest art pieces collected by William T. Evans, the museum’s founder (1909). The statute, placed on its erratic naturalistic rock, occupies a prominent location in the historic landscape as does the Lebanese Cedar tree that was cultivated and planted by the local landscape design visionary Howard Van Vleck. The plan proposes to remove the existing tree and historic sculpture to create a reflecting pond and a new commissioned sculpture.The founders of the museum inteded to preserve our natural beauty and our cultural heritage. The Sun Vow statue is a symbol from our cultural past. Montclair, once the home of the Lenne Lenape has lost most of its native american symbols, except perhaps or the names like Watchung and Yanticaw. Dianne Lewis, NY architect stated at her Montclair Art Museum presentation “Why Montclair is Montclair” that “Montclair is a mystical visionary landscape that preserves the ghosts of the Native Americans. It has a tragic dimension. Montclair is not an ordinary suburban condition, it is like Fiesole in Tuscany and a becon of light seen from the distance.”The intention of Mr. Evans was to place the Sun Vow piece infront of the building so that it could be enjoyed by passers by from the street as well as the grounds. Why change that?

 
Museum’s founders were components of the Municipal Arts Commission who intended to preserve the natural beauty of Montclair with the creation of the first 1906 Master Plan.A 1902 Montclair Times Article about the Sun Vow statue states:”Object of the municipal art commission. The objective of this commission shall be to promote in all practical ways the beautifying of Montclair, to preserve the distinctive charm of the country town, and to exert influence to the end that the principle of local fitness shall be served in public and private improvements, to consider the probable future development of Montclair, and to plan for meeting it’s needs. To influence a just appreciation of the value of art in daily life and to encourage and promote the public and private use and patronage of good art in Montclair. Montclair is fortunate in having one of the notable groups of recent statuary permanently placed where our people may enjoy it. Mr. William T Evans who has brought to Montclair his choice collection of works of painters, has just placed upon his grounds the bronze group by H. A. McNeil, which received the highest award of the gold medal at Buffalo, and a silver medal at the Paris exposition. The group represents (an Indian) a native American boy taking the sun test, which is to decide whether he shall be classed with them the men of the tribe or shall go back to play with the children.… Mr. Evans, appropriate use of a great bolder of the massive granitoid gneiss of our New Jersey Highlands, as a pedestal for the group makes it easy to imagine the test on a rugged hilltop in the blazing glare of the midday sun. … The bolder was found by Mr. James Owen at Singac. It weighs 12 tons and was brought to Montclair upon a truck drawn by 12 horses.”The removal of the “Sun Vow” statue, a gift to the community from the museum’s founder as well as the proposed changes to the front yard of the museum subtract from our cultural patrimony. With the current local trends of re development, our collective memory of the township and its original beauty is disappearing. All you have to do is look down Bloomfield Avenue to see these aesthetic changes.The front yard of the Museum is a very important part of our cultural legacy. It is an icon ingrained in our community’s collective memory. Each element in front of the facade has a significance. The museum’s founders intentions and the valuable historic landscape should be respected and remain as a learning tool of our original cultural legacy to teach to the new generations to come.Frank Gerard Godlewski, Historian & NY Armory Arts Week CuratorDon’t forget to visit the Patch Montclair Facebook page. Send local news tips and correction requests to eric.kiefer@patch.com

A grounds renovation at the Montclair Art Museum could result in the removal of the bronze Sun Vow which has been at the entrance since 1914. Plans include a reflecting pond with a newly-commissioned sculpture.
Credit: DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI/STAFF [Source: Montclair Local News 2019/7/03 ]

The web site has received information that  MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” may lose its place of prominence at the entry circle of the Montclair Art Museum (NJ).  The statue was a gift of the co-founder, William T. Evans.  It has been welcoming patrons to the front door for over a century after William Evans (the donor and co-founder) commissioned it in 1903, and placed it there in 1914.  

The Monclair Local contains an article by Jaimie Julia Winters titled, Sculpture Removal, Tree Loss Concerns Raised with Outdoor Expansion”

Winters states:

Plans to upgrade the grounds of the Montclair Art Museum have been met with criticism from the community and the township’s historic preservation consultant over alterations to the “cultural landscape,” tree removals and the relocation of the bronze statue by Hermon Atkins MacNeil located at the entrance since the museum opened in 1914.

The New Plan– [SOURCE: https://www.montclairlocal.news/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Screen-Shot-2019-06-28-at-1.03.25-PM-1.png/

The architectural rendering above shows the new plan. The article in the Montclair Local offers a description:

A new reflecting pond is planned for the grassy area in front of the museum on S. Mountain Avenue. Plans also include removing the Sun Vow sculpture and place a new, yet-to-be-commissioned piece of art in the pond. The cypress tree located in the front, reportedly planted by Van Vleck, will also be removed.

The circular driveway connecting the parking lot to the turn-around area will be repaved with granite blocks. Handicapped parking spaces along the driveway will also be reconfigured.

(Architect Paul) Sionas told the Historic Preservation Commission that original plans for the museum called for a reflecting pool and referred to a rendering dating back to 1915 of the museum front with people in top hats and with the statue in the middle of a reflecting pool.

The website has been contacted by “a group of concerned Montclair residents who want the sculpture to remain in its original location.”

Kathleen Bennett, chair of the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission, stated:
I am writing to you concerning the copy the Montclair Art Museum (NJ) of the “Sun Vow” which was given to the Montclair Art Museum when it opened in 1914. The donor was Mr. William T. Evans, who (we are told) commissioned the first copy for the front lawn of his mansion in Montclair in 1903. He gifted it to the Montclair Museum where it held pride-of-place until now.  The board of the museum now want to move the sculpture to another location, as yet unknown, and replace it with a “contemporary” sculpture. We are a group of concerned Montclair residents who want the sculpture to remain in its original location. 

“We feel that to move the sculpture from the front of the museum completely negates the original donor’s intentions.”

William Evans donated the Sun Vow bronze statue, which sits on a rock outside the main entrance of MAM. Bronze statues are typically duplicated in full-size. Famous works such as the Sun Vow have been reproduced in both half size and even quarter size replicas.  A half-size Sun Vow (seen below) exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (cast in 1919).  The original full-size “Sun Vow” graces the Chicago Institute of Art (cast in 1901).  The first-copy of the original may be on the move at  MAM.

"The Sun Vow" by H A MacNeil

The “Sun Vow” by H. A. MacNeil graces the courtyard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This copy was cast in half-size later in 1919.

“Sun Vow” by Hermon MacNeil at the Art Institute of Chicago cast in 1901. [Photo by Dan Leininger, webmaster, www.HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com ]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The MAM First copy of the “Sun Vow” is older than any other except the Art Institute of Chicago.  It is a historic piece in the world of art and the history of Montclair Art Museum (MAM)

Note BELOW the antique book plate put out be The Montclair Art Association: (date unknown).

P.S.
Kathleen Bennett praise this website by saying:   “Your website is extremely informative about Hermon Atkins MacNeil and I hope you will add Montclair’s “Sun Vow” to the site.”
Thanks Kathleen.
Here is Part One.
More to come … Stay tuned to https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com
 
Daniel Neil Leininger
webmaster
 

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
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.           WATCH US GROW

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the work from all angles, including setting.
2. Take close up photos of details that you like
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of you & others beside the work.
5. Tell your story of adventure. It adds personal interest.
6. Send photos to ~ Webmaster at: HAMacNeil@gmail.com