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 “Sun Vow”

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
 

Rarest of the Rare!   A very rare Silver – Society of Medalists #3 – by ‘H. A. MacNeil’ (in lower right).

It is “Silver.”

Only twenty-five were minted in 1931.

In the summer of 1895, Hermon MacNeil traveled to the Southwest.  With Hamlin Garland and Charles Francis Browne, they journey by railroad to the four-corners region of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

With Garland as guide the sculptor and the artist witnessed Native American culture first hand. They visited the Hopi and Navajo reservations immersed in Native American life. They saw the “Prayer for Rain” ~ the Snake Dance ceremony depicted here on the SOM #3.

The “Prayer for Rain” depicts the Moqui (Hopi) runner carrying the snakes to the river to activate the rain cycle of nature. [SOM #3 Reverse]

This Society of Medalists Issue #3, in Silver, by Hermon MacNeil is rare.  This silver “Beauty” is the only one I have seen in my ten years of “Searching for Uncle Hermon” and producing this website.

ONLY 25 were made in SILVER (99.9%).

The Silver issue of MacNeil’s medallion is among the rarest of the rare.  

Over sixty-times that number  were struck in  Bronze  (1,713).  Now nearly eight decades later, those are more common, but also rare and collectible.   [See pictured below — at the end of this article — this author’s collection of the varied Bronze patinas of S.O.M #3.]

The next year (1932), Frederick MacMonnies sculpted a medallion celebrating Charles A. Lindbergh historic flight.  250 of those medallions were struck in Silver.  That makes the Lindbergh issue ten times more common than MacNeil’s “Hopi”.  (10 X 25) — 

Silver minting of most SOM Issues quantities usually ranged from 50 to 125.  Most often 100 silver specimens were struck.  SO the 25 of the MACNEIL’S “Prayer for Rain” creations are twice as rare and up to 10 times as rare as other SOM Issues.

This, all Society of Medalists (SOM) in Silver can be considered rare.  However, this MacNeil piece is definitely “THE RAREST OF THE RARE!”

This images that MacNeil’s placed of the Obverse and Reverse had been burned in his visual memory in 1895.  They lived in his artist’s awareness for decades. It is no stretch to say that they inspired numerous sculptures and pieces that came out of his studio. 

“The Moqui Runner,” “The Primitive Chant,” were “living” in his mind when he first saw these scenes. Then, three decades later, he chose them for his own theme and design.  Thus, the 1931 Society of Medalists Issue #3 became his offering to this young series by American Sculptors.

The following are just a few of the sculptures and monuments, which re-capture some of the Native American culture and history first observed in this 1895 trip to the Hopi (Moqui) people.

By comparison, the SOM’s issued from:

  • 1930 to 1944. ~ struck 2X to 5X this quantity of SILVER medallions. 
  • 1945 to 1950. ~ those SOM silver issues were minted in quantities of 50 to 60.
  • 1950 to 1972. ~ NO silver medallions were struck. 
  • 1973 to 1979. ~ Silver medallions ranged from 140-200. 
  • No Silver coins were struck from 1980-1995
  • In 1995 the “Society of Medalists Series” closed production.

In 1931 design the the Society of Medalist medal #3, Hermon MacNeil chose to immortalize his memory of these images from 1895 in rare silver — 99.9% fine silver!

A Rare Beauty Indeed.   Hi Ho, Silver !

MacNeil Display MacNeil Medallion (front and reverse) in Center. Framed by 10 SOM #3 (Obverse & reverse) of varied patinas. SOURCE: Collection of Webmaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:

Information taken from the six page list entitled: Medal Collectors of America; Checklist of “The Society of Medalists” Issues 1930 – Date. Originally written by D. Wayne Johnson with rights retained by him; used with permission.

His listing includes the original pricing supplied by Paul Bosco in the inaugural issue of the MCA’s publication “The Medal Cabinet” (Summer 2000) for the silver issues and Paul’s update values for the bronze pieces that appeared in the Spring/Summer 2002 edition of “The MCA Advisory.”

TODAY marks the  153rd anniversary of the birth

of Hermon Atkins MacNeil

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

AND THE 10th Year of my Search for “Uncle Hermon”
for whom this website is dedicated.

For a brief summary of his life and work click here for => A Brief Bio of Hermon Atkins MacNeil 

This website also is inspired by the memory of my mother, Ollie McNeil Leininger.

I remember my mother telling me about her “Uncle Hermon.” 

She handed me some Liberty Standing Quarters”  from her grocery change and showed me the little “M” at the left foot of Lady Liberty.

She showed me “The Sun Vow” statue in the Saint Louis Art Museum.  We also visited The Pony Express” statue in St. Joseph, Missouri.  I grew up with a sense of pride and quiet fascination with mom’s “Uncle Hermon” 

I never met “Uncle Hermon”

Hermon A. MacNeil died on October 2, 1947 at the age of 81 years, 7 months, and 8 days.  On the day that he died I was just two years-old.

To read the whole article, Click and open in a separate window

My own Mother died years later in the winter of 1985. At that time, I wrote:

With her passing a warm, safe feeling faded from my world. I was the “baby” of her six children. Her death ushered in feelings of being a midlife orphan who would soon turn forty. Darkness seemed to creep in from the far corners of my life. A strange fearful child inside of me said, “Who will take care of me now?”

 

As the years passed, I would think of mom, and occasionally, of her “Uncle Hermon.”

By the turn of the 2K millennium, computers and the internet had become household items.  This allowed people to hunt, find, and save data.  I found fascinating stories about Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Virtually anything from anywhere could be researched. 

In 2010, I met Dan DeBlock. He is a retired Army Chaplain and Lutheran Minister who builds websites for churches.  It started as a hobby interest and became Leiturgia Communications, Inc. The Host and Tech Support for this website.

One day I asked Dan DeBlock, “Could a website be built as virtual gallery of the sculpture of Hermon Atkins MacNeil?”

Nine years and 170 stories later, “HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com” is the answer to my question and Dan’s hosting.

In that year (2010), I seriously began my “Searching for Uncle Hermon.”

That journey continues.  This is story # 171 – A Birthday Present for Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School.

 

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

Here at the HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com website we celebrate every February as

“MacNeil Month”

in honor of the birth of

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

February 27th, 1866. 

This is the first of several postings that will celebrate this theme.  Hermon’s older cousin, Tom Henry MacNeil (my grandfather), was born on February 29th, 1860.  So February is MacNeil Month in several ways.

Here is a recent video of the Sun Vow to start off our month of celebration:

[ CLICK HERE to SEE “SUN VOW” video ]

IMG_0676

IMG_0695

My recent post about our December 3rd journey on the CTA Blue Line train to the Chicago Loop and the Art Institute of Chicago ended with a discussion of “The Sun Vow” and my photo array taken in the Sculpture Court.  [Searching for Uncle Hermon in Chicago ~ “The Sun Vow” ]

Another MacNeil piece just steps away in the adjoining American Gallery provides a “preface” to the story of “The Sun Vow”.

Modeled in 1894 that earlier piece was called “Vow of Vengeance.” It shows one of MacNeil’s early studies in Native American depiction.  It followed his exposure to the Chicago World Fair, his fascination with sketching the Indians in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and his modeling work with Black Pipe. (Black Pipe was a young Sioux who worked in Hermon’s studio and modeled for several pieces during 1893-94.  He helped with physical labor in the studio as well.  CLICK for MORE on Black Pipe and “Primitive Chant”) 

IMG_0697

MacNeil’s early study “Vow of Vengeance” that evolved into “The Sun Vow”. Art Institute of Chicago. [ Photo Credit: Dan Leininger, 2014 ]

Several pieces dated 1894 seemed to be early prototypes for later larger works and castings.  The “Vow of Vengeance” appears to be one of the more prominent.  I know of no other copies elsewhere.

A blog about the Art Institute observes some mingling of the identity of the two pieces:

The Vow of Vengeance -1894
By Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
What’s in a name?
Well, somehow I noticed a discrepancy in the name..
The Art Institute website calls it – The Vow of Vengeance [1894]
But marker at the Art Institute has the name – The Sun Vow [Modeled-1898, Cast-1901]. http://theartinstituteofchicago.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html.

 The Two “Vows” Compared  IMG_0698

While the “Vow of Vengeance” and “The Sun Vow” contain similar elements, what they communicate seems quite different:

  1. TITLE: The two titles carry contrasting emotional messages. The first (Vow of Vengeance) conveys negative aggression and hostile feeling toward some enemy, while the second (Sun Vow) depicts a more positive rite of passage from boyhood to manhood within a setting of family and tribal affirmation.
  2. GROUPING: The boy and the Elder (Warrior, Chief) are grouped to convey different emotional tones in the two pieces.  In “Vengeance,” the chief wears his war bonnet on his head. He is dressed to present tribal authority to the enemy. His face seems harsh and his posture stiff.  The Boy strains his head high up into the air.  Their grouping seems tense. IMG_0678In “Sun Vow” the two figures are closer and seem to be “more one.” The Chief has removed his bonnet so as to lean into the boy’s line of sight. The boy is also more grace-full. He looks to the arrow and the sun without straining.  Both gaze in the seeming wonder and mystical pleasure of the physical rite. 

1894 ~ Prototype Year:

In addition to the “Vow of Vengeance” we have found evidence of another prototype from 1894.

A previous posting tells James Dixon’s story of a MacNeil piece acquired by his Great-great grandmother, Edna Lord.  The sculpture bears the title  “Primitive Music” on its base.  [ CLICK Here for more ]

Photos on that previous post suggest that Edna Lord’s  “Primitive Indian Music” was an early prototype of the “Primitive Chant” (which was much more polished and finely surfaced)

It is also based on “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave. MacNeil  first saw Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show and we know that he returned many times to study the Indians.   Like MacNeil, I have return to this story of “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave, numerous times, and perhaps, will return many more.  ~~  DNL

Hermon MacNeil ~ After the World’s Columbian Exposition

The period after the end of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair was a lean, even dry time, financially for Hermon MacNeil. We do know that he continued to maintain a studio, sculpt models, teach at the Art Institute of Chicago, and associate with art colleagues and benefactors there. Yet, it seems a productive time of transition, expression, and experimentation for the as the young sculptor.

Traveling to the Art Museum, we walked out of the underground on Dearborn Street just a block south of the Marquette Building which is home to Hermon MacNeil’s 1895 sculptures of 4 bronze relief panels [Cick Here]. This commission marked his recognition and selection for the award of the Rinehart Roman Scholarship.  This began 3 years in Rome and another in Paris for he and his young bride, Carol Brooks. The bronze reliefs stands today as an icon to Marquette and his life among the Native peoples. The building has been restored by the MacArthur Foundation and now houses their international headquarters.

Those works tell the story Father Marquette explorations to Native peoples of Illinois. MacNeil would return to Chicago and the Marquette themes three decades later as he sculpted the bronze grouping [CLICK HERE] of Pere Marquette, Louis Jolliete, and an Illinois Indian on Marshall Boulevard.  Commissioned by the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson  Monument Fund, this sculpture has faced the greenway of the boulevard for 88 years.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at hefoot of the Monument.

Our trip was a satisfying success as our daughter took our pictures at hefoot of the Monument.

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.

Webmaster: Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.
COME BACK & WATCH US GROW

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – 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