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 Washington Square

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
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

Hermon MacNeil was the first president of the Clan MacNeil Association of America.  This summer, the Galley will contain a feature article about him, written by Dan Leininger, webmaster of this website — HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.

"The Galley" Spring/Summer 2013; Clan MacNeil Association of America

“The Galley” Spring/Summer 2013; Official Publication of the Clan MacNeil Association of America

The previous posting of February 8, 2013, entitled, “MacNeil Kinsman ~ Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Robert Lister MacNeil,” tells part of the story of these two men.

Vicki Sanders Corporon, editor of the Galley, has accepted the article and accompanying photos that tell more of the story. She said in recent correspondence:

“Thanks for sending such excellent photos of Hermon’s sculptures. I know their inclusion, along with your article, will be the highlight of the upcoming issue! He really was one of America’s finest sculptors … how important is your mission to make sure he is fully appreciated!”

Sculpture photos of the Supreme Court (East Pediment); George Washington from the Washington Arch in NYC; Abraham Lincoln from University of Illinois; Ezra Cornell at Ithaca; Confederate Defenders Monument (1932) Charleston harbor, SC; and George Rogers Clark at Vincennes will illustrate the story.

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, the clan’s first president.

Stay tuned for more as the publication is released. 

The face of the General shows marble worn through 97 years of exposure and harsh cleaning.

The face of the General shows marble worn through 97 years of exposure and harsh cleaning.

On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington (Feb. 22, 1732), we visit Hermon MacNeil’s famous statue in Washington Square, NYC.  Photos here show it both today and in MacNeil’s original plaster model of 1915 from his College Point studio.  His model was located just this past year. (See photos below).

CLICK BELOW for The Washington Arch as New Yorkers and visitors stroll southward from Fifth Avenue into Washington Park.

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/37-arch/

CLICK BELOW for General George Washington ~ MacNeil’s patriot Commander of the Continental Army.

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/39-washington-3/

CLICK BELOW for President Washington ~ Alexander Stirling Calder’s rendition of the civilian “Mr. President”

http://forgotten-ny.com/2011/11/a-walk-on-waverly-place/38-washington-2/

BELOW is my photo of MacNeil’s original studio plaster model for the George Washington Statue.  It is about 3 1/2 feet tall. 

George Washington as Commander-in Chief by H.A. MacNeil

Original Plaster model for “George Washington as Commander-in Chief” by H.A. MacNeil

The actual statues on the Arch are 12 feet tall.  They were both carved by the Piccirilli Brothers.  To see a clay model for the piece CLICK BELOW  =>

http://www.lehman.edu/academics/arts-humanities/piccirilli/img44.php

The Picarrilli’s were a  famous family of stone-carvers and sculptors who made many of the great sculpture carvings of that period (early 20th century).

Lincoln Bible and king Bible as Barack Obama takes Oath (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com)

Lincoln Bible and king Bible as Barack Obama takes Oath (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com)

On this Presidential Inaugural Day, the 57th in our history, President Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of the Office of President of the United States.  He will place his hand on two Bibles.  One used by President Abraham Lincoln,  and a second belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whose birthday is also celebrated on this today.  This Inaugural Day comes fifty years after M. L. King spoke at the Civil Rights March at the Lincoln Memorial and 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. 

THEREFORE, in tribute to this historic day, we offer images of the three Presidents of the United States that Hermon Atkins MacNeil sculpted in his lifetime ~~ George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.

Washington and 'Valor' in profile

Washington and ‘Valor’ in profile

General George Washington with Flags (U.S. and POW/MIA) ~ Washington Arch Greenwich, NYC (Photo courtesy of: Gibson Shell - 2011)

A visit to Illinois last week included a stop at the Abe Lincoln bust at Spurlock Museum  at U of I.  The sculpture will no longer be viewable in-the-round after being returned to its permanent home in the sparklingly-restored Lincoln Hall on campus.

A visit to Illinois in 2011 included a stop at the Abe Lincoln bust at Spurlock Museum at U of I. The sculpture will no longer be viewable in-the-round after being returned to its permanent home in the sparklingly-restored Lincoln Hall on campus

MacNeil originally sculpted a standing model of the Illinois Lawyer that he later re-sculpted as a bust.  From that piece he had Roman Bronze Works make eight castings of his Lincoln Lawyer.  This one is at the University of Illinois and will be returned to the Lincoln Hall when renovation is completed.  (For more on Lincoln busts see below.)

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil's Lincoln standing.

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil’s Lincoln standing.

Hearmon A. MacNeil's "Lincoln Lawyer" at the University of Illinois

Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” at the University of Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKinley Statue in Columbus, Ohio.

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)

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)

MacNeil's McKinley at Ohio Statehouse plaza

MacNeil’s McKinley at Ohio Statehouse plaza

 

 

MORE on MacNEIL’s BUSTS of LINCOLN: Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings.  Public records of the four other “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear to be incomplete according to the following documentation by the Smithsonian Museum:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

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)

 

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
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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