A Brief Bio – H. A. MacNeil
Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor, (February 27, 1866 – October 2, 1947) was most influential in winning worldwide recognition of the American Indian as a valid artistic focus in American and European Art. His statues depicting the Native American themes became an introduction for Americans and Europeans to a ‘truly American’ subject matter for the arts. His many later monument sculptures still grace public spaces in dozens of cities across the United States. (Hot-links on this website will take you there — virtually)
Early Life and Career: Born in Everett (Chelsea, Malden) Massachusetts on his parent’s farm, MacNeil received his formal training in the arts at the Normal Art School in Boston (now Mass Art) in 1886. Upon graduation in 1886 he moved to Cornell, New York where he became an instructor in industrial art and modeling at Cornell University from 1886 to 1888. Seeking continued education, he followed the path of many sculptors/artists of his day and left for study and experience in Europe. Settling in Paris, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Julien Academy as a pupil of Henri M. Chapu and Alexandre Falguière.
Chicago: In 1891, he was back in the United States working with Frederick MacMonnies assisting on the architectural sculptures for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. With Lorado Taft, sculpture director, he prepared preliminary sketches and was asked to craft several sculptures for the Electricity Building. Afterward, he settled in Chicago. He taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and opened a studio, shared with artist Charles F. Browne, where he continued developing his work depicting the American Indian.
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. 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 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.
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.
Marriage: On Christmas Day 1895, in Chicago, he married Carol Louise Brooks, also a sculptor (see their marriage record below). Earlier MacNeil was informed that he had won the Rinehart Roman Scholarship. Following their wedding, the pair left for Rome, passing three years there (1896-1899) and eventually spend a fourth year in Paris where their first son, Claude, was born. During those years they studied together under the same masters and shared the income of Hermon’s Rinehart scholarship. (Carol had also studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies).
Launched in April 2010, this Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor. Trained in the Beaux Arts School of Paris, he led a generation of American sculptors to capture many fading Native American images in the realism of this classic style. He designed and sculpted for World’s Fairs, public monuments (see links below), coins, and buildings across to country.
We, here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com, celebrate his work daily.
We have designated each February as “MacNeil Month” to honor his birth.
Enjoy over 100 stories of H. A. MacNeil’s work and life here, on-site, in your area, on vacation, wherever…
- — Google Maps show location of sculptures!
- — Click on list of “Public Sculptures of H.A.MacNeil” to see photos.
- — Study & Leave COMMENTS at the bottom of any Posting.
- — All in one cyber-space you can Celebrate a lifetime of art
A list of over forty web links to “Sculptures of Hermon Atkins MacNeil” can be found (to your right) or at http://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/.
- www.nygardgallery.com at:http://www.fada.com/browse_by_artist.html?gallery_no=26&artist=3522&bio=1
- Holden, Jean Stansbury (October 1907). “The Sculptors MacNeil“. The World’s Work: A History of Our TimeXIV: 9403–9419.
- Hermon Atkins MacNeil – Wikipedia.org
- Daniel Neil Leininger. This website: http://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/ ]