Jim Haas submitted a second MacNeil-related item with additional numismatic connections (including a catalogue of interest to numismatic bibliophiles). Thanks!
Needless to say, I especially enjoyed the article on the reopening of the Hispanic Society building. Of course, there's a MacNeil connection.
Hermon Atkins MacNeil was elected to a second term as president of the National Sculpture Society in January 1922. In that role it was his distinct pleasure a year later to write the catalogue introduction for the organization's first major event since Buffalo Fine Arts Exhibition held in 1916. In that introduction MacNeil said the Society's aim was to make the exhibition thoroughly national in scope bringing together the best work from all parts of the country as well as that of Americans living abroad.
Set to open in mid-April, the Exhibition of American Sculpture would be held in a number of locations situated between 155th and 156th Streets. Called the American Acropolis, the multi-block area was home to the Hispanic Museum, the American Numismatic Society, the American Geographical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Museum of the American Indian.
A year earlier, sculptor Adolph Weinman, designer of the 1916 dime, and others had tried to stage an exhibit on a lawn in Central Park, but protests were made and the effort went for naught. Aware of the Society's need, millionaire art patron Archer M. Huntington, president and founder of the Hispanic Society of America, offered the use of his property, the plaza and adjoining galleries at 155th Street. The only condition he made was that all sculpture selected for display should be the best that American artists could produce. The Society concurred, and happily accepted Huntington's offer. Seven months later, he married MacNeil's former student, Anna Vaughan Hyatt.
In addition to the outdoor displays of larger scale works, among them MacNeil's two-ton Into the Unknown and models of his pylons destined for his Soldiers and Sailors Memorial for Philadelphia, the exhibition included smaller sculptures, one of the galleries devoted exclusively to plaques and medals. In all about eight hundred works were displayed during the exhibition that opened on April 14th and continued until August 1st, giving ample time for the people of New York to visit at will, and as often as they might wish.
I am fortunate to have a copy of the 372-page exhibition catalogue and am attaching a number of photos of selected medals among them pieces by Anna Hyatt, James Earle Fraser, John Flanagan, Adolph A. Weinman, Baltimore's J. Maxwell Miller and College Point's Frederick E. Treibel (MacNeil's neighbor - they were not friends).
MacNeil displayed his Pan-American and Architectural League Medals along with the obverse and reverse of his Quarter. Beneath the photo of Into the Unknown was written "Figure for the Seal of the National Sculpture Society by Hermon MacNeil.
Following MacNeil's death in 1947, Into the Unknown was donated to Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina founded by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1931.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ANS OLD NEIGHBOR HISPANIC SOCIETY REOPENS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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