A well crafted bronze placque spans the entrance of the London Guarantee Building at 360 North Michigan Avenue.  On the left there is a highly stylized Native American of some significant stature.  In the center: Fort Dearborn.  To the right, a boy-next-door in buckskin completes the composition.
The contrasting vision goes well beyond facial features.  The settler's weapons are specific:  two hand pistols, a rifle, and a powder horn.  The Indian holds a container of feathers, that I would assume, are arrows. And a shield.
Is this the work of two sculptors (neither credited) working in disparate styles?  Or one, making a cultural statement at the corner of Michigan and Wacker in 1922? (Click on Images to see more)




Hermon Atkins MacNeil died at his Long Island Studio on October 2, 1947.  Unable to transition from his Beaux Arts training to a more "modern" style, he had not had a major commission for nearly 15 years.  When he died, the contents of the studio was "hauled out to the dump" (where, much of the collection was salvaged by neighbor, illustrator John A. Coughlin who later donated it to the Smithsonian Institution.)  It hadn't always been that way.

In 1891, 25 year old MacNeil came West.  To Chicago.  Where he assisted Philip Martiny with sculpture at the Electricity Building at the World's Columbian Exposition.  And, where, on the Midway, he met Black Pipe, an Ogalla Sioux,  performing at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.  Native Americans and their culture became the inspiration for MacNeil's art for years to come.  By late 1895 he was on his way to Monument Valley  with Hamlin Garland and C.F. Browne -- after working with Edward Kemeys at the Marquette (and no doubt hearing stories of Kemeys Wyoming adventures some 20 years earlier). 
The travels West were just the beginning.  By 1896 he had married Carol Brooks (one of Lorado Taft's "White Rabbits  - and a sculptor in her own right") and had taken up residence at the American Academy in Rome.  He won the Prixe de Rome in 1899.  And entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1900.  By 1901 he and Carol (with their two children) had returned to America and established their studio on Long Island.  With an entire career before them.

An entire career before them.  National in scope.. Beaux Arts in inspiration.  MacNeil returned to Chicago in 1909, briefly,  for the Cook County Seal Commission.

But my favorite remains his work in 1895.  In Chicago.  Where inspiration, youth, opportunity, and a beautiful, capable wife converged with the past and the future -- at the Marquette Building.

The man front and center is Black Pipe.  Warrior of the Ogalla Sioux.  Memorialized at 140 South Dearborn Street. Bearing the coffin of Father Marquette.  See the entire collection of  Marquette photos at the CHICAGO LOOP.ORG