New York, Park Avenue
4 December 1996
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947)
'The Returning of the Snakes - The Moqui Prayer for Rain', A Bronze Group
inscribed 'THE RETURNING OF THE SNAKES', 'THE MOQUI PRAYER.FOR.RAIN', 'H.A. MACNEIL Sc.' and 'Fond.Nelli.Roma.'
22½in. (57.2cm.) high, reddish greenish brown patina
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
L. Taft, The History of American Sculpture, New York, 1903, pp. 439-440
P. Broder, Bronzes of the American West, New York, 1974, p. 88
After a traditional art school training and apprenticeship in Paris (in the ateliers of Chapu and Falquiere), MacNeil returned to the United States in 1891. He immediately found work as a sculptural assistant at the World's Columbian Exposition. There he first encountered native American Indians and became fascinated with their daily routines, their ceremonies and their beliefs. In 1895, he won the prestigious Rinehart Scholarship in for four years study in Rome.
The present model, his first sculptural effort after the Roman sojourn, reflects the lessons of anatomy, expressive modelling and treatment of the figure in motion which he learned from the study of Antiquity. The work depicts a naked Indian preist furiously running through the Mesa in order to release the tangle of rattlesnakes just used in his prayer for rain. The combination of MacNeils' academic training and masterly technique has elevated this "romantic" image of the West to heroic stature.
Historian, dealer, author and curator Harrice Simons Miller offers an introduction to the collecting costume, couture, fashion jewellery
Can artificial intelligence really create art? For the first time, Christie’s offers a painting created by an algorithm