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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 16, April 20, 2008, Article 9

SCULPTURE REVIEW ARTICLE ON PAUL MANSHIP'S MEDALLIC ASHTRAYS

[Dick Johnson submitted the following item on a topic
we've discussed earlier - the unusual medallic ashtrays
created by Paul Manship.  -Editor]

In 1915 famed American sculptor Paul Manship created the
first of an unusual adaptation of medallic art -- the
medallic ashtray. He created a series of 12 of zodiac theme
among other such ashtrays.

Robert Mueller, a scholar who has studied the work of Manship
for decades (and is curator at New York's Salamagundi Club),
has written a fantastic article on these medallic items in
the Spring 2008 issue of 'Sculpture Review.' Illustrated in
color, with two displayed oversize, Mueller documents these
rare issues, a combination of sculpture and medallic art in
utilitarian form.

Manship was a cigar smoker in an age when smoking was widely
accepted. His medallic ashtrays were popular as gifts. Manship
turned to Medallic Art Company to replicate his medallic
creations. I once commented we tried to keep at least one of
these in the company's New York City's showroom at all times,
but these were the most stolen item at the firm.

Recently, before he died, Sam Pennington ran an article on
these medallic ashtrays in his Maine Antique Digest (June
2007, the first of a monthly column on medals). He had a rare
opportunity as publisher of an antique publication to observe
-- and collect -- just about anything that turned him on. He
collected aviation memorabilia and medals. Once he discovered
medallic ashtrays he was committed.

Sam was impressed by the fact he could acquire an object created
by Paul Manship, whose sculptural works often sold for hundreds
of thousands of dollars. Yet he could purchase a Manship medallic
ashtray for only a few hundred dollars- which he did as often
as they came on the market.

For his M.A.D. article Sam contacted Bob Mueller who furnished
him with background information on this series. He contacted me
for the Medallic Art connection and I put him in touch with Hugo
Greco, the only living employee who remembered casting and giving
these art objects their impressive patinas. Never produced in
quantity, they were only made one or two at a time, according
to Greco. The zodiac were most requested, obviously clients
wanted their own zodiac symbol. So the number in public hands
is uneven; it is a major feat that Bob Mueller acquired a full
set, illustrated in his 'Sculpture Review' article.

Of average 6-inch size, these objects were small sculptures,
but larger than a typical medal. It gave the artist a larger
canvas for their medallic creation. Mueller calls Manship's
ashtrays "deftly modeled... created for the sheer joy of modeling."

Pick up a copy of the Spring issue of 'Sculpture Review' at
better newsstands while they are still available, $7 U.S., $9
Canada, 8 Euros. You will surely experience a medallic thrill
with this article.

 MANSHIP MEDALLIC ASHTRAYS MADE BY MEDALLIC ART COMPANY
 esylum_v10n12a12.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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