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The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 53, December 25, 2011, Article 19

A DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH VIDEO

Dick Johnson submitted this item about an online video about sculptor Daniel Chester French. Thanks! -Editor

Daniel Chester french video

I hold the American sculptor Daniel Chester French in very high regard. New England residents are fortunate to be able to visit his home and studio with day trips to Chesterwood, now a National Historic Trust Site, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It is worth the time for New Englanders -- and all others! -- to visit Chesterwood whenever you are in the area.

When my associate at Medallic Art Company, Rob Vugteveen, visited me in 2010 such a visit to Chesterwood was high on our priority list. You see the company symbol -- the French Head -- was created by Daniel Chester French. He modeled it 1917 in the very studio we visited.

In 1932 the owner-president of Medallic Art Company at time, Clyde Curle Trees, was so enamored with the female head which appeared on that medal French created earlier that he adopted it as a symbol for the company. That original creation was not for some auspicious medal -- it was for a waterpipe! -- the medal was issued to honor the completion of the Catskill Aqueduct in 1917 (this supplies most of the fresh water to New York City).

To Trees it was not only symbolic of the company -- it signified the essence of the work of the company -- but also the field of medals in its entirety. The term "French Head" is not only a play on DCF's last name, but also as medallic art is somewhat of a French art. It was also the nationality of the two founders of the firm, Henri and Felix Weil (who, prophetically, one was born in France, one in America).

Rob filmed the original plaster on the wall of his studio, now filled with models and casts and maquettes --small models intended for sculpture enlargements.

Coin collectors will recognize French's name for the Lincoln Memorial housing his Lincoln statue on the reverse of the 1959 cent and the Minute Man Statue -- whose real name is "Concord Man" -- on the obverse of the 1925 Lexington-Concord Commemorative half dollar. Likewise paper money collectors will recall the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse of the $5 bill. Collectors of decorations will note that French designed and modeled the Manila Bay Dewey Medal of 1898.

It is for medal collectors, however, to hold Daniel Chester French in highest esteem! Not only did he create that French Head -- for the 1917 Catskill Aqueduct Medal -- but also the Pulitzer Medal of 1917 (he designed and modeled the obverse, Henry Augustus Lukeman modeled the reverse), and also the 1917 British and French War Commission Visit Medal for the American Numismatic Society.

So you see Daniel Chester French is well represented in the numismatic field by these American numismatic issues.

What has been released this week is a new video on Daniel Chester French and his Chesterwood site. It has been placed on the internet for all to view. You will enjoy this brief video. Do click on: Daniel Chester French: Sculpting an American Vision (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvHdNbqYDj8&list=PL74F0D0F2217861B8&feature=
plcp&context=C3cc2fa2FDOEgsToPDskJGPUYbMht1OnT_9rQm4fUO)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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