Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

 

FRENCH MEDALLISTS
 

Andrieu, Bertrand: Bertrand Andrieu (French) (1761-1822), was born in Bordeaux, where he studied under Andre Lavau. At 25, he went to Paris and worked in the studio of the sculptor and medallist Gatteaux. Soon thereafter in 1789 he engraved the famous medal of the Storming of the Bastille. Andrieu executed many medals during the Revolution, Empire, and Restoration, engraving portraits used for the obverse of medals of Napoleon and Louis XVIII, several of which are of high quality. Forrer states "that of the Battle of Marengo (1800) (shown below) passed, according to Bolzenthal, as ‘the triumph of modern glyptography’". It was also the opinion of Forrer that although he no longer remains as preeminent in the popular estimation, "Andrieu will ever rank as one of the most brilliant medallists of the Napoleonic era."

Arondeaux, Regnier: Regnier Arondeaux was a Flemish medallist who worked between 1678 and 1702. Those medals illustrating the events of the rule of Louis XIV were commissioned by the Comte d’Avaux, the French Ambassador in the Netherlands. In Forrer (vol I, p.81) it states that "Pinchart says that Arondeaux’s later medals are elegantly modeled and beautifully treated, and that they place the artist in the rank of the best medallists of his time."

Barre, Albert Desire: Albert Barre (French) (1818-1878) was the son of Jean Jacques Barre whom he succeeded as Graveur General at the Paris Mint in1855. He was created Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1846. As a medallist, he was not as prolific nor did he achieve the stature of his father.

Barre, Jean Jacques: Jean Jacques Barre (French) (1793-1855) apprenticed to Thiolier at the age of seventeen and made such rapid progress that scarcely a year elapsed without some of his work appearing at the annual Fine Art Exhibitions at Paris. From 1842 until his death in 1855 he was Graveur General des Medailles at the Paris Mint.

Bertinet (Bertinetti), Francesco: Born in Ostia, near Rome, Bertinet was active from about 1653 to 1686. He died sometime after 1706. Besides being a medallist, having made large cast portrait medallions of Louis XIV, Bertinet was a sculptor and an excellent musician.

Brenet, Nicolas Guy Antoine: Nicolas Brenet (French) (1773-1846) was born and died in Paris. He contributed extensively to the Napoleonic series of medal, executed under the direction of Denon (over 50 pieces are know to have been done by him). His piece, "Austria Subdued", has been highlighted by Forrer with an illustration. (An example of this medal is part of the present collection and is shown below).

Cheron, Charles Jean Francois: Charles Jean Francois Cheron (1635-1698), one of the most distinguished artists of the school of Jean Warin, was born at Nancy and was trained by his father, Jean-Charles Cheron, engraver to Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine. Cheron went to Rome and became engraver of medals for Clement IX and Innocent X. Cheron's style in his Roman medals is of remarkable boldness, and his medals of Pope Clement IX and of Bernini are grandiloquent and among the finest Italian medals of the period. He returned to France in 1675 and was employed by Louis XIV at the Medal Mint at Paris for about twelve years, where he contributed several medals to the medallic series of the monarch, the Histoire Metallique. His medals are considered to be in an international baroque style. (Molinari).

Chevalier, Nicolas: Nicholas Chevalier (?-1720) was a French medallist born in Sedan. He was a protestant minister and was obliged to take refuge in Holland on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. He lived for a period in Amsterdam, then settled in Utrecht, where he was granted the privilege of striking medals in his own house.  Several of his medals belong to the English series. Some are only copies of other artists.

Dollin, Jean: Jean Dollin was a medallist of the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th century. He worked for the French Medal Mint from 1714-1725. Dollin was employed to complete the series of medals of Louis XIV begun by Jean Mauger.  Forrer states that his work is not inferior to that of most of his contemporaries.

Dufour, Jean-Baptiste: Dufour (1637-?) was a pupil of Jean Warin, of whom he made a portrait medal.  He worked at the Paris Mint from 1656 to1673, although medals by this artist are known to have been made at a later date.

Dupré, Guillaume: Guillaume Dupré (ca. 1576-1643) was the most brilliant exponent of the French medal in its High Renaissance stage and the greatest French medallic portraitist of the period. As such he was a great favorite of the ruling monarchs. He was also a sculptor and gem engraver and was the first to apply the art of sculpture to medal-engraving. His medals were nearly all cast but so fine that they could be mistaken as having been struck. Some consider his works to rise to the height of the Italian Masters of the Renaissance. 

Duvivier, Jean: Jean Duvivier (1687-1761) was born in Liege and went to Paris in 1710, where he worked for most of his remaining life. In 1719, Louis XV selected him to succeed Mauger as the official medallist to the king. The work of Jean Duvivier was prodigious, having engraved over four hundred dies. He was the most important medallist of Louis XV’s reign, much as Warin, his predecessor, was that of Louis XIV’s. Although Duvivier never attained the high degree of art of Warin, he remains, nevertheless, one of the greatest medallists of the eighteenth century.

Duvivier, Pierre Simon Benjamin: Benjamin Duvivier (1728-1819) was the son on Jean Duvivier. It is said that Jean, fearing to be surpassed by his son, not only did not teach Benjamin medallic art, but actually drove him from his home when the son was caught copying a medal. Benjamin was taken under the protection of his brother-in-law, and on the death of his father, he devoted himself to the king’s service, becoming one of the favorite artists of the Court of Louis XVI. In 1774 Duvivier was given the office of Engraver at the Mint, formerly held by Joseph Charles Roettiers.

Fremy, Claude: Claude Fremy ,who worked in the early part of the 17th century, was a contemporary of Guillaume Dupre. He executed cast as well as portrait medallions.

Galle, Andre: Andre Galle (French) (1761-1844) was a celebrated medallist, who began his career working in a button factory, where he learned the art of engraving. After buying the button factory he devoted his attention to medal engraving. Soon afterwards he became acquainted with the celebrated engraver Dupre, who secured work for him at the Mint. Among other honors, he was awarded the Decennial Prize in1809 and was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1825. He executed his last medal when he was eighty years old.

Marteau, Francois Joseph: Francois Joseph  Marteau was a goldsmith and medallist who worked in Paris between about 1720 and 1759.

Mauger, Jean: Jean Mauger (1648-1722) was born at Dieppe and moved to Paris about 1677, where he is thought to have been a student of the great French medallist Jean Warin. In Paris he was given the title of Engraver of Medals and Medallist of the King. He is noted largely for his extensive medallic series of medals of Louis XIV [Histoire Metallique (Medailles sur les Principaux Evenements du Regne de Louis le Grand avec des explications historiques par l’Academie Royale des Medailles et Inscriptions. A Paris, de l’Imprimerie royale, 1702)].
Mauger’s work may be divided into three periods. In the first period (1684-1695), he engraved the Histoire Metallique (this work was never completed). During the second period (1695-1702) he was asked by the Academie des Arts et Belles Lettres to engrave the complete uniform series of the medals of Louis XIV. Mauger engraved 200 medals during this period. In the third period (1703-1722), he was asked to modify and reform his Art work.  Accordingly, medals of the same subject, but which are slightly different, are extant.  Moreover, the dates of the events represented on Mauger’s medals hardly ever correspond with those of their execution.

Molart, Michel: Michel Molart (1641-1713) was born in Dieppe, the son of a judge. He was trained in Elfenbeinschnitzer then later settled in Paris where he did most of his work. Originally he worked carving reliefs in ivory; later he began engraving medals at which time he became a member of the academy and was allowed to call himself "Medal Engraver of the King", making a number of portrait medals of Louis XIV. Along with Mauger, Molart was one of the most prolific engravers of the period. Their work was similar in style and they were often in competition with each other.

Pistrucci, Benedetto: Benedetto Pistrucci (Italian) (1784-1855) was a distinguished Italian gem engraver, medallist and coin engraver, and for the first half of the 19th century, he was one of the most influential engravers in Europe. Besides medals and large sculptures, he was also known for a variety of smaller cameos, coins, and jetons. He first reached prominence in Rome, then moved to Florence for a short period of time and then in 1815, he moved to London, where he remained until his death. He attended school at Bologna, Rome and Napels but did not excel as a scholar. His youth was somewhat arduous, and several disagreements arose between him and his colleagues, a problem which seemed to pursue him throughout much of his life. In 1814 the downfall of Napoleon cause Pistrucci to leave for London. His talents were well recognized in England but he soon came into competition and conflict with the dominant family of the English medallists of the period, the famous and influential Wyons. After a long dispute, in 1828 it was decided that William Wyon be appointed as chief engraver to the mint and Pistrucci was given the designation of Chief Medallist of the Royal Mint, bringing consternation amongst many of the British engravers – especially those within the Wyon family. Suffice it to say that both dominant personalities of the period were excellent medallists. Indeed, according to Forrer, Pistrucci "the Italian Medallist and Gem-Engraver stands very high amongst his colleagues, and in the glyptic art he certainly was not surpassed in the nineteenth century."

Pistrucci spent some thirty years making medals in commemoration of the victories of Europe's combined forces over Napoleon. Included among these is Pistrucci’s masterpiece, the wonderful Waterloo Medallion, which took him over thirty years to complete. Gold examples were to be presented to the four allied monarchs and two silver examples to Field Marshal Blucher and the Duke of Wellington. Due to his many other commissions Pistrucci was only able to finish engraving the dies in 1849, by which time all those for whom the medal was intended, with the exception of Wellington, had already died. This medallion, the dies of which were so large that they were never hardened for fear of breaking when used to strike copies, were employed to make only impressions in soft metal and to make a few electrotypes. One such example is in the Hermitage which states "The Waterloo medal is considered one of the rarest and most important pieces in the history of medallic art."  Another example is in the present collection.

Pomedello, Giovanni Maria: Giovanni Maria Pomedello (1478-1537) was an Italian painter, engraver, goldsmith and medallist of the first half of the sixteenth century. He worked in Verona, Mantua, Vicenza, Rome and Venice. Some of his medals bear a device, consisting of an apple (pomello, pomedello).

Roettiers, Joseph: Joseph Roettiers (1635-1703) was one of a large, illustrious family of Flemish medallists. He was the son of Philip Roettiers, the brother of John (1631-1703) and Philip (1640-1718), and the father of Joseph Charles (1693-1779), all of whom were medallists. Joseph Roettiers was Assistant-engraver at the Royal Mint, London in the early 1670's, then went to France where he obtained the post of Engraver-general in 1682. He became "graveur particulier" at the Paris Mint from 1694-1703. Joseph Roettiers, who obtained the title of "Primier graveur de l’Histoire en Medailles", was one the first artists to contribute to Louis XIV’s series of medals which was begun in 1680. In this work he collaborated with Jean Mauger, Henri Roussel, Michel Molart and others.

Roettiers, Joseph Charles: Joseph Charles Roettiers (1693-1779), son of Joseph Roettiers, was born in Paris. He learned die engraving from his father and his cousin, Norbert Roettiers. In 1715 he obtained the title of "Graveur des medailles du Roi" and was appointed Engraver General at the Paris Mint in 1727.

Saint Urbain, Ferdinand de:  Ferdinand de Saint Urbain (1658-1738) was one of the best known medallists of the end of the seventeenth and first four decades of the eighteenth century. He was born in Nancy and studied drawing and painting, but on the invasion of Lorraine by foreign armies, he left his native country and traveled through Germany and Italy where he began to practice the art of die-engraving. Although largely self-taught, he soon obtained official recognition as a medallist. In 1673 he was appointed Mint Engraver at Bologna, and later went to Rome where Innocent XI placed him at the head of the Papal coinage with the title of Chief Engraver and Architect. After a stay of over thirty years in Italy, he returned to Nancy. In 1707 he was appointed Engraver to the Mint, where he executed most of the coinage for Duke Leopold of Lorraine. Many of his finest medals were also executed in Nancy, including his Series of the Dukes and Duchesses of Lorraine, the Medallic Series of the Regency of the Duke of Orleans, and the Medallic Series of Popes.
St. Urbain was a member of most of the Italian Academies and of many other European ones, and he was decorated by Clement XII with the Order of Christ. (Forrer V, p.305)

Saint Urbain, Claude Augustin de: Son of Ferdinand de Saint Urbain, he was born at Rome in 1703. He learned medal-engraving from his father. He was the Engraver to the Mint at Nancy from 1725 to 1737, at which time he settled in Vienna where he held the title of Director and Graveur en chef des Medailles. He engraved a number of medals including the Title Medal with the Arms of the Dukes of Lorraine. He also collaborated with his father in the Medallic series of Dukes and Duchesses of Lorraine. He died in Vienna in 1761.

Saint Urbain, Marie Anne de: Daughter of Ferdinand de Saint Urbain and brother of Claude Augustin, Marie Anne was born at Nancy in 1711. She, like her father, became a medallist of note. She married Charles Benoît Vaultrin, king’s councillor in the bailiwick of Château-Salins. Marie Anne followed Duke Francis III of Lorraine to Vienna, where she died at an advanced age. Marie Anne de Saint Urbain is one of the few female medallists of this or, until relatively recently, any other period.

Warin, Claude: Claude Warin was Jean Warin’s younger brother. He was born between 1611 and 1616 and died in 1654. Claude Warin made large, cast portrait medallions. His workmanship, therefore, was different from that of his brother, Jean Warin, whose later medals were often struck.

Warin, Jean: Jean Warin was born at Liege about 1604 and died in Paris in 1672. He is considered to be one of the foremost medallists of France and the best French Engraver of coin-dies of the seventeenth century. Of the many medals attributed to him, most were engraved and struck although some were cast. Besides medal making Jean Warin had a variety of other interests. He distinguished himself somewhat as a painter but most particularly as a sculptor, even rivaling the great Italian sculptor Bernini. He also experimented in medal making capacity of machinery and helped develop an improved method for coin making. In fact, his fame was established more for his other artistic endeavors than for those as a medallist.

Jean Warin led a somewhat checkered personal life. He seduced the wife of one of his compatriots and was accused at one point of forging coins, for which he was sentenced to banishment for five years. Fortunately for him he had cultivated a champion in Cardinal Richelieu, who, so as not to lose the skill of this great artist, intervened on his behalf, resulting in a pardon.

Jean Warin occupies a pivotal place in the history of medallic art. He took the techniques developed during the Italian renaissance and by mastering the machinery at the Monnaie du Moulin, transformed the art to serve the state. His influence extended not only in France but throughout all of Northern Europe, well into the eighteenth century. (From Forrer and Jones).

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