Saturday, 25 February 2012

Edmundo Prati (1889-1970)

Most of the medals that I usually buy are either French or Belgium. Just occasionally I spot a one from another area. I bought this bronze medal sometime ago - I was attracted by it's strong art deco design. However, I knew nothing about the artist who designed it or the event that it commemorated.

It is signed E Prati on the front and was issued by the Uruguayan "Ministry of Public Education" to commemorate the Exhibition of French Painting and Course of Conferences in Montevideo 1940. 

For us Europeans, we would not have expected such an event to have taken place during the Second World War. However, Uruguay was neutral and even though the naval "Battle of the River Plate" had just taken place off the coast of Montevideo in December 1939, I wonder whether life continued relatively normally or perhaps this event was a highlight of a years effect by the war. I can't find any more information about this conference and I wonder whether it has a local academic event.

I could find information about the artist who can be fully named as Edmundo Prati. He and his twin brother, Eriberto were born in Paysandú, Uruguay in 1889. However, at an early age the family moved to Italy where they spent time with their artist uncle, Eugene; only to returned to Uruguay in 1906.

Then returning to Italy in 1920  to study sculpture at the Brera Academy and architecture at the School of Applied Arts, completing his studis in 1927. He won first prize every year and earning his degree with a first prize and the highest of praise. On completion of his final oral exam he was invited by the President of the Examining Board, Architect Moretti, to take a seat on the board.I don't  know whether he did take up this offer, but by 1931 he was back in Uruaguay for his first exhibition, showing work in Salton and then in Montovideo. 

His work was critically well recieved and his work won several awards, including; in 1937 - 1st & 2nd prize medal at the Salones de la Comisión de Bellas Artes, 1941 - 1st prize for a monument to José de San Martín" and another 2nd prize in 1942.

 Examples of his sculptural work.

His work would appear to have mainly been monumental sculptures including in Montevideo; the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument, monument to the Liberator Jose de San Martin, statue of Dr. Jose lrureta Goyena,statue of Dr. Louis A.Herrera,"The Last Charrúas","Tres Cruces Congress" on the facade of the Iglesia del Cordón. Other works found in Uruguay include the monumental  (triptych) of General Jose Artigas, in the city of Salto; the statue "The Sower", at the entrance to the city of Paysandu and the monumental statue of General Jose Garibaldiin the town of Dolores.
"The Last Charrúas"

He held several important academic position, including;
Chief curator and Artistic Director at the Parliament building in Montevideo
Professor of Sculpture at he School of Applied Arts,
Uruguayan National Commission of the Fine Arts.

It is believed that his designs were only used to create 23 medals during his career, some are art deco inspired and other are more classical, especially the portrait medals. I have list them all below and have tried and failed to trace pictures of each.

1-1918, portriat medal of Dr Joseph Lin Amorin, Joseph Lin 
2-1937, Centenary of the Department of Salto - a head of Minerva
3-1937,Annual Exhibition of Fine Arts - naked man kneeling, carving with chisel and mallet, the head of a woman left profile symbol of the Republic.
4-1938, Pedro Blanes Viale.Retrospective Exhibition.- bust of the artist.
5-1939, Gonzalo Vazquez Barriere / Motorist Centre in Uruguay -Portrait
6-1940, Commemorating the unveiling of theJose Gervasio Artigas Monument in Salto,
7-1940, French Painting Exhibition - shown at top and the same as number 3
8-1941, Juan Manuel Blanes Exhibition. - profile of Juan Manuel Blanes.
9-1941, Adolfo Folle Juanicó: Tribute to a president. - man behind trying to control a wild horse,  actually Alexander the Great taming the horse Bucephalus.
10-1945, Department of Visual Arts Contest.
- same as 3 & 7
11-1947, Commemorating the unveiling of the Juan Manuel Blanes Monument - similar to 8

12-1947, Facade of the Union building Manufacturing of Cork.
13-1947, Eduardo Fabini. 25 Anniversary of the musical poem "Campo"- man sitting right profile playing a harmonica.
14-1949,Military Academy. 1924 Course Applicants 1924-1949. Obverse: Same as the No. 6 Reverse: In the field, the insignia of the Military Academy and above it the legend: "MILITARY SCHOOL." In the periphery, burin engraving: "1924 COURSE CANDIDATES 1949" "Military School".
15-1949,  National Watercolor Exhibition - same as 3,7 & 11

16-1953, Colonel Leonardo Olivera.
17-1953, Dr Luis A Herrera. - portriat
18 -1955 Graphic Association of Uruguay- a woman standing with pen in his right hand resting on shield with the inscription "LIBERTY"
19-1955, Pablo Blanco Acevedo. Historical and Geographical Institute of Uruguay - portarit
20-1956, Uruguayan Institute of Numismatics. 1st Anniversary - the head of two women standing. One holds a spear in his right hand and his left hand rests on the national emblem.
21-1956, University Theatre. Mireya Award Murguia - Facade of a theatre with the inscription:"Apama". In front, three masks.
22- 1959, Tribute to General San Martin in Montevideo. - "Tribute to General Jose de San Martin, liberator of nations. Tribute Uruguay"."1959."
23-1963,Commemorating the unveiling of the General Jose de San Martin Monument.

He also created some wonderful cubist art deco bas relief panels as architectural detail on large buildings. Shown above are the panels on the former Banco La Caja Obera in Montevideo. He even was commemorated with his own postage stamp - that is fame !! 

There is plenty of information about Edmundo's career on the two websites listed below. However, one is in Spanish and the other Italian - I apologise for any minor or even major translations errors in my posting, as my only language is junior school English.

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Internet references

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Lyman Byxbe (1886-1980)

But what is this signature ?? I could easily read the Lyman, but the surname ? Bythe ? -- No. After a few goes at googling I was soon able to established that this was a work by the American artist Lyman Byxbe (1886-1980) This
 is a new name to me, as before I found this lovely little dry point etching of a small and furry chipmunk, I had never heard if this American artist printmaker.

Who was he ? and what other work did he create ?

Lyman Byxbe was born near Pittsfield, Illinois, USA. Although he did not attend formal art school, he became a commercial artist based in Omaha, Nebraska and whilst in Omaha he met and was taught the art of etching by the local architect, Mark Levings.

From the early 1920's Lyman and his wife visited Estes Park in Colorado as a regular summer excursion. It was these trips that inspired him to establish a permanent studio there in 1934. Spending his time capturing the Rocky Mountains scenery in his many detailed and evocative etchings. His view of the rugged mountains with wind swept trees, seem to have been particularly popular.

Byxbe and his gallery.

His work received critical recognition and he was soon exhibiting widely, including a one man show at the Smithsonian Institute in 1937/8 where he had over 60 works on show. He became an elected member of the Chicago Society of Etchers, an achievement for an artist with no formal training. His pictures can be found in many national collections, including the; The Smithsonian Institute, The Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Arts.

From the etchings I have seen on the internet, the majority of his printed works are landscape studies of the rugged landscape around his home area. These must have been popular at this time, but to modern British eyes, they are now a little passée and out of fashion. His studies of North American Indians, would are more eye catching but perhaps not appreciated in the UK. Oddly the only animal study I have seen is this chipmunk. I wonder whether he did any other cute and furry creatures ??

As a sample of popularity, I alway have a quick looks at auction prices and numbers that have come up for sale. For Lyman, there are 30 listings, which is quite a high number and would suggest that he is a name that auctioneers and therefore collectors are looking for - either that or he was so prolific that every auction has a few in there "and other miscellaneous prints" section. Values ? no clue there, as they range from $30 to $600.

For those of you interested in further research - I was able to trace 2 book relevant to the subject, including a reference work by his daughter. Click on the titles to find copies for sale.
The Prints of Lyman Byxbe
The Prints of Lyman Byxbe (1886-1980): A catalog raisonne

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Lucien Bazor (1889-1974)

More Art Deco design today with another talented French medal engraver - Lucien Bazor.

Georges B Lucien Bazor (1889-1974) was a Paris born, French graveur of medals and coins, who is generally know as Lucien Bazor. He studied under his father Albert Bazor, who was also an artist graveur, before attending the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. During his time there his tutors included Auguste Patey (1885-1930) and probably his own father.

From the number of medals and coins minted, his designs were a commercial success as his carreer progressed he was appointed Graveur General de Monnaies D'Paris (Chief Engraver at the Paris mint), a position he held from 1930 until 1958. He also recieved academic recognition with his work being accepted for the Salons of the Société des Artistes Francais and was good enough to win the Great Prize of Rome in 1923.

His French coins include the Third Republic 5 franc (minted 1933) that was known at the time as the "Bedoucette" (after the then Minister of Finance) but is now known as "Bazor" (that's fame, your own coin !). Also the 100 franc (minted 1929-1936) and the post WW11 French State, 50ct, 1, 2 and 5 franc coins. These are typically marked with a LB monogram. In addition he designed many French colonial coins, including for Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, French Equitorial Africa, French West Africa, French Oceania, Madagascar and New Caledonia.

As was so common, many of his designs continued to be minted well after there creation and some can be seen with minting dates well into the 1970's and beyond. Medals I admire are the art deco stylised designs that date from the mid 1920's onwards. This seems to be "his style" and many of his later coins and medals show this trait.

 Lucien died in 1974 and is buried in Châtenay-Malabry in the Hauts de Seine area of south west Paris. His grave is decorated with a portrait medal designed by R Cochet (1903-88)

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Internet references include;

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Robert Cochet (1903-1988)

I recently bought this lovely signed French bronze art deco medallion, after being attracted to the design; pretty girls and art deco are irresistible but I am not quite sure which Greek goddess she represents, probably either Demeter, Persephone or maybe Autumn.

It came in it original card box and is in beautiful condition. The reverse is designed by Jean LaGrange and it was award by "Societe D'Agricture De Meaux; Concours" in 1933. Either it was cherished by the recipient or disregarded and forgotten. Either way, it had survived for us to enjoy.

A good strong stylised designed, signed R Cochet for Robert Cochet (1903-1988). But who was he and what other art did he create ?

There is very little biographical information for Robert, other than he was French, born in 1903 and studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. During his time there he received tuition from Carli and Bazor (Albert or Lucien ?).

From the works I have seen, he probably specialised in creating designs for medals and small works in bronze. He designed several coins, including the Fourth Republic 100 franc piece struck in France at the Monnaie de Paris and Beaumont-Le-Roger mints between 1954 and 1958. These are signed with a tiny CR monogram on the front and R Cochet on the reverse.

His work was clearly well received as he was awarded a diploma and medal at the 1954 International Exposition in Madrid. He was made a Societaire of the Salon des Artistes Francais. It is fairly safe to assume that he also exhibited regularly at the Salon. An example of his medals can be found in the collection of The British Museum.

Today, his medals are widely collected and valued. A search through eBay and other medal dealer will see a range of prices from £20 or £30 for common basic designs up to £250 for the larger and more elaborate art deco pieces.


Whilst researching a posting about Lucien Bazor, I discovered that Robert designed a portrait medal of Bazor which decorates his grave. So, perhaps Lucien was his tutor and not Albert ?

I am looking for more information - please leave helpful comments.

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Friday, 10 February 2012

Godwin, Dresser & Brownfields

The question in full - Is there a connection between the designers Dr Christopher Dresser (1834-1904), Edward William Godwin (1833-1886) and the pottery firm of William Brownfield ?

Possibly ? Probably or Maybe ?

The reason I have asked myself this question was prompted by the purchase of the little milk jug pictured here.

Although unmarked, I know that this was made by Brownfield's as I have owned marked examples in the past and if I recall correctly the pattern is illustrated in Tim Peake's book on the subject William Brownfield and Son(s): Illustrated Guide to Brownfield Wares, 1837-1900.

This style of design is typical of the Aesthetic Movement of the 1870-80 period and are often attributed to designers like Dr Christopher Dresser or E W Godwin.

There are several versions of the pattern, some like this blue version are transfer applied on to china/porcelain whilst there is a similar coloured version seen on earthenware pottery. The pattern probably had a name as well as a pattern number, but I have been unable to trace any reference to it.

But where is the evidence ? or have these been attributed to Dr Chr Dresser, solely on the strength of design and similarities to documented patterns.

There are several other Brownfield's designs that I have encounter that have a similar design ethic. These include a design of flying cranes call "Yeddo" and another with a stylised bird called "Olympus".

Of these two, Olympus has a stronger feel of a Dresser influence, with a stronger element of stylisation, especially in the floral or foliate elements. The spikey flowers and leaves are similar to patterns seem in Dresser's "Principals of Decorative Design" 1873 or on patterns designed for Mintons.

The other named pattern encountered, "Yeddo" is usually seen on flat sided ovoid jugs, usually made from green coloured pottery and with moulded factory marks, pattern name and registered design diamond. The fact that this designed was registered to protect against copying could suggest it was an exclusive design and not a generic version of an in vogue style.

The "Yeddo" design is usually fully attributed to Christopher Dresser, there are numerous auction catalogue confirming this attribution. However, this might not be correct, there is another suggestion that it is more likely to be by E W Godwin, whose design influences are similar. A similar pattern is seen on porcelain tea and dinner ware.

There is no documentary evidence of any connection between these designers and Brownfield's and no "signed" examples have been seen. However, in the book Christopher Dresser, the author Harry Lyons, refers to the Godwin archive in the V&A collection in which Godwin notes in a diary, contacts with Brownfield in 1876.

Whoever designed these were talented designers, with the designs right up to date, cut edge even. Perhaps they were designed by Brownfield's own in house art director - will we ever know.

............ and these are a few other Brownfield designs. In house ?? perhaps not.

and few book on the subject, so you can continue you research.