Artist Name

birth12/11/1870 in Karlsruhe, GermanyPicture of Weinman
death8/7/1952 in New York, NY
parents
education Cooper Union School
Art Students League, New York
awards

Adolph Alexander Weinman was born in Durmersheim, near Karlsruhe, Germany but his family moved to the United States when he was ten or fourteen, sources differ, years old. He spent his childhood in New York and apprenticed with F.R. Kaldenberg as a carver of ivory and wood. He continued his education at Cooper Union School and, for a period of five years, in the studio of Philip Matiny. From 1895 on he was an assistant to Olin Levi Warner. After Warner's death in 1896 he worked under Augustus Saint-Gaudens for two years. His final journeyman stints were five years under Charles H. Niehaus and two years under Daniel Chester French, with whom he worked on the figures of The Continents (1907).

He set up his own studio in 1906 where he created sculptures that followed the French tradition of naturalistic, Romantic bronze. Saint-Gaudens was undoubtedly the dominant influence on his work. Besides free-standing sculptures like Major General Alexander Macomb (1906-1908), he also produced sculpture as architectural decoration and relief. Some of his work can be seen at Penn Station in New York.

Weinman's interest in medallic work was first kindled at the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. There he saw an entire room that was dedicated to the work of European medalists. In 1896 he created a portrait of his mother, followed by two portraits of children. One of his earliest commissions for a struck medal came with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. In the following year he collaborated with Saint-Gaudens on Theodore Roosevelt's inauguration medal. For over 40 years he remained one of America's foremost medalists. One of his last medals was the Society of Medalists' 39th medal, Genesis, which he modeled in 1949.

His son Robert A. Weinman followed his profession.

Adolf A. Weinman died on August 7, 1952 in Port Chester, New York. His papers are at the Smithsonian Archives of Art.

You can click medals to switch between obverse and reverse sides.

Louisiana Purchase Expo Bronze Medal 1904
AAW-LPA
Bronze

The Saint Louis Award Medal is one of Weinman's earliest commissions for a struck medal, and one that made him justifiably famous. The obverse bears two standing female figures. The taller is Columbia, arms spread wide holding the United States. The youthful maiden represents the Louisiana Purchase Territory. Emblematic of her reception into the union, the maiden is divesting herself of the cloak of France, the material decorated with bees, the emblem of Napoleon. In the background is the rising sun, marking the dawn of a new era of progress to the nation. Around, UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION - SAINT LOUIS - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; below the year MCMIV.

The reverse bears an eagle over architectural tablet with inscription BRONZE MEDAL / LOUISIANA PURCHASE / EXPOSITION. Two dolphins symbolizing the nation's eastern and western ocean boundaries frame the tablet on the sides.

The medal was created in five different versions and four different shapes to distinguish between Grand Prizes, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Commemorative medals.

The bronze medal has a diameter of 64mm (2.5in) and weights approximately 105 grams. The U.S. Mint at Philadelphia struck 10,000 bronze award medals in brass.

My thanks to ExpoMedals.com for a lot of good information.

The Intrepid Horseman1900s
AAW-IH
Gold-plated bronze

This uniface medal bears a boy on a wheeled toy horse resting a cutlass over his shoulder and rogueishly wearing a flappy hat. In exergue, THE · INTREPID / HORSEMAN; signed at left over exergue, FE (AAW monogram) CIT

The medal is mounted on a red velvet stand that can be hung or stood on a desk. Friends of the family reported that Adolph Alexander Weinman's son Robert identified this medal's subject as his brother Howard K. Weinman. Howard was born in 1901 which would date this medal to approximately 1905-1907. In this medal Adolph Weinman created a loving portrait of one of his sons. It is a very special, personal piece deserving of a place of honor in any collection.

The circular medal measures 97mm in diameter and was struck in bronze.

Katherine Jane Weinman Medal1915
AAW-KJW
Gold-plated bronze

This uniface medal bears child's bust with knitted cap and sweater, facing left, surrounded by border of holly. To left and right, KATHERINE - JANE / WEINMAN - IN · HER / FOVRTH - YEAR; under truncation, · M · C · M · X · V ·; signed at right, FE (AAW monogram) CIT

Adolph Alexander Weinman created several medals depicting his mother and his children. This is one of two depicting his daughter Katherine Jane at age 4. The other was completed three years later when she was 7.

This instance of the medal is mounted on a wooden board with two screws. It is surrounded by a carved, pearled border and set above two flower rosettes at the bottom. It came from the household of Ruth Walker Brooks.

The circular medal measures 97mm in diameter and was struck in bronze.

Theodore Newton Vail1922
AAW-VAIL.1
Bronze
AAW-VAIL.2
Silver

The obverse bears likeness of Theodore Newton Vail. Above, THEODORE NEWTON VAIL; on left and right, MDCCCXLV / MCMXX. Around, 250TH ANNIVERSARY / 1697; signed at lower right of field, (JF monogram).

The reverse bears two nude male figres flanking clothed female figure. Around, THE VAIL MEDAL FOR NOTEWORTHY PUBLIC SERVICE; in exergue, AWARDED TO / DARWIN PAUL HOLTZMAN; signed on lower right (AW monogram).

The edge is marked 1114 - 1944.

Theodore Newton Vail (July 16, 1845 - April 16, 1920) was a U.S. telephone industrialist. He served as the president of American Telephone & Telegraph between 1885 and 1889, and again from 1907 to 1919. Vail saw telephone service as a public utility and moved to consolidate telephone networks under the Bell system. In 1913 he oversaw the Kingsbury Commitment that led to a more open system for connection.

The center figure represents the Service, the right Loyalty to Service and the left Devotion to Duty. The three figures are holding telephone cables. They are speeding the winged message over the wires.

The medals measure 63mm (2.5in) in diameter and were manufactured first by Tiffany Co. of New York and later by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The most common pieces are struck in bronze, but silver and gold versions exist as well. The bronze medals were awarded to individuals in each Bell company by that company's awards committee. A Bell Systems Committee then reviewed these cases and selected those of "especially outstanding excellenceor importance" for silver or gold medal awards. Bronze medals could also be awarded to groups of employees if the noteworthy act was a concerted group action.

Genesis - Web of Destiny 1949
by Adolf A. Weinman
SOM-39.1
Golden bronze with tan patina
SOM-39.3
Silver
SOM-39.4
Silver

This medal was chosen as the 39th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. The medal's obverse bears patriarchal nimbate God creating nude Man, sun left. In exergue, incuse GENESIS; at lower right (AW monogram) / ©

The reverse bears veiled Norn spinning yarn from distaff; the resulting thread held by Eros at right. In exergue, incuse WEB OF DESTINY; at lower left (AW monogram) / 19©49.

Revered by numismatists for his Walking Liberty half dollar and the Saltus Award medal, Weinman created this stunning medal at the ripe old age of 79. It was universally well received and is one of the medals that were chosen for a silver reissue in 1993.

The Medallic Art Company originally struck 785 medals in bronze. In the seventies, it struck 50 in silver, and in 1993, an estimated 300 additional medals in silver measuring an impressive 83mm in diameter.

SOM-39.1
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with tan patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYNINTH ISSUE 1949 - ADOLPH A. WEINMAN, SCULPTOR
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
SOM-39.2
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with minimal patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYNINTH ISSUE 1949 - ADOLPH A. WEINMAN, SCULPTOR
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
SOM-39.3
Silver
83.0mm (3.27in)
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYNINTH ISSUE 1949 - ADOLPH A. WEINMAN, SCULPTOR
SOM-39.4
Silver
73.0mm (2.87in)
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYNINTH ISSUE 1949 - ADOLPH A. WEINMAN, SCULPTOR
This section has yet to be written.

Contact me if you have links that might merit inclusion on this page.

Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.

Research Archives and Websites

Medallic Work of A. A. Weinman by Sydney P. Noe
A biography with lots of images of Weinman's beautiful medallic works from the ANS Digital Library.

Museums