Artist Name

birth10/5/1897 in Boston, MAPicture of De Lue
death8/26/1988 in Leonardo, NJ
parents
educationBoston Museum School of Fine Arts
awardsNational Sculpture Society's Henry Hering Award x 2 (1960)
J. Sanford Saltus Award (1967)
Gold Medal of the Architectural League
Gold Medal of the National Sculpture Association

Born Donald H. Quigley in Boston, the artist took the name De Lue in 1918 from the maternal side of his family. At an early age he studied with Bela Pratt at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, but most of his training came from working in the studios of older sculptors. In Boston De Lue spent three years with Richard Recchia, and another three with the Englishman Robert P. Baker. After World War I he set sail to France as a a merchant seaman. He would spend five years in France, where he worked for several sculptors, including Alfredo Pina.

Returning to the United States in 1922, De Lue served for about eleven years as chief assistant to Bryant Baker in New York City. At age 36, in what must be called the most transformative event in his life, De Lue married Martha Naomi Cross. She managed to transform him from a hard-drinking, free-spending artist into a disciplined worker who settled down and saved his money. Thus De Lue's most successful period begins with his marriage.

He first won recognition in 1938 when he was runner-up in a competition for the Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, D.C. This led to several government commissions, the first of which were reliefs for the Philadelphia courthouse, completed in 1940. In the next almost fifty years, De Lue probably executed more monumental commissions than anyone else of his generation. Among his works are Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves for the Omaha Beach Memorial in France, Rocket Thrower for the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York and the Boy Scout Memorial in Washington D.C. He was also an accomplished medalist and a member of the National Sculpture Society. He executed 26 commemorative medals for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the National Medal of Science, among many others.

His unapologetically representational and monumental style put him at odds with modern tastes and trends in art and sculpture. In one New York Times interview in 1951 he said about abstract vs. representational sculptors:

"We don't like each other. They think we're old hat and we think they're incompetent."

De Lue and his wife remained childless by choice so he could pursue his work while she acted as his business agent. De Lue survived his wife by six years to die in 1988. He and his wife are buried in Old Tennent Churchyard in Monmouth County.

Sourced from Wikipedia and several on-line articles listed in the Resources section.

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



Fiftieth Anniversary of National Sculpture Society 1943
by Don De Lue
DDL-NSS-50
Sterling silver with gold plate

The obverse bears an outstretched hand on which a nude kneels with outstretched arms, in offering stance. The reverse bears two concentric rings of legend: NATIONAL SCULPTURE SOCIETY / FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY.

The 50th Anniversary dinner of the National Sculpture Society was held in New York City in 1943. Every guest received a medal that was laid out for them at their place.

The complete records of the NSS were in storage at the time of my inquiry but a very helpful staff member did some research anyway and provided me with an excerpt of the minutes of a meeting on February 15, 1943 which states:

Mr. Adams suggested that at the Dinner, some commemorative thing, such as a coin cast in silver, made by the Medallic Art Company be placed at each place and that this be added to the cost of the dinner. Mr. De Lue was asked to make a relief for this coin.

The edge marking on the medal indeed reads STERLING / GOLD PLATE. While only hints of the gold plating remain on my own example of this medal, it is still a glorious sight in plain silver.

Creator and Creation 1957
SOM-56.1
Red-gold bronze with tan patina
SOM-56.4
Silver

This design by De Lue was chosen as the 56th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. The medal reprises elements from earlier reliefs De Lue created for the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the facade of the Junior High School in Queens. The obverse bears a nude Creator, kneeling in the heavens in front of suns and stars. An upside down angel blows a trumpet and two tiny humans look up towards the oversized form of the Creator, shielding their faces in awe. Around, WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM.

The reverse bears a reclining God, holding the sun in one hand and a tiny man in his other. A shooting star, stars, an atom provide the background. Below, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED.

The medal measures 73mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The reported production is 824 pieces in bronze and an unknown number in silver.

SOM-56.1
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Red-gold bronze with tan patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 56TH ISSUE - NOV.1957 DONALD DE LUE, SC.
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
SOM-56.2
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Red-gold bronze with tan patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 56TH ISSUE - NOV.1957 DONALD DE LUE, SC.
SOM-56.3
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Dark graphite brown patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 56TH ISSUE - NOV.1957 DONALD DE LUE, SC.
MEDALLIC ART CO.-DANBURY, CONN
SOM-56.4
Silver
73.0mm (2.87in)
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 56TH ISSUE - NOV.1957 DONALD DE LUE, SC.
(C) MEDALLIC ART CO. DANBURY, CT..999 FINE SILVER

National Medal of Science 1961
by Don De Lue
DDL-NMS
Bronze

DeLue's sculpture for the NMS was based on a design by Richard H. Bolt, an associate director for planning at the National Science Foundation, who had a background in fine arts. The design was approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Executive Order 10910, signed on Jan. 17, 1961.

The obverse bears Man, surrounded by Earth, sea and sky, contemplating and seeking to understand nature. The crystal in his hand symbolizes the universal order and also suggests the basic unit of living things. The formula he is sketching in the sand symbolizes scientific abstraction. Around, NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE.

The reverse bears a field of stars over abstract ocean waves. Across, AWARDED BY / THE PRESIDENT / OF THE / UNITED STATES / OF AMERICA / TO.

The medal measures 80mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York where it carries the catalog number 1960-025.


Shoal Harbor - Whaleboat Warfare 1970's
by Don De Lue
DDL-SH
Bronze

The obverse bears a woman on shore in greeting pose in front of a waterline with British battleship and two whale boats; legend WHALE / BOAT / WARFARE / 1776 / SHOAL / HARBOR / 1783; signature DE LUE. The reverse bears a group of armed Colonials watching a burning British ship in the distance.

This medallion was commissioned by the curator of the Shoal Harbor Marine Museum Gertrude Neidlinger, a neighbor and friend of De Lue. There was a companion medal commemorating Penelope Stout. The two were made as fund-raisers for the museum in the 1970s and were modestly priced.

The medallion is made of bronze and has a diameter of 50mm (2in).

Penelope Stout 1970's
by Don De Lue
DDL-PS.1
Bronze
DDL-PS.2
.800 Silver

The obverse shows Tisquantum, chief of the Lenni Lenape, carrying Penelope Stout on his shoulder with a wrecked ship in the background and sun and storm clouds above. Below, PENELOPE STOUT.

The reverse bears Tisquantum and a settler helping Penelope and one of her children into a boat, possibly to escape an attack by the Mohawk. Below, 1622 - FIRST LADY OF / MONMOUTH - 1732; signed DE LUE.

Penelope Stout died at age 110 and has hundreds of descendants. Her fascinating story is told in many family genealogies on the web.

This medallion was commissioned by the curator of the Shoal Harbor Marine Museum Gertrude Neidlinger, a neighbor and friend of DeLue. There was a companion medal commemorating the whale boat attack on the British prison ships. The two were made as fund-raisers for the museum in the 1970s and were modestly priced.

The medallion is made of bronze and has a diameter of 50mm (2in).

National Academy of Design - 150th Anniversary 1975
by Don De Lue
DDL-NAD-150
Red-gold bronze

The obverse bears Greek hero Bellerophon on winged steed Pegasus trying to reach the stars. Clouds at left and right bottom, sun rays from below. Signed above right cloud, De Lue / SC © 75

The reverse shows nude Prometheus kindling flame he stole from the sun; buring sun behind. Above, 1825 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF DESIGN 1975 / ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY

The edge marking on the medal reads MEDALLIC ART CO. DANBURY, CONN.

The circular medal measures 44.5mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of Danbury, Connecticut.

Ninetieth Anniversary of National Sculpture Society 1983
by Don De Lue
DDL-NSS-90
Red-gold bronze with tan patina

The obverse bears an outstretched hand on which a nude kneels with outstretched arms, in offering stance. The reverse bears two concentric rings of legend: NATIONAL SCULPTURE SOCIETY / NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY.

The 90th Anniversary dinner of the National Sculpture Society was held in New York City on May 17, 1983. Every guest received a medal that was laid out for them at their place.

The complete records of the NSS were in storage at the time of my inquiry but a very helpful staff member did some research anyway and informed me that is virtually certain that the obverse of this medal is a reprise of the 50th Anniversary medal that was issued in 1943. While the American Numismatic Society attributes this medal to Robert Weinman, the minutes of a meeting on February 15, 1943 state:

Mr. Adams suggested that at the Dinner, some commemorative thing, such as a coin cast in silver, made by the Medallic Art Company be placed at each place and that this be added to the cost of the dinner. Mr. De Lue was asked to make a relief for this coin.

The minutes of a meeting on May 11, 1982 include the following:

Ms. Dunwiddie announced that Donald De Lue's 50th Anniversary medal will be restruck with a blank reverse suitable for engraving and presentation as our 90th Anniversary medal. Mr. De Lue has agreed to this use.

Bursting the Bounds 1985
by Don De Lue
SOM-111.1
Golden bronze with deep brown patina in fields and on edges
SOM-111.2
Red-gold bronze with deep brown patina in fields and polished edges

This De Lue design was chosen as the 111th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. Both obverse and reverse bear a muscular nude constrained by the rectangular medal's sides, hands and a foot pressed against the sides as if trying to break out of the frame imposed by the medal's shape. The reverse shows the same figure as seen from the other side.

De Lue was already 88 years old when he created this medal. The Society of Medalists had recently changed its by-laws to allow a sculptor to create more than one medal in the series, provided that there was a 10 year gap between the medals. Whether they made that change just for De Lue is not totally clear, but it is clear that he was pushing the boundaries of his own profession with this design. The medal was so massive (24mm thick) and had such deep relief that 14 blows at 100 tons per square inch, with annealing between each blow, were required to fabricate it. De Lue's original design had envisioned the total removal of the fields to make the medal an openwork sculpture but the Society had a heart for Medallic Art Company's practical concerns and drew the line at deep relief.

The medal measures 74mm x 74mm and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of Danbury, Connecticut. The reported mintage is 750 pieces.

SOM-111.1
Bronze
74.0mm (2.91in)
Golden bronze with deep brown patina in fields and on edges
SOM 111th ISSUE / AUG 1985 / DONALD DeLUE
SOM-111.2
Bronze
74.0mm (2.91in)
Red-gold bronze with deep brown patina in fields and polished edges
SOM 111th ISSUE / AUG 1985 / DONALD DeLUE

  • Statue of icarus falling from the sky

    Icarus (1934)

    Icarus is an unusual interpretation that shows Icarus falling from the sky, collapsed wings and legs pushed upwards by the force of the air rushing by as he plummets towards the ground. Icarus' gaze is directed towards the ground, eyes and mouth wide open as if in disbelief.

    This sculpture measures 31 1/4 x 21 1/2 x 10 7/8 in (79.4 x 54.6 x 27.7 cm). It was modeled in 1934 and signed in 1954.

    The original image can be found on the Smithsonian's website.

  • Statue of youth rising from the waves

    The Spirit of American Youth (1953)

    The Spirit of American Youth depicts a youth rising, naked, from death. The figure itself seems to be rising in the air, the arms upstretched, the mouth open "as if calling on the Lord" as De Lue said. The idealized figure was chosen by the American Battle Monuments Commission headed by General George C. Marshall in preference to that of a soldier in uniform.

    The statue is located on the 15,000 grave .S. military cemetary at St. Laurent, France. The site is the first part of the 150-foot cliff to be stormed and held by the GI's in the Normandy D-Day landings.

  • Statue of man throwing rocket to the stars

    Rocket Thrower (1964)

    The Rocket Thrower stands 43 feet (13 m) high and depicts an athletic and god-like man launching, with his right hand, a small sphere into the sky which leaves an arcing trail of flames behind. His left hand is raised skyward and emits a swirl of stars which encircle the path of the rocket. The Rocket Thrower's left leg strains and crouches with his left foot planted on an arched perch. His right leg extends out fluidly. On the front of the perch (facing the Unisphere) are three distinct stars arranged in an angled line across its short width.

    When released, the critics of the time had mixed reviews of the work. De Lue explained the work as "the spiritual concept of man's relationship to space and his venturesome spirit backed up by all the powers of his intelligence for the exploration of a new dimension." However, The New York Times art critic John Canaday described it as "the most lamentable monster, making Walt Disney look like Leonardo Da Vinci." This is just one example of how De Lue's unwavering style was becoming unpopular with critics during this period.

    This sculpture is located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York City. A larger version of this image is available here.

  • Group of statues of father, mother and boy scout

    Boy Scout Memorial (1964)

    The sculpture consists of three bronze figures: a Boy Scout in the center wearing a uniform stepping forward and carrying a walking stick in his left hand. Flanking him are two larger allegorical figures of a man and woman. They represent &auot;American Manhood and Womanhood and the ideals they will pass onto the youth." To the Boy Scout's right side is the male figure, nearly nude, who carries a bundle of leaves and drapery in his left arm. Part of the drapery blows across his middle as he strides forward with his right leg. To the Scout's left side is the female figure who holds a torch in her left hand that has a gold-colored flame. Her left hand extends slightly and her palm is facing upward and she strides forward on her right leg. The three figures are mounted on a hexagonal-shaped base (62 x 92 x 98 in.) and in front of the sculpture is a circular pool of water.

    This sculpture is located in President's Park, Washington D.C. A larger version of this image is available here.

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.
The Sculpture of Donald Delue: Gods, Prophets, and Heroes
A wonderful book on De Lue by D. Roger Howlett.
Donald De Lue (the American Sculptors Series)
Small book by Joseph F. Morris with lots of images.
Reading Eagle, August 6, 1953
Sculptor completes Work on Omaha Beach Monument

Research Archives and Websites

Donald De Lue Papers at Syracuse University
Correspondence, photographs of works, and sketches.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
De Lue's entry at the Smithsonian.
Gettysburg Sculptures
Short piece on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
The Monumental Civic Sculpture of Donald De Lue
Very nice and detailed blog post about De Lue by Andrew Hamilton.

Museums

Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian has his Icarus plaster model in its collection.