Artist Name


birth2/27/1897, Rome, ItalyPicture of Amateis
death1/5/1981, Clermont, FL
parentsLouis Amateis and Dora Ballin
educationBeaux-Arts Institute of Design, New York
Académie Julian, Paris
American Academy, Rome
awardsAvery Prize of Architectural League (1929)
Circe McClees Prize, Pennsylvania Academy (1933)

Amateis, left-most in the image above, was the son of Louis Amateis (1855−1913), a noted sculptor who had immigrated from Italy in 1883 and became founder of the School of Architecture at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Edmond Amateis received his early education in Washington and took up the study of art at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York City. His studies were interrupted in 1915, when he served in the United States Army in Europe during World War I.

While in Europe, he spent four months in Paris at the Académie Julian with François Boucher and Paul Landowski as his teachers. When he returned to the United States, he resumed his studies at the Beaux-Arts Institute, combined with work in the studios of Henry Shrady and John Clements Gregory. In 1921 Amateis won the fellowship of the American Academy in Rome for the next three years.

In 1939 Amateis created three bas-relief panels for the Medicine & Public Health Building facing the Thomas Plaza at the New York World's Fair. The panels were called Benevolence, Efficiency, and Humility and depicted scenes from heroes of American folklore. In 1956 Edmond Amateis finished a monumental sculpture for the American Cemetery in Draguignan.

From 1942 to 1944 he was the fifteenth president of the National Sculpture Society. In his later years Amateis lived in Florida, where he developed an interest in the breeding of flowers. A variety of rhododendron is named for him.

Sourced mainly from Wikipedia.

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

  • Aesop's Fables 1940
    by Edmond Amateis
    SOM-21.1
    Silver-plated with very light antiquing
    SOM-21.2
    Silver-plated with boldly contrasting antiquing
    SOM-21.6
    Silver

    This medal was chosen as the 21st issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. Amateis selected the fables for "their enduring timeliness and left the interpretation up to the beholder, as best suits his sociological, political, or economic inclinations."

    The two fables depicted are:

    The Kite, Hawk, and Pigeons

    The Pigeons find themselves persecuted by the Kite, made choice of the Hawk for their Guardian. The Hawk set up for their protector; but under the countenance of that Authority, makes more havoc in the Dovehouse in two Days than the Kite could have done in twice as many months.

    The Moral

    Tis a dangerous thing for People to call in a powerful and ambitious Man for their Protector; and upon the Clamour of here and there a private Person, to hazard the whole Community.

    A Dog and a Shadow

    As a Dog was crossing a River with a morsel of Food in his Mouth, he saw (as he thought) another Dog under the Water, upon the very same adventure. He never consider'd that the one was only the Image of the other, but out of Greediness to get both, he chops at the Shadow, and loses the Substance.

    The Moral

    All covet, all lose; which may serve for a Reproof to those that govern their Lives by Fancy and Appetite, without consulting the Honour and Justice of the Case.

    The medal measures 73mm in diameter and has a reported mintage of 921 pieces in silver-plated bronze. Of the 700 authorized silver medals a reported 100 were struck in the 1970's.

    References: Marqusee 7

    SOM-21.1
    Silver-plated Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Silver-plated with very light antiquing
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTYFIRST ISSUE 1940 EDMOND AMATEIS SCULPTOR
    MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. SILVER PLATED
    SOM-21.2
    Silver-plated Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Silver-plated with boldly contrasting antiquing
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTYFIRST ISSUE 1940 EDMOND AMATEIS SCULPTOR
    MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
    SOM-21.3
    Silver-plated Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Silver-plated with boldly contrasting antiquing
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTYFIRST ISSUE 1940 EDMOND AMATEIS SCULPTOR
    MEDALLIC ART CO.-DANBURY,CONN SILVER PLATE
    SOM-21.4
    Silver-plated Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Silver-plated with boldly contrasting antiquing
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTY FIRST ISSUE 1940 EDMOND AMATEIS SCULPTOR
    SOM-21.5
    Silver-plated Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Golden bronze with very light tan patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTY FIRST ISSUE 1940 EDMOND AMATEIS SCULPTOR
    MEDALLIC ART CO.-DANBURY,CONN
    SOM-21.6
    Silver
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTYFIRST ISSUE 1940 EDMOND AMATEIS SCULPTOR
    SOM-21 Romance Brochure

  • Acacia Griffins

    Acacia Griffins (1936)

    A limestone male (right) and female (left) griffin guard the outside entrance of the building. The griffins each hold an agate egg between their paws, symbolic of the protection of their home. Like the building they were designed in the Neoclassical. The sculptures were carved by Ugo Lavaggi..

    A larger version of this image is available here.

  • Efficiency

    Efficiency (1939)

    Portraying "efficiency," Paul Bunyan, heroic figure of the north-woods, is pictured in this sculpture designed by Edmond Amateis for one of three sections of an American folk-lore group to adorn in relief the facade of the Medicine & Public Health Building facing the Thomas Plaza at the New York World's Fair 1939. With him is shown his favorite ox, Blue Babe, and Shanty John, a woodman friend. According to legend, Bunyan hitched Babe to a crooked, eight-mile road and stretched it out to twenty-two miles. He would skin a tree by holding the bark while Babe pulled the trunk out, the stories relate. His two-edged axe, which cut down an extra tree on the back stroke, is also shown.

    Image from New York Public Library.

  • Humility

    Humility (1939)

    Portraying "humility," Strap Buckner, Old Three Hundred colonist of Texas, and man of near-legendary stength is pictured in this sculpture. According to legend, Strap Buckner challenged the Devil to a contest when pride got the better of him.

    Image from New York Public Library.

  • Benevolence

    Benevolence (1939)

    Portraying "benevolence" is John Chapman, better known as "Johnny Appleseed." Chapman is credited with introducing apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, as well as the northern counties of West Virginia. He became a living legend due to his kindness, generosity, and leadership in conservation.

    Image from New York Public Library.

  • Cemetery of Draguignan

    Cemetery of Draguignan (1956)

    Amateis created this massive bas-relief for the memorial on the American Cemetery at Draguignan. It has the inscription WE WHO LIE HERE DIED THAT FUTURE GENERATIONS MIGHT LIVE IN PEACE.

    Uncropped image available here.

  • Salk portrait

    Jonas Edward Salk (1958)

    Jonas Salk built his career on developing vaccines against influenza and polio. In the 1940s he helped revolutionize immunology by developing vaccines that did not expose recipients to the disease itself. In 1947, as America confronted a polio epidemic, Salk turned to finding a vaccine for the disease, reporting successful results by 1953; by 1955 the Salk vaccine was in widespread use and dramatically diminished the impact of polio, especially among children. Salk never claimed a patent for the vaccine, asking "Could you patent the sun?"

    Amateis was commissioned to create busts of scientists who had participated in the development of the Polio vaccine. Their busts are located at the Polio Wall of Fame, Georgia Warm Springs Foundation.

    Original image available at the National Portrait Gallery 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.

Research Archives and Websites

Clermont News Leader
Article on Amateis and copies of the famous Polio hero busts.

Museums

National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery has a copy of his Salk bust in its collection.