Artist Name

birth5/10/1904 in Niles, MichiganPicture of Janet de Coux
deathDecember 1999, in Richland, Pennsylvania
parentsReverend C.J. de Coux and Bertha de Coux
education Carnegie Institute of Technology (1924-1926),
Fellow at Tiffany Foundation (Summer 1927),
New York School of Industrial Design (1928-1929),
Rhode Island School of Design (1929-1930),
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1930-1931),
Instructor, Cranbrook Academy of Art
awards Association Prize, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (1936),
Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1938),
Honored as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania,
The Lindsay Memorial Prize,
The Widener Gold medal,
Honored as Pittsburgh Artist of the Year

Janet de Coux was born in 1904 in Niles, Michigan to Reverend C.J. and Bertha de Coux. De Coux was the youngest of five children. In 1914, when de Coux was ten years old, the family relocated to Richland, Pennsylvania. The family of seven was very cramped, especially in the first few years before their small house could be expanded. At the time, Richland was a small rural village. The family's lifestyle fit the town very well – they grew most of their own food, owned a cow and a horse, and often escaped their small house by sleeping in nearby fields. The Reverend de Coux was a minister of French-Canadian Episcopal faith, while Bertha de Coux managed a nearby spring house to pad the family's income.

In the 1920's, de Coux had the ability to attend the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now known as Carnegie Mellon University). After two years, she turned her focus to art, specifically sculpture. She was an apprentice to five different well-known American sculptors, Carl Paul Jennewein, Aristide Cianfarani, Alvin Mayer, Gozo Kawamura, and James Earle Fraser. After finishing her apprenticeships, she continued her artistic studies at New York School of Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was also invited to be a Tiffany Fellow at the home of Louis Comfort Tiffany. In the 1930's, de Coux met Eliza Miller, the woman who would be her partner for the rest of her life. Miller was also a sculptor.

In 1942, de Coux began teaching at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, Michigan. She and Miller moved to be near the school and befriended the locally located Anne Lindbergh, wife of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. This was ten years after the disappearance of her son, Charles Lindbergh, Jr. Anne invited de Coux and Miller to live with her while her husband served in World War II, and the three women became very close.

In 1945, de Coux decided it was time to return to the family home in Richland, Pennsylvania. She wanted to devote herself entirely to her art, and so converted the barn into a studio. Though de Coux and Miller never had children, Miller took in her nephew's two children after their mother passed away in 1957. De Coux continued working on her sculpture and also self published a book of poetry and drawings in 1994. She remained at home in Richland with Miller until her death in 1999.

Sourced from materials listed in the Resources section.



You can click on the medals to see the reverse.

  • Thou Sluggard - Go to the Ant 1942
    by Janet de Coux
    SOM-25.1
    Hematite red patina
    SOM-25.3
    Graphite brown patina with frosty highlights
    SOM-25.4
    Golden bronze with light tan patina

    This medal was chosen as the 25th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1942. The obverse bears lazy man asleep under stylized tree, blazing sun overhead, snail in sleeper's shadow at left. Below THOU SLUGGARD; at lower edge of figure, J. de Coux ©

    The reverse bears three ants communicating with antennae amid grass. Around, GO TO THE ANT CONSIDER HER WAYS / (thistle) AND BE WISE (sunflower)

    Janet de Coux based her medal on
    Proverbs 6:6:

    Go to the ant, thou sluggard;
    Consider her ways, and be wise;
    Which having no chief,
    Overseer or ruler,
    Provideth her meat in the summer,
    And gathereth her food in the harvest.
    How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?
    When wilt thou rise out of thy sleep?
    Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,
    A little folding of the hands to sleep:
    So shall thy poverty come as a robber,
    And thy want as an armed man.

    This medal measures 73mm in diameter and was produced by the Medallic Art Company of New York which struck 767 pieces in bronze and 100 in silver.

    SOM-25.1
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Hematite red patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTY FIFTH ISSUE 1942 - JANET DECOUX SCULPTOR
    MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
    SOM-25.2
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Dark glossy brown patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTY FIFTH ISSUE 1942 - JANET DECOUX SCULPTOR
    MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
    SOM-25.3
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Graphite brown patina with frosty highlights
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTY FIFTH ISSUE 1942 - JANET DECOUX SCULPTOR
    MACO-NY-BRONZE
    SOM-25.4
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    Golden bronze with light tan patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTY FIFTH ISSUE 1942 - JANET DECOUX SCULPTOR
    SOM-25.5
    Silver
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS TWENTY FIFTH ISSUE 1942 - JANET DECOUX SCULPTOR

  • Sarah and Abraham

    Sarah and Abraham (193?)

    Sarah and Abraham is a marble sculpture that de Coux created in the 1930's. The image on the right shows Janet de Coux with her creation.

    A larger version of this image is available at the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art.

  • William Penn

    William Penn (1960-1965)

    Janet De Coux's brother, Paul Simpson, was one of the architects for the new Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg and asked her to design a commemorative piece for the lobby of the building. In 1961 de Coux received the commission to create a William Penn statue for the entrance hall. The 18ft tall statue was made in segments, not just because her studio was only 15ft high, but also because of the difficulties of setting it up on a 28-ton pedestal of native black granite.

    De Coux tried to give the statue a "sense of design, so as not to make it just a realistic representation" while not making it particularly contemporary at the same time. In her own words:

    "I wanted to remove it from being just a portrait statue, and gove it meaning... William Penn's life and ideals still have meaning for us today, and will have, for generations yet to come."

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

Museums