Artist Name

birth1/31/1908 in Rock Island, ILPicture of Fredericks
death4/4/1998 in Birmingham, MI
parents
educationCleveland Institute of Art
awards Gold Medal of American Institute of Architects,
Gold Medal of Architectural League of New York,
Academician National Academy of Design (1961),
Life Fellow of International Institute of Arts and Letters,
Member Michigan Academy,

Marshall Maynard Fredericks was born of Scandinavian heritage in Rock Island, Illinois on January 31, 1908. His family moved to Florida for a short time and then settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he grew up. He graduated from the Cleveland School of Art in 1930 and journeyed abroad on a fellowship to study with Carl Milles (1875–1955) in Sweden. After some months he studied in other academies and private studios in Denmark, Germany, France, and Italy, and traveled extensively in Europe and North Africa.

In 1932, he was invited by Carl Milles to join the staffs of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Cranbrook and Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, teaching there until the bombing of Pearl Harbor made him enlist in the armed forces in 1942. Originally, Fredericks joined the Army Corps of Engineers where he served as the training officer for an engineer camouflage unit. Members of this unit trained to go overseas to camouflage airstrips and air installations. It is during this time in Tucson, Arizona that Fredericks met his wife Rosalind, who was driving a reconnaissance vehicle for the Army Air Force.

Fredericks developed two new types of target charts while in Tucson, one visual and one radar-related for high altitude bombers. These inventions led to Fredericks transfer to the Army Air Force. His work with these target charts and a camera which he created allowed the military to perform operations which they previously had been unable to perform. As a result, the Air Force sent Fredericks to India and the Far East, including China, the Philippines, and Okinawa. According to Fredericks his "target charts and simulated radarscopes were used throughout the whole Japanese war and were very valuable ... to the outcome of the conflict." During his time in the military, Fredericks attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force. He was honorably discharged from service in 1945 and returned home to Michigan to continue working as a sculptor.

In 1936, Fredericks won a competition to create the Levi L. Barbour Memorial Fountain on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. This was to be the first of many public monuments created by Fredericks. After World War II, the sculptor worked continuously on his numerous commissions for fountains, memorials, free-standing sculptures, reliefs, and portraits in bronze and other materials. Many of his works have spiritual intensity, lighthearted humor and a warm and gentle humanist spirit like that found in Fredericks himself.

Fredericks was the recipient of many American and foreign awards and decorations for his artistic and humanitarian achievements. He exhibited his work nationally and internationally and many of his works are in national, civic, and private collections. In 1957, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1961.

He resided in Birmingham, Michigan with his wife Rosalind Cooke until his death April 4, 1998. The couple had five children and eight grandchildren. He maintained studios at 4113 North Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak and on East Long Lake Road in Bloomfield Hills until his death. His estate donated the contents of both studios to the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan.

Sourced mainly from Wikipedia and the M. Fredericks Sclpture Museum.

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

Dow Chemicals 50th Anniversary1947
MF-DC50
Bronze

This unusual medal celebrating Dow Chemicals' fiftieth anniversary is struck in a manganese alloy developed by Dow Chemicals in the 1940's. The obverse bears Saturn and moons over swirling galaxy. Lower left DOW. The reverse bears upright hand holding leaf over stylized sun. Around, FIFTY YEARS OF CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT / 1897 - 1947.

Marshall Fredericks designed this elegant medal in a style that is reminiscent of de Francisci's Fiat Vita medal, yet simpler and more abstract.

The medal measures 76mm (3in) in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

American & Canadian Numismatic Association Convention1962
MF-ANA-71.1
Bronze

This medal celebrates the joint meeting of the American and the Canadian Numismatic Associations in Detroit in 1962.

The medal's obverse bears left half of American Peace Eagle with sprig of laurel and right half of Canadian maple leave. Above, AMERICAN * (leaf) * CANADIAN; below, NUMISMATIC * ASSOCIATIONS. The reverse bears kneeling figure with outstretched arms, holding sphere in left hand and family in right. Above, ANNUAL CONVENTION; below, DETROIT . MICHIGAN . 1962.

Marshall Fredericks created two beautiful designs for the obverse and reverse. The obverse symbolizes the friendship and close ties between the United States and Canada by merging their national symbols into a whole. The reverse is a hommage at the host city, Detroit, for which Marshall Fredericks had created an iconic sculpture, called The Spirit of Detroit, just four years earlier. He reinterpreted it for this medal to represent "The Spirit of the United States of and Canada."

The medal measures 40mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York in both bronze and silver.

The City of Detroit1963
MF-COD
Bronze

The obverse bears Marshall Fredericks' iconic "The Spirit of Detroit" sculpture." Above, THE SPIRIT OF DETROIT; below, PRESENTED BY / MAYOR / JEROME P CAVANAGH; signed under sculpture's base, MARSHALL FREDERICKS SC.

The reverse bears two graceful maidens in classic pose in front of burning city. Above, THE CITY OF DETROIT; to left, SPERAMUS / MELIORA; to right RESURGET / CINERIBUS; below, MICHIGAN.

The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

The city of Detroit's latin motto dates back to 1805 when the city was leveled by a fire. The twin latin phrases translate to "We hope for better things" and "It will rise from the ashes." The motto was coined by French Roman Catholic priest Gabriel Richard who had moved to Detroit just before the fire.

The medal measures 64mm (2.5in) in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

Gazelle 1977
BG-5
Golden bronze

This was the fifth of the prestigious Brookgreen Gardens member medals, issued in 1977.

The obverse bears a gazelle in dynamic pose, front legs in air and neck arched backwards. Above, BROOKGREEN GARDENS; below, SOUTH CAROLINA

The reverse bears Carolina wren in dense rhododendron foliage.

The medal measures 76mm in diameter and was produced by the Medallic Art Company.

American Numismatic Association 93rd Convention1984
MF-ANA-93.1
Bronze

The obverse bears an abstract eagle representing a blend of the Victory Eagle designed for the Veterans Memorial Building in Detroit and the American Eagle on the Cincinnati Federal Building. The reverse bears bas-relief of book and oil lamp. Above, AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION; below 93RD ANNIVERSARY CONVENTION / DETROIT - MICHIGAN - 1984.

There are few ANA convention medals that I find artistically compelling but this is definitely one of them. The eagle is beautifully abstracted yet clearly recognizable and the overall symmetrical composition with unevenly distributed stars is aesthetically very pleasing.

This design was struck in different sizes and metals. The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum has a 57mm (2.25in) bronze medallion in its collection. The more common variant is token-sized and was struck in bronze and silver.

  • Victory Eagle (1950)

    Victory Eagle (1950)

    Marshall Fredericks created the Victory Eagle sculpture for the Veterans' Memorial Building of Detroit. The marble end of the Veterans' Memorial Building facing West Jefferson displays one of Marshall Fredericks' major sculptures, albeit a period piece. The architects originally proposed windows for this face, but Marshall Fredericks encouraged them to use the entire wall for a sculpture commemorating the victories of the Allies in World War II. This is particularly appropriate for Detroit since the city was the true Arsenal of Democracy. Fredericks sculpted a powerful but graceful huge eagle some thirty feet in length and protruding so far from the building that no one can walk by and miss it. The wings of the eagle form the V for victory—a symbol frequently used in World War II propaganda, but not used in the nation's subsequent wars in Korea, French Indo-China and the Mideast. The traditional signs of victory and glory—laurel and palm—are held in the eagle's talons.

    In 1996, the Veterans' Memorial Building was renovated by the Smith, Hinchman and Grylls firm and now serves as a training center and office building known as the Ford/UAW Building.

    The original full-sized image can be found on the site of detroit1701.org.

  • The Spirit of Detroit (1958)

    The Spirit of Detroit (1958)

    The Spirit of Detroit is a city monument that represents the city of Detroit. The bronze statue was commissioned for $58,000 in 1955 from Marshall Fredricks and was dedicated in 1958. Located at the Coleman A. Young Center on Woodward Ave, the 26-foot sculpture was the largest cast bronze statue since the Renaissance at the time it was built. In the statue's left hand it holds a gilt bronze sphere, emanating rays to symbolize God, and in its right it holds a family group symbolizing all human relationships. On the wall behind the sculpture the inscription 2 Corinthians (3:17) "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," along with both the symbols of the city and of the county. On the plaque in front of the statue gives the inscription: "The artist expresses the concept that God, through the spirit of man is manifested in the family, the noblest human relationship."

    The original full-sized image can be found here.

  • American Egale (1964)

    American Eagle (1964)

    The American Eagle sculpture graces the Peck Federal Building in Cincinatti, Ohio.

    The original full-sized image can be found here.



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

Books

Barrie, Dennis. Artists in Michigan, 1900-1976. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1989.
Clark, Robert Judson, et al. Design in American: The Cranbrook Vision, 1925-1950. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1983.
Fisher, Marcy Heller. The Outdoor Museum: the Magic of Michigan's Marshall Fredericks. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2001.
Fredericks, Suzanne P., ed. Marshall Fredericks, Sculptor. University Center, MI: Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, 2003.
"The Levi L. Barbour Memorial Fountain. Marshall Fredericks, Sculptor." Pencil Points 18 (Feb 1937): 92-95.
"Model of a Garden Fountain, Sisters, by Marshall Fredericks." Pencil Points 20 (May 1939): 261-262.
Pasfield, Veronica. "Marshall Fredericks." Detroit Monthly (November 1992): 64-69, 89.
Salmon, Robin R. "Marshall Fredericks: Dean of American Sculptors." Brookgreen Journal 25 (1995): 2-7.
"Sculpture by Marshall Fredericks." Pencil Points 20 (Oct 1939): 661-664.
Watson, Ernest W. "Sculptor to the People, Marshall Fredericks." American Artist 18 (Sept 1954): 36-40, 67-70.

Research Archives and Websites

A Marshall Fredericks Walking Tour of Birmingham
A PDF file containing a map and pictures of Marshall Fredericks sculptures in Birmingham, MI.

Museums

The M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
A museum at Saginaw Valley State University, holding Fredericks' archives and the works that were in his studios at the time of his death.