Artist Name

birth4/6/1901 in New Rochelle, NYPicture of Lantz
death4/25/1988 in New London, CT
parents
educationNational Academy of Design, New York
Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, New York
awardsJ. Sanford Saltus Award (1968)

Michael Lantz, born "Lanza," began modeling clay sculptures while in high school in New York. He studied under Robert Aitken at the National Academy of Design from 1924 to 1926 and worked in the studio of Lee Lawrie from 1925 to 1935, rising from floor sweeper in the beginning to Lawrie's assistant at the end. While working, he attended night classes at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design from 1926 to 1931. During the 1930s, he was employed as an instructor in sculpture in the Adult Education Department in New Rochelle, New York, under the Works Projects Administration (WPA). In 1938, while working at the WPA, he won a $45,600 commission to create two statues for the Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, D.C. 247 artists entered the anonymous competition organized by the Department of the Treasury. The models that Lantz submitted for the competition are now in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Lantz created other sculptures for buildings and sites across the United States and Europe, including a statue of St. Nabor for the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial near St. Avold, France. He also designed commemorative and historical medals and seals, including a copy of his Blessed Are the Meek medal from the Society of Medalists series in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He created the Bronze Medallion of the City of New York, a medal awarded by the mayor of New York City to outstanding civilians. Some of his medallic works were used as architectural elements in the Nations of the Pan American Health Organization building in Washington D.C.. Large round, medal-like bronze plaques decorate the facade of that building.

In 1951 Lantz was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member and became a full Academician in 1954. He was a member of the National Sculpture Society, where he was editor of its publication, the Sculpture Review, from 1955 to 1957 and 1973 to 1984, and served as its president from 1970 to 1973. He was awarded the Saltus Award in 1968.

Michael Lantz died of a stroke at age 80 in 1988 in New London, Connecticut.

You can click on the medals to see the reverse.

Blessed Are the Meek 1948
by Michael Lantz
SOM-37.1
Golden bronze with olive brown patina

This medal was chosen as the 37th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1948. The obverse bears John the Baptist in the act of baptizing a kneeling man. Around, BLESSED ARE THE MEEK FOR THEY WILL INHERIT THE EARTH. The reverse bears a nude Salome holding John's head in front of a horse.

The medal measures 73mm in diameter and was produced by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The reported production quantity of this medal is 730 pieces in bronze.

SOM-37.1
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with olive brown patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYSEVENTH ISSUE 1948 - MICHAEL LANTZ, SCULPTOR
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
SOM-37.2
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Glossy reddish-tan patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYSEVENTH ISSUE 1948 - MICHAEL LANTZ, SCULPTOR
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. BRONZE
SOM-37.3
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with dark graphite patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYSEVENTH ISSUE 1948 - MICHAEL LANTZ, SCULPTOR
MACO-NY-BRONZE
SOM-37.4
Silver
73.0mm (2.87in)
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYSEVENTH ISSUE 1948 - MICHAEL LANTZ, SCULPTOR
City of New York Golden Anniversary1948
ML-NYC50
Bronze

The obverse bears Art Deco style allegory depicting a kneeling female figure (representing the city) with five smaller figures (representing the five boroughs) standing on her extended leg. Around, GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY OF / THE CITY OF NEW YORK / 1948; signed along edge at 5:00 position: MICHAEL LANTZ.

The reverse bears flying male figure at top with skyscrapers below to either side; at bottom right, a reclining female figure holding book; at bottom left, a factory with smokestacks; at center, empty field surrounded by the names of the five boroughs: MANHATTAN BROOKLYN QUEENS BRONX RICHMOND.

The medal commemorates the City of New York's Golden Anniversary and was issued by the Mayor's Committee for the celebration. Shortly after the celebration, the medal was modified, replacing the "1948" date with five stars and replacing the two lines of text with one, and called "The Bronze Medallion." The Bronze Medallion is the highest award given to civilians by the City of New York and is used to this day.

This medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: Marqusee 236

The Bronze Medallion of the City of New York1950
ML-NYC
Bronze

The obverse bears Art Deco style allegory depicting a kneeling female figure (representing the city) with five smaller figures (representing the five boroughs) standing on her extended leg. Around, THE CITY OF NEW YORK / * * * * *; signed along edge at 5:00 position: MICHAEL LANTZ.

The reverse bears flying male figure at top with skyscrapers below to either side; at bottom right, a reclining female figure holding book; at bottom left, a factory with smokestacks; at center, inscribed field surrounded by the names of the five boroughs: MANHATTAN BROOKLYN QUEENS BRONX RICHMOND. This piece contains inscription: PRESENTED BY / MAYOR / WILLIAM O'DWYER / TO MAYOR / KENDIG C. BARE / LANCASTER. PENN. / 1950

This medal is the highest award conferred upon civilians by the City of New York. The medal is presented by the Mayor to those individuals who have demonstrated, "exceptional citizenship and outstanding achievement."

The recipients come from a wide range of backgrounds, including ordinary citizens, foreign dignitaries, athletes, and film stars. The recipient of this particular piece was Kendig C. Bare, the mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was mayor from 1950 to 1958 and served in the Korean War in 1950/1951. This particular piece seems to be one of the earliest because the medal was only designed in 1950. It is based on Michael Lantz's Golden Anniversary medal from 1948 and reworked into this design in 1950.

This medal measures 70mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: Marqusee 236

The Ripnen Company Medal 1955
ML-RC-25
Bronze

This uniface medal's obverse shows historic monumental buildings in front of modern skyscrapers breaking through layers of clouds. Above, THE RIPNEN CO; to left, 1930; to right, 1955; signed at lower left, LANTZ

TKenneth Ripnen was an architect in New York and wrote a book titled "Office Building and Office Layout Planning", in which he called for a wholly new conception of "space for the organization man." The basic idea was to optimize modern office buildings fo maximum productivity, a quest that continues to this day.

TThe medal celebrates the 25th anniversary of Ripnen's architectural firm.

This pentagonal medal measures 96mm x 91mm (60mm per side) and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

The Ecological Cycle 1979
BG-7
Golden bronze

This was the seventh of the prestigious Brookgreen Gardens member medals, issued in 1979.

The obverse bears a great blue heron poised on one leg holds a fish on its back. Below, an alligator in the tidal marsh curving its body toward an unsuspecting bullfrog which in turn is about to pounce on a flying insect. Above, BROOKGREEN GARDENS

The reverse bears mythical winged horse, Pegasus, swooping down from the heavens with a frisky winged colt at its side.

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

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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.

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