Artist Name

birth9/15/1893 in West Hoboken, NJPicture of Chambellan
death11/29/1955
parents
educationNew York University, New York City (1912-1914)
Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, Paris (1918)
awards

Rene Paul Chambellan was born in West Hoboken, New Jersey and spent the first part of his life in and around New York City. He studied fine arts and architecture at New York University but joined the Army to fight in World War I. While serving with the Army Corps of Engineers as a sergeant he endured a gas attack but survived with wounds to lungs.

After the armistice, he was given the opportunity to study at the Art Academy which had been opened by the US Army in conjunction with the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to give artistically inclined but idle American soldiers something to do. Chambellan's talent gained him a formal seat at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts after just three months at the Art Academy. At the Ecole he forged connections to Solon Borglum, Raymond Hood, John Meade Howells and others that would prove invaluable upon his return to America.

Paris is also where Chambellan met his future wife, Suzanne. His persistence paid off when Suzanne accepted his third marriage proposal. After his graduation from the Ecole the couple returned to America.

Upon his return to New York, Chambellan taught sculpture at NYU for two years but he got busy with commissions very quickly. His first known commission for sculptures on the Russell Sage building in Manhatten kicked off his most productive period which lasted from 1922 to 1939. His sculptures would eventually grace more than 30 buildings and he completed over 30 medals for the Medallic Art Company. During this time he also designed and sculpted the Newbury and Caldecott medals for which he is best known today.

Unfortunately, Chambellan never really recovered completely from the wounds he had sustained in the gas attack in World War I. His lungs remained weak and he almost died during the construction of the Rockefeller Center in 1939. While he survived, he remained weak and would usually be forced to close his studio during winter time due to sickness. In the late 1940's he suffered a series of strokes and heart attacks that forced him to close down his studio entirely. While that was the end of his public career he neve stopped working entirely and continued producing art from his home until his death. He died from a major stroke in 1955.

Sourced from a telling by Bob Perrone, a grandson of Rene Paul Chambellan. Chambellan is one of my favorite sculptors and I would love to have more images of his medals and works, as well as more information on him.

I am a huge fan of Rene Chambellan. If you have any medals or objects of his for sale, I would deeply appreciate a note. Even if you are not willing to part with the object, I would still ask you for an image to include on this page.

You can click on the medals to see the reverse. Some medals can be dragged sideways to show variants or others in a series.

General Motors - 25th Anniversary1933
by Norman Bel Geddes
GM-1.1
Silver-plated bronze (76mm)
GM-1.2
Silver-plated bronze (76mm)
GM-1.3
Golden Bronze with olive patina (76mm)
GM-1.4
Golden Bronze (76mm)
GM-1.6
Silver-plated bronze (29mm)

The obverse bears a streamlined car with stylized wing extending vertically up. Top right and bottom left, TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF - MOTOR TRANSPORTATION; signed under car, NORMAN BEL GEDDES © 1933. The reverse bears a stylized piston and laurels. Around in four quadrants, COMMEMORATING / THE TWENTYFIFTH - ANNIVERSARY OF / GENERAL MOTORS - 1908 - 1933.

This iconic machine-age medal is a perfect example of the Streamlined style that dominated architecture and design in America from the late 1920s to the end of the 1930s. It was designed by Norman Bel Geddes but sculpted by Rene Paul Chambellan. Its main variant was commissioned by General Motors to be distributed during its 25th Anniversary celebrations and at the 1933 Chicago World Fair of Progress.

The General Motors romance brochure that accompanied some medals included the following words about the design:

"The face of the medal shows a speeding automotive body behind which a wing rises perpendicularly. Since the medal is to be used as an award in future years and the car of the future is merely a guess, this car is an abstract streamline form without doors or windows. The conventionalized wing symbolizes General Motors interest in air transportation. The wing being static; the car, by contrast, seems to move more swiftly ... The reverse of the medal shows a combustion chamber ... since it is the heart of the motor. It too has been conventionalized."

The medal was manufactured in different variants. The relatively common ones measure 76mm in diameter and are struck in bronze or silver-plated bronze. The large silver-plated medal is the most common variant. The bronze and the smaller 38mm and 29mm variants are much less common. The smallest was inscribed across the reverse G.M. - MENS / CLUB and only given to GM executives. In the thirties it was of course a fairly safe bet that executive positions would be limited to men. A mounted plaque version measuring 9 inches in diameter was given to some dealers in the 1950s.

Completely intact silver-plated variants are hard to come by; the silver layer did not stand the test of time on most pieces and it is almost unheard of to see one without at least rubbing on high points.

Just as the design is unmistakably Bel Geddes, the execution is unmistakably Chambellan. Before I knew that it was a Bel Geddes, I would have guessed it to be a Chambellan based on its lettering alone.

The medal was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

All that being said, prices for this medal vary even more widely based on quality and venue. Small antiques boutiques frequently offer the 76mm silver-plated pieces at prices over $2,000. Of course I do not know what prices are actually realized. On eBay, the 76mm medals frequently trade between $800 and $1,500 and I have not yet seen the smaller ones come up there.

GM-1.1
Silver-plated bronze
76mm (3in)
GM-1.2
Silver-plated bronze
76mm (3in)
MEDALLIC ART CO N.Y.
GM-1.3
Bronze
76mm (3in)
Golden bronze with olive patina
GM-1.4
Bronze
76mm (3in)
Golden bronze
© MEDALLIC ART CO N.Y. - BRONZE
GM-1.5
Silver-plated bronze
38mm (1.5in)
unknown
unknown
GM-1.6
Silver-plated bronze
29mm (1.14in)
Liberty1934
Obverse of Liberty medal Reverse of Liberty medal
RC-LIB
Bronze

Chambellan designed this medal in the early 1930's for the American Association of Manufacturers.

The obverse bears the Statue of Liberty in the center with light radiating from behind its head. From left to right depictions of the Capitol, orator in front of listening crowd, church, printing press, machinery, and skyscrapers. Above, LIBERTY; signed R. CHAMBELLAN SC.

The reverse bears bowl of fire labeled FREEDOM resting on tripod with legs inscribed REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY, CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, and FREE PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. Workers and a mother with children in front of smokestacks and buildings. Along rim on left, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS.

This medal expresses the belief in the benefits of a capitalist democracy, with economic freedom being one of the pillars on which freedom rests.

This bronze medal has a diameter of 76mm and weighs 171g. It was struck by the Medallic Art Company in New York.

San Diego Exposition Ford V8 Coin1935
RC-FV8-SD
Nickel

The obverse bears the classic Ford V8 logo with the digit "8" formed by the letter "O" from FORD and a larger circle underneath. Around bottom, SAN DIEGO - 1935

The reverse bears legend · FORD · 1935 around centeral circle, surrounded by turbine-like pattern.

Ford introduced its flathead V8 engine in 1932, just in time for the Chicago World's Fair and issued a token with a similar obverse for that earlier exhibition. While the V8 engine was not new, it was Ford's first 8-cylinder engine for the American mass market and was an important milestone in Ford's history. The basic engine design remained in service till 1953.

The Ford V8 logo is one of the classic art deco logos that succeed through their simplicity and elegance. It combines a technical term with a graphical representation that symbolizes high speed.

The token measures 28.5mm in diameter and was struck in nickel.

Westinghouse Order of Merit Medallion1935
Westinghouse Order of Merit Obverse Westinghouse Order of Merit Reverse
RC-WOM
Bronze with olive patina

The obverse bears art deco city scape with factories and skyscrapers surrounding a giant generator building; clouds and sun rays above; house and train engines below. In exergue, * ORDER OF * / MERIT

The reverse bears large silver letter W over palm frond. Around, WESTINGHOUSE AWARD; in lower half, TO / (blank) / WHOM HIS FELLOW / MEN DELIGHT TO / HONOR

The Westinghouse Order of Merit was awarded by Westinghouse Electric Corporation as its highest form of employee recognition. Both management and technical employees were eligible to receive the award.

The medallion has a diameter of 101mm. It was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The mintage is not reported.

Addressograph Multigraph 25 Year Service Medallion1936
RC-AM-25
Bronze

The obverse bears male figure standing at right, wearing chain and plate armor and holding a jousting lance in one hand while resting the other on pommel of sword. Around, ADDRESSOGRAPH MULTIGRAPH TWENTY-FIVE YEAR SERVICE MEDAL; octagonal AM logo at right; inscribed with AWARDED / TO / C. P. RODHOLM / 1946

The reverse bears logo-crested shield with legend IN GRATEFUL / RECOGNITION OF / ABILITY AND LOYALTY / DURING A QUARTER / CENTURY OF / FAITHFUL SERVICE / (signature).

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

Joseph Smith Duncan developed the first Addressograph in 1892. That model consisted of a hexagonal wood block onto which he glued rubber type which had been torn from rubber stamps. While revolving, the block simultaneously inked the next name and address ready for the next impression.

In 1932 the company merged with American Multigraph of Cleveland, Ohio, to form the Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation manufacturing highly efficient addressograph and duplicating machines. In 1982 the company declared bancruptcy, probably because it just could not compete with the electronic publishing and copying industry.

The circular medal measures 100.3mm and is struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York. No mintage is reported.

References: MACo 1936-011

The Randolph Caldecott Medal1937
Obverse of Caldecott Medal Reverse of Caldecott Medal
RC-CM
Bronze

The obverse shows Gilpin astride a runaway horse, surrounded by geese, dogs, and children. Above and below, THE CALDECOTT / MEDAL

The reverse bears bald man carrying a bird pie, being attacked by three birds. Around top, FOR THE MOST DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN / PICTURE BOOK FOR CHILDREN; four lines around bottom, AWARDED ANNUALLY BY / THE CHILDREN'S AND SCHOOL / LIBRARIANS SECTIONS OF THE / AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION; signed to right of figure, (RC monogram)

The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year's "most distinguished American picture book for children", beginning with 1937 publications. It is awarded to the illustrator by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association.

The scene on the obverse is based on Randolph Caldecott's 1878 front cover illustration for "The Diverting History of John Gilpin", itself based on a 1782 poem by William Cowper. The reverse is based on "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie," one of Caldecott's illustrations for the nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence."

This bronze medal has a diameter of 58mm and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

F.&M. Schaefer Brewing Centenary1942
SB-100
Bronze with brown patina

The medal's obverse bears border of hops and grain around center field with inscription: TO / COMMEMORATE / OUR 100TH YEAR / THE F.&M. SCHAEFER / BREWING CO. / AMERICA'S OLDEST LAGER BEER.

The medal's reverse bears glass and hand in the center, flanked by the company's headquaters in 1842 and the company's contemporary headquaters. Over buildings, 1842 / 1942; around, OUR HAND HAS NEVER / LOST ITS SKILL; at lower right, signed R. CHAMBELLAN SC.

The F.&M. Schaefer Brewery is the longest operating brewery in New York City, the last operating brewery in New York City [as of 1976], and America's oldest lager beer brewing company - all these honors, plus many others, belong to The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co.

"F. & M." stands for Frederick and Maximilian, the brothers who founded Schaefer. Frederick Schaefer, a native of Wetzlar, Prussia, Germany, emigrated to the U.S. in 1838. When he arrived in New York City on October 23rd he was 21 years old and had exactly $1.00 to his name. There is some doubt as to whether or not he had been a practicing brewer in Germany, but there is no doubt that he was soon a practicing brewer in his adopted city. Within two weeks of his landing, Frederick took a job with Sebastian Sommers, who operated a small brewhouse on Broadway, between 18th and 19th Streets. Frederick obviously enjoyed both his job and life in America, and the next year his younger brother, Maximilian, decided to make the arduous trip across the Atlantic also. He arrived in June of 1839 and brought with him a formula for lager, a type of beer popular in Germany but unheard of in the United States. The brothers dreamed, and planned, and saved - and in the late summer of 1842 they were able to buy the small brewery from Sommers. The official, and historic, starting date was September, 1842.

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

References: MACo 1941-046

I have only ever seen this medal once on eBay and bought it for less than $40.

F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co. Centennial Ornament1942
RC-SBS
Sterling silver

The uniface ornament shows the overlapped obverse and reverse of the Schaefer Centennial medal. This piece was originally attached to the top of a decorative box. It is marked STERLING and quite handsome in its own right.

The ornament measures 88.8mm x 46.8mm and is struck in sterling silver by the Medallic Art Company of New York. No mintage is reported.

For Conquer We Must 1945
SOM-31.1
Golden bronze with olive-brown patina
SOM-31.3
Silver

This medal was chosen as the 31st issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. The medal's obverse bears a medallic adaptation of Rosenthal's famous photograph of the flag-raising on Mount Suribachi. To right, IN TRIUMPH / SHALL WAVE.

The reverse bears truncated sword with hilt up over victor's palm. To left and right, FOR CONQUER - WE MUST; at lower edge, © - CHAMBELLAN SC.

In his "Message from the Artist" Chambellan wrote:

"One of the basic purposes of the medal is to commemorate important events... the soul-stirring group of the flag-raising on Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima has captured for all time one of these memorable historic flashes."

The medal measures 73mm in diameter. The Medallic Art Company of New York reportedly struck 1,501 medals in bronze and 60 (out of 700 authorized) in silver.

SOM-31.1
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with olive-brown patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYFIRST ISSUE 1945-RENE P. CHAMBELLAN, SCULPTOR
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.
SOM-31.2
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with light tan patina
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTYFIRST ISSUE 1945-RENE P. CHAMBELLAN, SCULPTOR
MEDALLIC ART CO.-DANBURY, CT.-BRONZE
SOM-31.3
Silver
73.0mm (2.87in)
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS THIRTY-FIRST ISSUE 1945 RENE P. CHAMBELLAN SCULPTOR, ONE OF LIMITED ISSUE OF 700
MACO. .FINE SILVER-.999+
Humble Oil Company1945
Obverse of Humble Oil medal Reverse of Humble Oil medal
RC-HO
Bronze

The medal's obverse depicts various refinery operations with a worker in the foreground. Around, TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE HUMBLE OIL & REFINING COMPANY COMMEMORATING THEIR / PRODUCTION OF ONE BILLION GALLONS OF 100 OCTANE GASOLINE AT BAYTOWN REFINERY; below, DECEMBER 14, 1944 / HOUSTON, TEXAS

The reverse bears three flying fortresses dropping bombs. In lower half of field, YOUR ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCING A BILLION GALLONS OF / 100 OCTANE GASOLINE HAS GREATLY CONTRIBUTED TO / THE GAINING OF AIR SUPREMACY OVER OUR ENEMIES / (signature of General H H Arnold) / GENERAL U.S. ARMY / COMMANDING GENERAL ARMY AIR FORCES

On December 14, 1945 the 14,000 employees of Humble Oil & Refining Company were honored at a ceremony celebrating the manufacture of a billion gallons of finished 100 Octane Aviation Gasoline at the company's Baytown refinery. A medal was commissioned to commemorate the event and Chambellan was chosen to design and model it.

The medal measures 62mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1944-012

Iowa Fiberbox Company - 25th Anniversary Medal1945
RC-IFC
Silver-plated Bronze

The uniface medal's obverse bears a kneeling brave, facing left, wearing feather headdress, balancing an open box on shoulder. Around, IOWA FIBER · BOX · COMPANY · KEOKUK, IOWA · TWENTY-FIFTH · ANNIVERSARY; in truncation, STRENGTH; to left and right of figure, 1920 / 1945; signed above figure's foot, CHAMBELLAN / Sc

This very handsome uniface medal comes screwed onto a wooden paperweight. It is beautifully modeled and has all the hallmarks of one of Chambellan's better commercial medals. While I have not removed the medal from its base to check for a mint mark, I assume that it was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

The round medal measures 63mm in diameter and is struck in silver-plated bronze.

Canadian International Paper Company - Years of Service1945
Obverse of Canadian International Paper Company medal Reverse of Canadian International Paper Company medal
RC-CIPC
Bronze

The medal's obverse depicts a tree in front of waterfall and wilderness in center field. Around, ★ CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY

Around, 18 maple leaves; incuse dedication in center field: IN RECOGNITION OF / TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LOYAL / SERVICE THIS AWARD IS / PRESENTED YO / (inscribed to CORNELIUS C. BARNES) / CANADIAN / INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY / AND AFFILIATES / 1945

The company was incorporated January 31, 1898, upon the merger of 18 pulp and paper mills in the northeastern United States. Its founders and first two presidents were William Augustus Russell and Hugh J. Chisholm. The newly formed company supplied 60 percent of all newsprint in the country.

This is another very nice Chambellan medal that exists in different variants. The U.S. version of this medal differs in the text on the obverse and the reverse.

The medal measures 62mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

The Allegheny Ludlum Award1946
Allegheny Ludlum Medal Obverse Allegheny Ludlum Medal Reverse
RC-ALA
Chrome-plated bronze

Chambellan designed this medal for the Allegheny Ludlum Steel company that was formed in 1938 by the merger of the Allegheny Steel Company of Brackenridge, Pennsylvania and the Ludlum Steel Company of Watervliet, New York. In 1996 it became part of Allegheny Technologies. I found a newspaper reference to the medal being awarded in 1946, which dates it to the period between 1938 and 1946. Dick Johnson dates it to 1946.

The obverse bears a bare chested steel worker wearing insulated gloves wielding a long rod, with machinery in the background. Above, THE PRESIDENT'S MEDAL; signed CHAMBELLAN / SC. The reverse bears a branch and a star with the embedded letters A-L. Around, ALLEGHENY LUDLUM AWARD; dedication in center, TO HONOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AND OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.

This bronze medal has a diameter of 98mm (3 7/8in). It was probably struck by the Medallic Art Company but it does not bear a maker's mark, maybe due to the chrome plating.

References: MACo 1946-013

The Goodyear Trophy Race Medal1947
Goodyear Trophy Race Medal
RC-GYTR
Bronze

The medal bears a flying eagle and nude man, holding GOODYEAR banner in eft and small plane in right, over swirling clouds. Above, NATIONAL AIR RACES; below, GOODYEAR TROPHY RACE; to right, signed (monogram PRC).

Chambellan did a lot of work for Goodyear. In addition to this trophy medallion, he designed several medals for Goodyear dealers and business partners.

It is not known when Chambellan designed this medal but it was first awarded in 1947. The Goodyear Trophy Race was a newly introduced event at the Cleveland National Air Races in 1947. At the end of the first post-war Cleveland National Air Races, a lot of specators had walked out because the ex-military airplanes were too similar and as a consequence the races were not as exciting to watch as the pre-war competitions that had sported highly individual racing airplanes. The organizers resurrected an old idea for small, low-powered, custom-built "midget" airplanes that could race around a smaller track closer to the spectators. The Goodyear Trophy Race was born.

There is no information about the medal itself that I could locate and I would appreciate any help. My copy is mounted an a 268mm x 200mm (10.5in x 7 7/8in) wooden board with a name plate reading ROBERT S. HOPKINS / RACE PLANE BUILDER / 1947.

Goodyear Friendly Service - 10 Year Medallion1948
RC-GY-10
Bronze

The uniface medal's obverse bears aproned man standing at little stove with boiling pot, stretching rubber between is hands. To left and around, 10 / YEAR - OF FRIENDLY RELATIONS; in exergue, DISCOVERY OF VULCANIZATION / OF RUBBER BY / CHARLES GOODYEAR / 1839; signed to right of stove, (RC monogram)

Charles Goodyear is usually credited with the modern discovery of vulcanization of rubber, though Thomas Hancock of Boston received a patent for vulcanized rubber 8 weeks before Goodyear did and the two were in bitter litigation at one point. Though losing the patent suit he had brought in England, he prevailed as a business man. In 1860 he traveled to New York to see his dying daughter but upon finding that he had arrived too late he collapsed and died shortly thereafter. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded by Frank Seiberling almost four decaades after his death.

This is the 10 year version of Rene Chambellan's Goodyear series of medallions. All of these medallions came mounted to a wooden board to be hung in offices or shops that were selling Goodyear product.

The circular medal measures 108mm and is struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York. No mintage is reported.

References: MACo 1948-041-001

Goodyear Friendly Service - 30 Year Medallion1948
RC-GY-30
Bronze

The uniface medal's obverse bears art deco style hand holding a chemical flask in front of plinth with winged steed. To left and around, 30 / YEAR OF - FRIENDLY RELATIONS; at lower right, GOOD (winged foot logo) YEAR / A LEADER IN / RESEARCH; signed at bottom right, (RC monogram)

This is the 30 year version of Rene Chambellan's Goodyear series of medallions. All of these medallions came mounted to a wooden board to be hung in offices or shops that were selling Goodyear product. The design of this medal borrows heavily from another medal Chambellan designed in the same year. That medal was a generic Arts award medal that did not include the chemical vessels but shared the basic design with this medal.

The circular medal measures 108mm and is struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York. No mintage is reported.

References: MACo 1948-041-005

International Paper Company - Fiftieth Anniversary1948
Obverse of International Paper Company medal Reverse of International Paper Company medal
RC-IPC
Bronze

The medal's obverse depicts a tree in front of waterfall and wilderness in center field. Around, ★ INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY ★ / 1898 - 1948

The reverse bears dedication in center field: Presented to / in recognition of / more than a quarter / century of loyal / service with the / International Paper Company / or its subsidiaries; around, ★ FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY ★ / 1898 - 1948

The company was incorporated January 31, 1898, upon the merger of 18 pulp and paper mills in the northeastern United States. Its founders and first two presidents were William Augustus Russell and Hugh J. Chisholm. The newly formed company supplied 60 percent of all newsprint in the country.

This is another very nice Chambellan medal that exists in different variants. I know of a Canadian version of this medal that differs in the text on the obverse.

The medal measures 62mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

References: MACo 1948-045

American Cancer Society Award1948
RC-ACS
Bronze

The obverse bears tunic-wearing hero with shield and sword slaying snake-like dragon with thrust through winding neck. The shield bears the American Cancer Society's logo. Above, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY AWARD; signed below shield with artist's (RC monogram).

The reverse bears the ACS's sword with twin-serpent caduceus. Across, FOR / DISTINGUISHED / SERVICE / IN / CANCER / CONTROL; incuse, dedication to EDMUND R. VADEBONCOEUR.

The edge is marked TIFFANY & CO BRONZE.

I could not locate an exact date for this medal but it looks like it was first awarded in 1949, so Rene Chambellan probably designed it in 1948. Any additional information would be highly welcome.

The medal is struck in bronze by Tiffany & Company of New York.

Detroit's 250th Anniversary1951
Obverse of Detroit 250th Anniversary Medal Reverse of Detroit 250th Anniversary Medal
RC-GYTR
Bronze

The obverse bears Cadillac and soldiers in a canoe arriving at shore awaited by three North American Indians. Above, ANTOINE DE LA MOTHE CADILLAC FOUNDER OF DETROIT; below, 250th ANNIVERSARY 1951; signed in lower right, RENE P. CHAMBELLAN

The reverse bears view of modern city of Detroit with inset view of Fort Pontchartrain. Above, DETROIT'S 250TH BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL / 1951; below, PAST . PRESENT . FUTURE; in inset, OLD FORT / PONTCHARTRAIN / 1701; in banner, CIVIC CENTER

The brochure that came with the medal explains that the name Detroit comes from the French "Les Detroits", which means "The Straits" and refers to the strategic location where the Frensh established their trading post.

The medallions were originally sold for $2.00 each, plus 25c for wrapping and postage when mailed. Collectors could also spring for a handsome genuine leather case for $12.00 extra, quite an amount in 1951!

This bronze medal has a diameter of 72.2mm and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York.

Lammot DuPont Safety Award1952
Lammot DuPont Safety Award
RC-LDSA
Bronze

Listing this plaque under the "Medals" rather than the "Other Works" section is a bit of a stretch. It is mounted on a large mahogany board and intended to be displayed on a wall. I put it here because it is a bronze bas-relief work and can be seen as a medallic object even though - at 255mm x 380mm - it is very much on the large side.

The plaque shows two conjoined male figures wearing laurels, figure in back holding a palm frond, figure in front holding flask in one hand and shield in other; all kinds of chemical laboratory equipment arrayed at their feet and large chemical industry installations behind them. Above, LAMMOT DUPONT SAFETY AWARD; below, MANUFACTRING CHEMISTS' ASSOCIATION / FOR IMPROVEMENT IN INDUSTRIAL SAFETY / AND REDUCTION IN INJURY FREQUENCY

Elsa Atson of the Chemical Heritage Foundation graciously agreed to do some research on my behalf and unearthed the following information in the MCA minutes:

During his long association with the MCA, Lammot du Pont was keenly interested in chemical plant safety. It was at his instigation that the Association's safety activities began, and he was responsible for the establishment of the monthly injury reporting service introduced in 1946.

His interest continued after retirement, and he offered to finance annual awards to member companies for injury frequency rate reductions. The Board of Directors accepted the offer in April, 1950, and the first awards were made at the Association's annual meeting in 1952.

The prestige associated with the Lammot du Pont Safety Award makes it one of the most coveted of all industry awards. Undoubtedly, efforts to win it have contributed to the reduction of the overall member company injury frequency rate.

Based on this information, Rene Chambellan probably started working on this design in 1950 but I have dated the plaque with the award's inaugural year. This instance of the plaque was awarded to the SUNOLIN CHEMICAL COMPANY in 1979.

Many thanks to Renaissance Man Antiques for granting me the use of the picture.

The Zodiac1967
Aries
Aries
Bronze with tan patina
Taurus
TAURUS
Bronze with tan patina
Libra
LIBRA
Bronze with tan patina

Aries depicts belted ram rearing l. In upper right quadrant, ARIES; at bottom, © / MACO 1967

Taurus shows muscular bull with swishing tail facing l. IAbove, TAURUS; under forehoof, © MACO 1967

Libra depicts nude female with diaphanous cloth lightly wrapped around her holding scales. At right, LIBRA; at bottom, © MACO 1967

These medals were issued in 1967 when Chambellan had already been dead for 12 years, so Chambellan must have designed the twelve Zodiac medals for the Medallic Art Company at an earlier time. Apparently the Zodiac was a much requested motif and Chambellan used it frequently in his works. In 1936 Chambellan had assisted Paul Manship with his famous Atlas sculpture, which carries zodiacal symbols on the globe's circumference, then in 1940 he put the zodiac signs on the ceiling of the RKO Theater in New York. Before its demolition in 1977, mounted wall reliefs with designs reminiscent of these medals could be admired for quite a while in the New York Airline Building.

These medals have a diameter of 69.7mm. They struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York and Danbury, Connecticut. The mintage is not reported.

This section has yet to be written.


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.
Information about the Goodyear Race Trophy
Don Berliner, "History's Most Important Racing Aircraft" p93-94.

Research Archives and Websites

Louisville Art Deco
A resource page about Rene Paul Chambellan's life and architectural works.
Wikipedia
Some basic biographic info with pictures of a few works.
Website dedicated to Rene Chambellan
Upcoming website by Bob Perrone, Paul Chambellan's grandson.

Museums

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Chambellan's Society of Medalists medal.
Brooklyn Museum
Sculptures from the West Side Highway.