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Salmagundi Club Medallion1938

The obverse bears head of Dionysus above kylix with hands flanking it on left and right; sculptor's tools, lyre, books, and brushes around edge. Around Dionysus' head, SALMAGVNDI · CLVB

The reverse shows a female figure holding a scroll in one hand and a laurel in the other; sun over stylized waves to left, owl to right. Flanking figure, HONOR · ET / MERITVS; signed at bottom left, U·A·RICCI / SC

Every medal is edge inscribed to its recipient.

The Salmagundi is the oldest existing art club in America. Founded in late 1871 by a group composed of sculptors, painters, illustrators, an actor and a writer who gathered weekly to discuss art and sketch. Owing to their diverse backgrounds they adopted the name "Salmagundi Sketch Club" in 1877 after Washington Irving's Salmagundi Papers. The club moved about for many years, dropping the "Sketch" from their title in 1905, and finally settled for good at 47 Fifth Avenue in 1918. Their roster has included some of America's greatest artists including Edwin A. Abbey, William Merritt Chase, F. Childe Hassam, John LaFarge, Edward Potthast, Howard Pyle, Louis C. Tiffany and N.C. Wyeth.

The medal of honor and merit was designed in 1930 to be awarded to a member chosen by the Executive Committee for outstanding service to the club. This medal was designed around the same time that Paul Manship was designing his famous Dionysus medal for the Society of Medalists and the parallels in imagery are striking. The camaraderie of the club always focused around good food and especially drink. The first beer ever served on Fifth Avenue was at Salmagundi. The symbols of a book, lyre and tools for painting and sculpting allude to the diversity of the club's membership. The medal has been awarded 52 times since its inception.

The circular medallion measures 79.8mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York. No mintage is reported.

References: MACo 1938-006

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