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Jules Clément Chaplain

Started by Figleaf, July 06, 2010, 02:29:03 PM

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Abridged quote from Forrer:

CHAPLAIN, JULES CLEMENT (French). Contemporary Medallist, residing at Paris, and one of the glorious leaders of the present renaissance of medallic art. He was born at Mortagne (Orne), on the 12th of July, 1839, studied under the sculptor Jouffroy, and the medal-engraver Oudiné, and entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1857. He obtained in i860 the second prize at the "Concours de Rome" for gem and medal-engraving; the subject was a Warrior depositing the palm of Victory on the altar of Mars; and in i863 he Won the first prize for a medal, "Mercury giving drink to a panther," and a gem, "Head of Mercury."

From 1864 to 1868, the artist continued his studies in Italy, and from there sent several drawings: Portrait of Andrea del Sarto, The Creation of Man after Michael-Angelo, Philosophy, after Raphael, etc. He exhibited at the Salons of 1863, 1864, 1866, 1868 and 1869 several busts, Portrait-medallions of Schnetz, Director of the French Academy at Rome (1866), R. Robert-Fleury, and Mme Carolus-Duran, and a few medals, Head of Ceres, I867, Victorious France (a study), a copy of a Syracusan coin, jetons of the Comédie francaise, and others, and the medal of the Universal Exhibition of 1867. At the Salons of 1870 and 1872, he was rewarded, and after the Exhibition of 1878, he obtained the award medal of the first class. In 1878, M. Chaplain was created Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and Officer in 1888; he was also elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, on the 9th of April, 1881, in place of the medallist Jacques Edouard Gatteaux (1788-1881).

On the Visit of Their Majesties Nicholas II. and Alexandra to the Mint (7. October, 1896), M. Cochery, Finance Minister, offered to the Sovereigns two examples in gold of the medal executed by M. Chaplain to commemorate the event. This medal is a master-piece, and one of the finest ever struck. M. Chaplain has since been entrusted with the engraving of the gold coinage of France, and the execution of one of the official medals for the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900. As a sculptor, the artist has executed statues in stone of the painters Henri Regnault, and Gros, one in bronze of an Archer, at the Paris H6tel de Ville, another in stone of Rollin, at the Sorbonne, and marble busts of Albert Dumont, Francois Wey, Tresca, &c.

Besides the new gold coinage of France, the dies for which were completed in 1897, and of which there are two varieties of patterns, M. Chaplain has also engraved the latest coins of Abyssinia (1898) for the Emperor Menelik, and his signature is found further on the obv. of some prize medals: Napoleon III., with laureate bust; To Merit, Minerva seated facing; - Firemen, VIRTVS.FLAMMARVM. VICTRIX, &c.

M. Chaplain is perhaps the greatest of modern medallists; some give the preference to M. Roty's work; but I do not think that he has been surpassed, even by the latter for true dignity and harmony, and beautiful execution of details; - with him, everything is rich, powerful, and shows a master's hand.


20 francs obv.jpg  20 francs rev.jpg
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Jules Chaplain.jpg

From "Coin Designers, Modelers and Engravers (2008 Edition)" by Charles R Hosch.


Jules Clément Chaplain won the Prix de Rome in 1863. He was named the official medallist of the French government
(1877), a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (1878), and to the seat at the Académie des Beaux-Arts left vacant by the death
of Jacques-Edouard Gatteaux. He engraved the official portraits of every president of the French Republic from Edme
Patrice MacMahon in 1878 to Émile Loubet in 1899. He received the commission for engraving the gold coinage of France
at the urging of Roger-Marx, and his official gold medal commemorating the visit of Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra
of Russia to Paris in 1896 was hailed as a masterpiece. Chaplain, by the late 1870s, had developed an intimate and
realistic style of portraiture. Beginning with his portrait of the medallist Auguste Barre in 1879, Chaplain executed an
excellent series of some twenty cast medals representing prominent artists and architects of his day. Chaplain was one
of the first artists to produce models for cast medals which were equally effective when reduced in size and struck. This
had the effect of blurring the traditional distinctions between these two techniques and opening, by the end of the nineteenth
century, the field of medallic art to increased experimentation by artists who did not necessarily follow the conventional
career path of Chaplain's generation.

Designs: France Obverse & Reverse/ 10 Fr. gold, 20 Fr. gold 1899-1914 KM-846, 847. Ethiopia O&R/ 1 B. 1899-1903 KM-19; 1/4 W., ½ W., 1 W. 1897 KM-16, 17, 18.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.