Secessionist Medals

Secessionist Artists - 1905 through 1913 => Unknown Artists => Topic started by: Rabenauge on February 29, 2020, 03:33:06 AM

Title: Student award medal 1913
Post by: Rabenauge on February 29, 2020, 03:33:06 AM

Unknown medallist.  1913. 

1913 / VNTERRICHTS / ANSTALT / DES KGL. / KVNSTGEWERBE / MUSEUMS / Franz Blazek / BERLIN (School of the Royal Applied Arts Museum, Berlin).  Cast bronze, dark brown patina with burnished highlights, 74.9 mm, 126.4 g.  Fast gussfrisch (near as-cast).  Rare, probably unique (see below).

Obverse: she-wolf lying across field to left, head turned back to right, suckles two fat, naked children; inscription K K G M (Königliche Kunst-Gewerbe-Museum) upper right.  Reverse: eight-line title inscription.

Reference: Steguweit, Wolfgang.  Ars Juventuti: Berliner Schülermedaillen von der Unterrichtsanstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums zur Hochschule für bildende Künste.  Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Münzkabinett, 2009.  Although this medal design is not illustrated or listed, the book nevertheless contains much relevant information which is cited below.

In the early Twentieth Century, the Berliner Unterrichtsanstalt (founded 1866) was directed by the architect Bruno Paul (1874 - 1968) and employed a number of notable artists as instructors, among them the sculptors Ludwig Gies, Wilhelm Gerstel, Fritz Klimsch, Waldemar Raemisch, Walter Reger, Edwin Scharff, Richard Scheibe, and Joseph Wackerle.

Pupils and students of the faculties of applied- and free arts, as well as architecture, participated in an internal competition for production of awards medals, submitting their designs as 75 mm models in plaster or wax.  The best models were selected by a jury comprised of heads of the individual faculties, especially the sculpture instructors.  At the end of the school year, the final bronze casts would be awarded to other students for their achievements.  Moreover, each recipient was allowed to select "his" or "her" medal from the pool of winning designs chosen by the jury, and those models were then distributed to the Berlin foundries (Barth, Gladenbeck, Noack) for production.  Very few casts were made,  possibly only a single example, and in most cases not exceeding ten (Steguweit, p.11).  A few additional medals might be ordered and labeled as collector's pieces (Sammler-Exemplare; e.g. catalog no. 10, p. 48).  Thus these medals are often quite rare, especially an example bearing a recipient's name.

Franz Blazek (1887 - 1941), originally trained as a sculptor in Vienna, continued his studies in the Berliner Unterrichtsanstalt 1906 - 1914, and became a sculpture-class assistant 1914 - 1916, under the instructor J. Wackerle.  Simultaneously he worked at Majolika-Manufaktur Karlsruhe and Porzellan-Manufaktur Nymphenburg (Steguweit, p. 134).

The script style of the name Franz Blazek on the present award medal is the same as that of his initials FB on his medal selected for the 1913 Befreiungskrieg (War of Liberation) and Kaiser Wilhelm II Jubilee commemoration (as shown in Steguweit, p. 112, no. 76).
It would, however, be a mistaken assumption that Blazek's name on this medal indicates that he was its designer.  The full name spelled out is rather that of the recipient, whereas the medallist's identity, if present, would be marked by initials (Steguweit, p. 51, note to catalog no. 13).  We conclude that the present example of this medal was awarded to Blazek, but unfortunately the medallist remains anonymous.