Saturday, 25 February 2012

Edmundo Prati (1889-1970)

Most of the medals that I usually buy are either French or Belgium. Just occasionally I spot a one from another area. I bought this bronze medal sometime ago - I was attracted by it's strong art deco design. However, I knew nothing about the artist who designed it or the event that it commemorated.

It is signed E Prati on the front and was issued by the Uruguayan "Ministry of Public Education" to commemorate the Exhibition of French Painting and Course of Conferences in Montevideo 1940. 

For us Europeans, we would not have expected such an event to have taken place during the Second World War. However, Uruguay was neutral and even though the naval "Battle of the River Plate" had just taken place off the coast of Montevideo in December 1939, I wonder whether life continued relatively normally or perhaps this event was a highlight of a years effect by the war. I can't find any more information about this conference and I wonder whether it has a local academic event.

I could find information about the artist who can be fully named as Edmundo Prati. He and his twin brother, Eriberto were born in Paysandú, Uruguay in 1889. However, at an early age the family moved to Italy where they spent time with their artist uncle, Eugene; only to returned to Uruguay in 1906.

Then returning to Italy in 1920  to study sculpture at the Brera Academy and architecture at the School of Applied Arts, completing his studis in 1927. He won first prize every year and earning his degree with a first prize and the highest of praise. On completion of his final oral exam he was invited by the President of the Examining Board, Architect Moretti, to take a seat on the board.I don't  know whether he did take up this offer, but by 1931 he was back in Uruaguay for his first exhibition, showing work in Salton and then in Montovideo. 

His work was critically well recieved and his work won several awards, including; in 1937 - 1st & 2nd prize medal at the Salones de la Comisión de Bellas Artes, 1941 - 1st prize for a monument to José de San Martín" and another 2nd prize in 1942.

 Examples of his sculptural work.

His work would appear to have mainly been monumental sculptures including in Montevideo; the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument, monument to the Liberator Jose de San Martin, statue of Dr. Jose lrureta Goyena,statue of Dr. Louis A.Herrera,"The Last Charrúas","Tres Cruces Congress" on the facade of the Iglesia del Cordón. Other works found in Uruguay include the monumental  (triptych) of General Jose Artigas, in the city of Salto; the statue "The Sower", at the entrance to the city of Paysandu and the monumental statue of General Jose Garibaldiin the town of Dolores.
"The Last Charrúas"

He held several important academic position, including;
Chief curator and Artistic Director at the Parliament building in Montevideo
Professor of Sculpture at he School of Applied Arts,
Uruguayan National Commission of the Fine Arts.

It is believed that his designs were only used to create 23 medals during his career, some are art deco inspired and other are more classical, especially the portrait medals. I have list them all below and have tried and failed to trace pictures of each.

1-1918, portriat medal of Dr Joseph Lin Amorin, Joseph Lin 
2-1937, Centenary of the Department of Salto - a head of Minerva
3-1937,Annual Exhibition of Fine Arts - naked man kneeling, carving with chisel and mallet, the head of a woman left profile symbol of the Republic.
4-1938, Pedro Blanes Viale.Retrospective Exhibition.- bust of the artist.
5-1939, Gonzalo Vazquez Barriere / Motorist Centre in Uruguay -Portrait
6-1940, Commemorating the unveiling of theJose Gervasio Artigas Monument in Salto,
7-1940, French Painting Exhibition - shown at top and the same as number 3
8-1941, Juan Manuel Blanes Exhibition. - profile of Juan Manuel Blanes.
9-1941, Adolfo Folle Juanicó: Tribute to a president. - man behind trying to control a wild horse,  actually Alexander the Great taming the horse Bucephalus.
10-1945, Department of Visual Arts Contest.
- same as 3 & 7
11-1947, Commemorating the unveiling of the Juan Manuel Blanes Monument - similar to 8

12-1947, Facade of the Union building Manufacturing of Cork.
13-1947, Eduardo Fabini. 25 Anniversary of the musical poem "Campo"- man sitting right profile playing a harmonica.
14-1949,Military Academy. 1924 Course Applicants 1924-1949. Obverse: Same as the No. 6 Reverse: In the field, the insignia of the Military Academy and above it the legend: "MILITARY SCHOOL." In the periphery, burin engraving: "1924 COURSE CANDIDATES 1949" "Military School".
15-1949,  National Watercolor Exhibition - same as 3,7 & 11

16-1953, Colonel Leonardo Olivera.
17-1953, Dr Luis A Herrera. - portriat
18 -1955 Graphic Association of Uruguay- a woman standing with pen in his right hand resting on shield with the inscription "LIBERTY"
19-1955, Pablo Blanco Acevedo. Historical and Geographical Institute of Uruguay - portarit
20-1956, Uruguayan Institute of Numismatics. 1st Anniversary - the head of two women standing. One holds a spear in his right hand and his left hand rests on the national emblem.
21-1956, University Theatre. Mireya Award Murguia - Facade of a theatre with the inscription:"Apama". In front, three masks.
22- 1959, Tribute to General San Martin in Montevideo. - "Tribute to General Jose de San Martin, liberator of nations. Tribute Uruguay"."1959."
23-1963,Commemorating the unveiling of the General Jose de San Martin Monument.

He also created some wonderful cubist art deco bas relief panels as architectural detail on large buildings. Shown above are the panels on the former Banco La Caja Obera in Montevideo. He even was commemorated with his own postage stamp - that is fame !! 

There is plenty of information about Edmundo's career on the two websites listed below. However, one is in Spanish and the other Italian - I apologise for any minor or even major translations errors in my posting, as my only language is junior school English.

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Internet references
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