Saturday, 4 May 2013

Andre Lavrillier (1885-1958) - Medals

All Power and Aggression - Classical Greece meets French Art Deco.
The work of Andre Lavrillier (1885-1958)

These are the work of the French artist/medallist Andre Lavrillier and not surprisingly date from the 1920's30's, the style almost date itself. Clearly these designs must have been inspired by the art and stories of the classical world with Leda and the Swan a good example. Not quite the flat two dimensional depictions as seen on ancient fragments but not fully 3D either.

Lavrillier, is sometimes recorded as André Henri Lavrillier (1885-1958) but who is he ?? little is recorded about his life. What is known, is that he was a pupil of his father Gaston Lavrillier before studying under Jules-Clément Chaplain (1839 – 1909) and Antoine Bourdelle (1861–1929). Becoming Bourdelle's assistant as an engraver of medals.

A talented and skilful artist he won the Grand Prize of Rome in 1914 (as a medallist) and awarded a Diploma at the 1937 Paris International Exposition. He engraved many dies for the French Coins at the Paris Mint during the thirties, including the 5 Franc coin that was in circulation from 1933 until 1952.  He was a Jury Member at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and in Rome. He was also a Knight of the Legion d'Honneur, the French national award for Excellent civil or military conduct, similar to our MBE.

His designs were being used a long time after his death and now the best examples sell for remarkably high prices.  Recently an example of the Leda and the Swan medal dated 1975 was sold on eBay for $549 and another is for sale with a price of £975 (Link

In addition to his art deco designs, he was a talented portriat artist creating many medallions of prominent citizens.


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