Saturday, 1 June 2013

Georges Guiraud - Medals

Jean- Joesph Georges Guiraud (1900-1989) was a French artist, sculptor and writer born in Toulouse who created some memorable monuments and small works in bronze from the mid 1920's until the 1950's. His most noted commission was the series of French coinage that circulated from c1950. It appears that his thorough moderne "Marianne" was used on 10, 20 and 50 franc coins.

I can't find much reference to his early years other than a brief reference to study under Boucher ? and some travel in Polynesia. However, wherever he studied, it was sufficient to allow him to express and develop his own style, a smoother less angular art deco, particularly evident in his post WW11 works.

Academic and critical success follow as his creations were accepted for exhibition at the Salon of French artists, where he was awarded a bronze medal in 1924 followed by a gold in 1930. He was also selected to enter the "Grand Prix de Rome, Graveur en médailles" in 1927-30, although I can't trace whether his medals were awarded any prize.

He was resident artist at the Villa Medici from 1927-1930 and in 1942 he was appointed "Peintres Officiels de la Marine Francaise", that is to say he was officially appointed artist for the French Navy. A politically sensitive appointment during WW11.

 The most imposing work associated with Guiraud is the Mémorial de la Résistance in the Western French town of Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure. It is a momumental 21 metre tall structure designed by the architect, François Poncelet, in the shape of a cross of Lorraine associated with "V" for Victory. Guiraud,  along with Raoul Lamourdedieu (1877 - 1943) and Emile Peyronnet (1872-1956), created the bas-relief panels around it's base.

He created many funerary monuments including the portrait on the left of the chemist Jean GÉRARD (1890-1956) to be found in the Cimetière SAINT-VINCENT de Montmartre, Paris. With it rests the pioneer of aviation and man of letters,  Louis CASTEX (1896-1968), again represented on a medallion (right) by Georges Guiraud.

Below are a selection of medals designed by Guiraud


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