Switzerland, Mexico, and the United States

In Mexico and the United States, the ties to — and struggle against — colonial powers are an essential part of the early medallic history of the two countries. This is seen, for example, in the Libertas Americana medal, which was commissioned in 1783 by Benjamin Franklin, then American ambassador to France, to commemorate France’s role in the American War of Independence. A nearly contemporaneous medal celebrating the Spanish queen was produced in Mexico, which achieved independence in 1821. The medal by the Swiss artist Jean Dassier probably represents the first successful execution of partial gilding on a medal.

  • Partially gilt bronze medal of a man in profile to the right

    Jean Dassier (1676–1763)
    George I, King of Great Britain (b. 1660; r. 1714–27), and George II, King of Great Britain (b. 1683; r. 1727–60), dated 1727
    Copper alloy (partial gilt), struck
    Diam.: 1 1/4 in. (3.17 cm)
    Scher Collection; Promised gift to The Frick Collection

    Cat. 133

  • Silver medal depicting the figure of Liberty with her long hair blowing in the wind and the Phrygian cap of freedom on a pole behind her

    Augustin Dupré (1748–1833) and Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738–1814)
    Libertas Americana, 1783
    Silver, struck
    Diam.: 1 7/8 in. (4.75 cm)
    Scher Collection

    Cat. 134

  • Terracotta sculpture of Zephyrus and Flora.  The two figures are sharing a kiss, Zephyrus is in the middle of crowning Flora with his left hand.

    Claude Michel, called Clodion (1738–1814)
    Zephyrus and Flora, 1799
    23 x 10 1/4 x 11 1/2 in. (58.4 x 26 x 29.2 cm)
    The Frick Collection; Henry Clay Frick Bequest

    Cat. 135

  • Silver medal of a woman in profile to the right, wearing a gown tied in the front with a sash

    Geronimo Antonio Gil (act. last quarter of 18th century)
    Maria Luisa of Parma (1751–1819; Queen Consort of Spain 1788–1808), dated 1793
    Silver, struck
    Diam.: 2 3/16 in. (5.63 cm)
    The Frick Collection; Gift of Stephen K. and Janie Woo Scher, 2016

    Cat. 136

  • Bronze medal of a man reclining in bed against pillows and with a blanket on his lap, sheets of paper in his left hand and a cigarette in his right

    Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907)
    Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894), dated 1887, (probably cast ca. 1907)
    Copper alloy, cast
    Diam.: 18 1/16 in. (45.9 cm)
    Scher Collection

    Cat. 137

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