Theme/Style – Medals, sculpture
Media – Bronze, silver
Artistic Focus – Pierre Turin was one of France’s premiere bronze medalists. Though he produced scores of medals through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, it is his work in the 1920s and 1930s that epitomizes the finest of France’s Art Deco medallic art. By far his most famous artwork is the medal he created for the event that gave Art Deco its name – Paris’s 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Turin’s engraving in bronze, depicting a woman gracefully dropping flowers through the clouds, became a symbol of the modern age, and remains one of the most collectible medals of the 20th century.
Career Highlights –
- Pierre Turin was born in Sucy-en-Brie, France in 1891. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under preeminent medallic artists Frédéric-Charles Victor de Vernon and Henri-Auguste Patey.
- Turin won the 1920 Grand Prix de Rome, a prestigious scholarship for painters and sculptors.
- In 1925 Turin was commissioned to create a bronze medal for Paris’s landmark Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. The medal’s image was used on promotional graphics for the exposition, and received worldwide attention. Examples can be found in numismatic collections at Harvard University, the Wolfsonian-Florida International University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Numismatic Society; and in museum collections including the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minnesota and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
- Other Art Deco medals Turin created during the 1930s include commemoratives for the 50th Anniversary of the Comité Français des Expositions, the 1935 Exposition Internationale Bruxelles, and the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques; and portrait medals depicting Hercules, Docteur Charles Buizard, Saint Michel, and Baruch Spinoza.
- Turin was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit, in 1936.
- Turin’s medals are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, among others.
- Pierre Turin passed away in 1968.
Selection of Works by this Artist
Bibliographic references are available upon request.