Passages to Reconstruction
Colorado Springs
Reports from the Congress: September 19-22, 2007

For over half a century, La Federation Internationale de la Medaille (FIDEM), has been celebrating a biannual Congress and Exhibition of medallic art.

The title Passages of Reconstruction conveys a message of strength and hope following Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami that devastated South and Southeast Asia.

FIDEM News from Cory Gillilland

The thirtieth FIDEM Congress is over and what a Congress it proved to be. Those who skipped the event really missed a great experience. Any number of Europeans who are regular attendees at FIDEM Congress' have contacted me to say that this Congress ranks among the very best that they have attended. The final count of attendees was 120 of which one third were American and the remainder came from abroad. The folks at ANA are to be congratulated for having really put on a stellar event. There were concurrent lectures and workshops going on every day so that attendees had the opportunity to choose between subjects that interested them. The complaints here surrounded the fact that all of the lectures were interesting and one could not attend them all. There was a social event almost every evening of the Congress with plenty of good American wine and hors d'oeuvres. The AMSA sponsored reception held at the ANA on Wednesday was a beautiful party.

Thursday evening we had a bar-be- cue at the Garden of the Gods. Then the Friday gala and the final banquet on Saturday that were spectacular. Sadly we also had to say goodbye to so many friends from so many places.

The medal exhibition which was put up by the ANA is excellent and a "must see". One would not believe the breath and depth of the art. The medals are going to remain on display in Colorado Springs for the next nine months. I hope that everyone who has an opportunity visits the Money Museum to see what is currently going on with medallic art world wide. I find it exciting and I am sure you will too.

Sarah Peters sculpted the FIDEM Congress medal which went to every person who was registered at the Congress. Mashiko designed the American delegation medal which is given by the US FIDEM delegation to every American that is registered at the Congress and also to the delegated from each foreign country that attends the Congress. Congratulations to both artists, their work make us all proud of what is being done by American medallic artists.

There was a change in the guard this year. At the general assembly of FIDEM, Mashiko was elected to be the new delegate for the United States. She has been an exceptional vice delegate and I am certain she will be an even more distinguished delegate. Jeanne Stevens-Sollman will continue to serve as the vice-delegate for the U.S.A.

When I notified the executive committee that I thought it was time for me to step down as the delegate they surprised me by nominating me for FIDEM Vice President. I am flattered by this honor and hope that I will be able to justify your show of support.

FIDEM report from FIDEM Online

On September 19, the congress was opened with Mr. Kenneth Bressett from Money Museum as the Master of Ceremonies. The speakers were Barry Stuppler, ANA President, Mr. Carlos Baptista da Silva, FIDEM President, and Dr. Lars O. Lagerqvist, FIDEM Honorary President. The Keynote Speaker was Mr. Edmund Moy, US Mint Diretor. The afternoon session speakers were Peter van Alfen, Robert W. Hope and Stephen Scher.

The Opening of the Exhibition at the ANA Money Museum took place in the afternoon followed by a reception. FIDEM XXX Parallel Exhibition of medals by 14 sculptors from 14 countries who had reached the age of 70 or more, was opened at the same location.

The Grand Prix was announced at the Opening. It was awarded Mr. Helder Batista from Portugal for all his art medals displayed in the exhibition. An Honorable Mention was awarded Mr. László Szlávics Jr. from Hungary.

On September 20, there were three parallel lecture sessions and in the afternoon buses took the participants to an Arts Business Center and to a barbeque in the magnificent Garden of the Gods.

Friday September 21 was dedicated to six different lecture sessions. In the evening the congress was invited to the Money Museum to the public opening of the exhibition and to Fine Arts Center where Mr. Otakar Duºek from Czech Republic gave a lecture on his medallic art. The event was followed by a reception.

On Saturday, September 22, the General Assembly confirmed the new Statutes for FIDEM and elected the new Executive Committee, the Consultative Committee and nominated the new delegates. Mr. Ilkka Voionmaa, Finland, was elected President and Ms Maria Rosa Figueiredo, Portugal, was elected General Secretary. Mr. Claude Arthus-Bertrand was elected Honorary Member of FIDEM.

The Closing Reception and Banquet was held at Cheyenne Lodge at the Broadmoor hotel. The new FIDEM At 70 -medal was given to Mr Kenneth Bressett, ANA, Mr Carlos Baptista da Silva, the Past President of FIDEM, Dr. Lars O. Lagerqvist, the Honorary President of FIDEM. It was also awarded Mr. Claude Arthus-Bertrand, Honorary Member of FIDEM, former President Mark Jones and former Vice-Presidents Mariangela Johnson and Pierre Zanchi, who were not present. Mr Edmund Moy, US Mint Director had received the medal at the Opening Ceremony. The Grand Prix, the FIDEM At 70 -medal and 2000 euros, was given to Mr. Helder Batista. Diplomas were distributed to the three prize winners and the seven who had reached the second stage of the FIDEM at 70 -medal competition.

FIDEM AT 70" - Art Medal Competition for FIDEM artist members.

The competition was to find a two-sided medal celebrating the ethos of FIDEM's support of the art of the medal and the jury chose a medal by Allesandro Verdi of Italy to commemorate FIDEM's 70th anniversary. The jury liked the medal's timeless quality, particularly the exuberance of the male figure on one side and the floral motive on the other, which represents the way FIDEM has grown and matured.

The competition took place in three stages. In the first stage designs were submitted as drawings on paper with a short explanation of the idea behind the design. The jury that met in September 2006 in Budapest, Hungary narrowed the field to 10 semifinalists, then selected three drawings to be rendered in plaster. The jury considered the plasters in early 2007 and chose Alessandro Verdi's work. The 10 semifinalists received prizes and the three finalists were recognized for their achievements.

The members of the jury were Mr Carlos Baptista da Silva, Portugal, Ms Cory Gillilland, USA, Mr Guus Hellegers, The Netherlands, Ms Eniko Szöllössy, Hungary, Ms Marie-Astrid Voisin, Sweden, and Mr Ivan Mirnik, Croatia. The secretary of the jury was Mr. Ilkka Voionmaa, Finland.

The Post-Congress Tour trip departed on Sunday September 23. to Santa Fe and returned on Wednesday 26. All in all, it was a beautiful congress. Everything went smoothly, lectures held a high standard and the medals exhibited gave a fine overall picture of medals produced in the world after the FIDEM XXIX Congress in Seixal 2004. All the lectures given at FIDEM XXX will be published in the Médailles in due course.


Dick Johnson writes: "Art medals of the world are alive and depending upon who you talk to they may also be said to be 'alive and well.' The major art medal event in America for decades took place at the 30th FIDEM Congress held at Colorado Springs September 18th to 22nd, an event usually held every other year in Europe.

An exhibition of 1,500 medals from artists in 32 countries were on display in the exhibition gallery of the American Numismatic Association headquarters building (with lectures at the nearby Antlers Hilton Hotel). Well lighted exhibit cases displayed medallic items in a range of compositions from wood to gold. But a preponderance of mixed media seemed to dominate the international exhibit, as were medallic themes, art styles, shapes, attachments, patinas and sheer visual delights. The word 'wow' can never be overused at an art medal exhibit.

The official medal of the event was revealed -- and offered for sale -- a stunning art medal of extreme creativity. A complete medal is presented in a single medal. But with a rearrangement of up to four specimens of the same medal five different layouts can be achieved. The medal was struck in arc shape with a male head on the obverse and a female head on the reverse to fit a notch at the base. The medal is the invention, design and modeling of Sarah Peters of Falmouth, Massachusetts, who is new to art medals. Tip to collectors: buy four medals as the charm is to rearrange the medals in a new pattern each time.

A massive catalog covered every one of the 1,500 medals with a bonus 'FIDEM at 70' parallel exhibit. The main exhibit contained the recent work of world medallists in this permanent form of hand-held art --numismatics contribution to glyptic art. The parallel exhibit contained 150 medals of exceptional medallic work of the past. The latter were in color in contrast to the black-and-white illustrations of the main exhibit. The 373-page catalog was a credit to the publications department of ANA who prepared it.

A new feature of this FIDEM was a Saturday bourse among artists. This was dominated by American and Canadian artists who could easily transport medals for sale. Only one European artist, Czech Otakar Dusek, took advantage of this as other art medallists perhaps did not wish the hassle of customs and toting a heavy load of potential sale items. Dusek also gave a slide presentation of his medal of Czech president dissident Vaclav Havel, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center next door to ANA on Friday evening.

FIDEM 2007: An American Success Story, by Donald Scarinci

At FIDEM 1987 Mico Kaufman did a modernist conference medal and American artists exhibited more modernist art medals than in all of their previous FIDEM conferences combined. The work of artists like John Cook and Eugene Daub clearly had an impact on American art medals by 1987.

Twenty years later, at FIDEM 2007, even with the absence of medals by great artists like Alex Shagin and Marika Somogyi, the American medals on exhibit were very strong as a whole.

Edmund Moy, Director of the United States mint gave the Keynote address and announced the beginning of an American neo-renaissance. It was the first time a United States Mint director personally attended a FIDEM conference. His speech on the opening day of the conference was the most significant policy statement made by a United States Mint Director in over a century. His choice of an international forum hosted by America made this the most historic event at any FIDEM conference since its first one in 1937.

Moy's speech resonated throughout the rest of the conference week. The discussion about American coin and medal design added to the attention that the American exhibit medals received, causing many lively debates among both American and international delegates.

Americans delivered 13 of the 27 papers presented at FIDEM 2007 which is almost half. Even Dick Johnson was in attendance to offer his history and insights to conference delegates.

Conference papers by American artists Jeannie Sollman, Eugene Daub, Don Everhart, Mashiko, James Malone Beach, George Cuhaj, Beverly Maze were very powerful. American Scholars like Alan Stahl, Peter Van Alfen , Steven Scher, David Alexander and Robert Hoge placed the medal in its historical context.

The conference facilities, the dinners, the alternative activities for spouses and companions were fun, informative and well run. In fact, FIDEM 2007 may well be remembered not only as the most historic, but as the best run FIDEM conference ever held.

The ANA staff did everything well and they did it with western hospitality. They produced a wonderful catalog, organized the exhibition of medals and ran the programs. ANA staff even served drinks and cleaned up after the exhibition opening reception. If the ANA has problems with management, it was impossible to tell by the high spirits and enthusiasm of its employees at FIDEM 2007.

The exhibit was beautifully assembled with great care to medal placement, lighting, and tagging. There are always late changes that are made in an exhibit of this scope and size, but each last minute change was made promptly to the satisfaction of the artist or delegate requesting it.

The medals could be considered a bit close together for some people's taste, but most people agreed that the trade off for medal spacing to include more medals in such an upscale, professional museum space was worth it.

The medals will remain on display for 9 months and catalogs will continue to be sold by the ANA until they are sold out. Sarah Peter's wonderful conference medal will continue to be sold as well.