Press release from the American Numismatic Society:
Dutch artist Geer Steyn became the fifty-seventh recipient of
the J. Sanford Saltus Award for excellence in medallic art at the
biannual conference of the International Art Medal Federation (FIDEM) in
Ottawa, Ontario on May 29, 2018.
Donald Scarinci, chairman of the Saltus Award Committee of the American Numismatic
Society presented the award at the American Delegation reception
in the Canadian Museum of Nature.
The award was created with a grant to the ANS by J. Sanford Saltus
in 1913 to recognize and encourage excellence in the art of the medal.
The first Saltus award was presented in 1919; the silver award medal
was designed by the prominent German-born numismatic and architectural
sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman.
Geer Steyn’s (b. 1945) studies in sculpture began at the
Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam, where he initially
followed the Academy’s traditional emphasis in figurative work.
Thereafter he studied with Fritz Wotruba (1907–1975), a preeminent
Austrian abstract sculptor, who greatly influenced Steyn’s subsequent
work. Besides his work in medallic art, Steyn is widely known and
praised for his large-scale sculptures in stone that have been
featured in exhibits alongside his medals.
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He joins the ranks of other significant artists who have been
awarded the medal including, among dozens of others, James Earle
Fraser (1919), Victor D. Brenner (1922), Paul Manship (1925), Lee
Lawrie (1937), Donald DeLue (1967), Kauko Räsänen (1986), Gustaaf
Hellegers (2001), and João Duarte (2011).
Three previous recipients of the Saltus award were on hand for the
presentation of the award — Eugene Daub (1991), Jeannie
Stevens-Sollman (1999), and Ron Dutton (2008)—who joined Scarinci in
praising Steyn’s work.
As Scarinci noted, what sets Steyn’s work apart is their tactile
quality. “While these hand-held pieces work visually,” he continued,
“it is the act of holding them and touching them where the real
experience lies. It is communication beyond the visual and beyond the
boundary of mere words or text. Geer Steyn’s medals are sculpture!”
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The American Numismatic Society, organized in 1858 and incorporated
in 1865 in New York State, operates as a research museum under Section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is recognized as a publicly
supported organization under section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) as confirmed on
November 1, 1970.