Daniel Chester French (American, Exeter, New Hampshire 1850–1931 Stockbridge, Massachusetts)
Augustus Lukeman (1871–1935)
Diam. 3 in. (7.6 cm)
Gift of Robert W. de Forest, 1917
Not on view
French undertook his first numismatic commissions in the mid-1890s, paralleling a flowering of interest in commemorative medals by Beaux-Arts-trained American sculptors. He earned the order for the Catskill Aqueduct Medal through Robert de Forest, president of the board of trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art upon which French also served (1903–31). De Forest was also president of the Mayor's Catskill Aqueduct Celebration Committee, convened to honor the completion of a 163-mile system to bring fresh drinking water from the Catskill Mountains to New York City. The obverse depicts the profile head of a young woman crowned with laurel, an allegorical head of the City of Greater New York. On the reverse, a naked male youth pours water from a vessel against a faint outline of the Catskill Mountains in the background. French was aided by his former studio assistant Augustus Lukeman in the design and modeling.
Signature: [on the obverse]: D.C.F.
Inscription: [on the reverse]: TO COMMEMORATE THE COMPLETION / OF THE CATSKILL AQUEDUCT / AN ACHIEVEMENT OF CIVIC SPIRIT / SCIENTIFIC GENIUS AND FAITHFUL LABOR / 1905 NEW YORK 1917