Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Medal Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of General Motors

Designer:
Norman Bel Geddes (American, Adrian, Michigan 1893–1958 New York)
Date:
1933
Medium:
Silver
Dimensions:
3in. (7.6cm)
Classification:
Medals and Plaquettes
Credit Line:
Gift of General Motors Corporation (through Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., President), 1933
Accession Number:
33.150.1,2
Not on view
This medallion, commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of General Motors, is an example of the Streamlined style that dominated architecture and design in America from the late 1920s to the end of the 1930s. With its abstracted, teardrop-shaped vehicle form depicted in motion, with the tall winglike element rising from its center, the overall effect is one of speed and movement-characteristic of the Streamlined style and appropriate to the automobile and airplane age. Norman Bel Geddes was trained as a theatrical set designer but best known for another project for General Motors, the Futurama exhibition at the 1939 New York World's Fair. This exhibit, through which visitors were propelled on a giant conveyor belt, depicted a utopian vision of America in the near future, a world dependent on the speed and efficiency of the automobile for work and recreation.
Inscription: Signed and dated (obverse): NORMAN BEL GEDDES © 1933; inscribed (obverse): TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF/ MOTOR TRANSPORTATION; (reverse): COMMEMORATING/ THE TWENTYFIFTH/ ANNIVERSARY OF/ GENERAL MOTORS/ 1933/ 1908; (edge): MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y. SILVER
General Motors Corporation (1933; their gift to MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 16, 2000–January 7, extended to February 4, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 127).

Newport Beach, Calif. Orange County Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 25–August 19, 2001, unnumbered cat.

Flint, Mich. Flint Institute of Arts. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," September 14–December 16, 2001, unnumbered cat.

Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," January 11–April 7, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Charlotte, N. C. Mint Museum of Craft and Design. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 3–July 28, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Tulsa, Okla. Philbrook Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," August 23–November 17, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Norman Bel Geddes. Miracle in the Evening. Ed. William Kelley. Garden City, N. Y., 1960, pp. 346–47.

Wendy Kaplan, ed. Designing Modernity: The Arts of Reform and Persuasion, 1885–1945. Selections from the Wolfsonian. Exh. cat., Wolfsonian, Miami Beach. New York, 1995, p. 328, no. 114, ill. (color; Wolfsonian, Miami Beach collection).



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