Catskill Aqueduct

Artist: Daniel Chester French (American, Exeter, New Hampshire 1850–1931 Stockbridge, Massachusetts)

Artist: Augustus Lukeman (1871–1935)

Date: 1917

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: Diam. 3 in. (7.6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Robert W. de Forest, 1917

Accession Number: 17.155.1


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.