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 Dora De Pedery-Hunt  (1923 - 2008)

About: Dora De Pedery-Hunt
 

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada/Hungary      Known for: bronze commemorative medals

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
The Raven, bronze, 5.5" x 2.5" x 1.75", signed and dated 1965
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Dora De Pedery-Hunt was a sculptor and graphic artist.  She was born in Budapest, Hungary and also lived in Hanover, Germany (1945-1947) until emigrating to Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1948), where she lived for the rest of her life and died.
 
Her primary medium was the bronze medal.  It is estimated she has designed over 600 of them. They range in size from around 2” to 4”.  The subjects include international and national events (“Expo 70 Osaka”, the 1967 Canadian “Centennial Medal”), corporate and organization milestones (Hudson's Bay Company 300th Anniversary) and intimate family occasions (John Simon Tooke baptism); they also include religious themes( Christ), political figures (Trudeau) and awards (Canada Council medal). 

In addition, she has sculpted small bronze figures, portraits, monumental works and architectural commissions.  Her other mediums include clay (often for maquettes), wood, artificial stone, limestone, plastic and jewelery.  Her style is modern representational. 

Quotes: “Medals are my favorite form of expression ... They are like short poems.” And, “Clasp it in your fist, let your warmth enter the cold metal and then take it to the window. Watch it: The light hits some edges, hidden crevices appear, there are some mounds you had not even seen before. Feel the tension of the surface.  There is life underneath.  It is not a cold piece of metal any more: Trees grow here, bodies leap high, faces emerge.  All of this is brought about by you and only you can arrest this magic moment or change it any time with a light flick of your fingers.” - Dora De Pedery-Hunt.
 
She graduated with a Masters degree in Sculpture and Design from the Royal School for Applied Art, Budapest (1937-1943) where she studied under sculptors Elek Lux (1884 -1941), Béla Ohmann (1890 – 1968) and Jozsef Reményi (1887-1977).  In 1958, on the recommendation of Alan Jarvis, the director of the National Gallery of Canada, she received a Canada Council grant to study medals in galleries, museums and cathedrals throughout Europe. She worked as a teacher, in Toronto, at Northern Vocational School (1949-60), the Women's Art Association (c. 1956), and for long periods at the Ontario College of Art starting in 1957. She also lectured nationally and internationally.
 
Her early associates and influential friends were sculptors Frances Loring and Florence Wyle (see both in AskART).
 
She was a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (1953), the Sculptor’s Society of Canada (1953), the International Art Medal Federation (FIDEM) (1965), the Hungarian Society of Applied Art and the Hungarian Women's Fine Art Association.  She was elected an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1956 and a full member (RCA) in 1967.  In 1963 she was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists.
 
In addition to exhibiting with the above Canadian artist organizations, she has also exhibited her medals internationally at The Hague (1963), Rome (1963), Athens (1966), Paris (1967), Madrid (1968), Prague (1969), Bratislavia (1969), Cologne (1971), Helsinki (1973), Krakow (1975) and Budapest (1977).  Her first solo show of medals and small sculpture was at Dorothy Cameron Gallery (Toronto) in 1965.  In 1999 she had a solo exhibition at the Canadian Sculpture Centre (Toronto).
 
Her work is in many private and corporate collections.  It is also in numerous museums including the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), the Royal Cabinet of Medals (The Hague) and the Royal Cabinet of Medals (Brussels).  Among her architectural commissions are the carved limestone panels around Howard Kerr Hall (1962) at Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto.  Also at Ryerson are her monumental sculptures Girl with Trillium( limestone composite) and The Tree of Knowledge (bronze).
 
Her awards and honors include the Order of Canada (OC) (1974), one of the highest Canadian honors; the highest honor of her home province, the Order of Ontario (1991) (O.Ont.); the Centennial Medal (1967); and an Honorary Doctorate ( LL.D.) from York University, Toronto (1983).
 
She also designed the Canadian postage stamp honoring Sir Donald Smith; two coins for the Royal Canadian Mint, the 1976 Montreal Olympic $100 Commemorative coin, and the 1986 $100 coin commemorating the International Year of Peace.
 
From 1990 to 2003 * the image of Queen Elizabeth that appears on all Canadian coin currency, from the penny to the dollar, was designed by Dora De Pedery-Hunt.
 

Footnote:
* The Royal Canadian Mint on June 2, 2003, unveiled the new portrait of H.M. Queen Elizabeth ll created by Susanna Blunt (West Vancouver, B.C. artist). The new image was created in celebration of the Queen's Jubilee and has been used on all new Canadian coins in circulation since September 2003.
 

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke

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