Jean-Désiré Ringel d’Illzach (French 1849-1916)

Ringel was a French-Alsaltian sculptor and engraver best known for his work in medallions. He grew up studying both art and music and became a student of sculptors François Jouffroy and Alexandre Falguière. Exhibiting work in the Salon frequently, he created sculptural and ornamental pieces, but was most skilled in working with polychrome wax. After the Franco-Prussian War, Ringel added “Illzach” to his last name to assert his Alsatian heritage. While studying art in Italy, he became enamored by the art of the Renaissance, and returned with an interest in employing classical forms. His plaquettes of famous thinkers and artists include motifs that represent different biographical aspects.

Ringel d’Illzach attended the conservatoire de Musique, the Ecole de Dessin (the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs), and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Some of his most memorable medallion portraits include Ludwig van Beethoven, Sarah Bernhardt, Alexander Dumas, Nathaniel Hawthorne, W.H. Vanderbilt, and Emile Zola. His works have shown at The Musee d’Orsay; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the British Museum, London; Art Institute of Chicago; Dahesh Museum of Art, New York; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.