John Flanagan (sculptor)

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John Flanagan, Cosmopolitan, An Illustrated Monthly Magazine, May 1900.

John Flanagan (1865–1952)[1] was a sculptor who was known for his designs for coins and medals. He is perhaps best known as the designer of the Washington quarter obverse in use since 1932.

Washington quarter[edit]

Flanagan designed the Washington U.S. quarter dollar coin, which was issued in 1932. Flanagan's initials can be found at the base of Washington's neck. Flanagan designed both sides of the quarter. His original design for the quarter continued through 1998, after which the new "State Quarter" series resulted in the modification of Flanagan's portrait of Washington and the removal altogether of the reverse design.

US Quarter engraved by Flanagan.
Obverse: Portrait of George Washington, year and United States national motto (In God We Trust). Reverse: Bald eagle with wings spread and standing on a shaft of arrows with two olive sprays. Face-value, the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM" (Out of many, one) and country name.
35,924,089,384 coins minted from 1965 to 1998.

Medallic work[edit]

Flanagan was a prolific medallic artist. Among his more important works, he designed the official medal of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. He later sculpted the Verdun Medal, a gift of the United States to France commemorating the World War I Battle of Verdun. The inscription on it reads, 'They Shall Not Pass', and the medal is found in the Lafayette Database of American Art in French National collections. Flanagan also created the first issue of the influential Circle of Friends of the Medallion series, 1909's Hudson-Fulton Celebration, and contributed to the successor Society of Medalists series with his Aphrodite-Swift Runners medal of 1932.

Other work[edit]

From 1885 to 1890, Flanagan was a studio assistant to Augustus St. Gaudens and worked on several large projects. A bronze portrait bust of St. Gaudens by Flanagan of 1924 exists in several copies, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, New York University and elsewhere.[2]

In 1911, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1928.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FLANAGAN, John." Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 November 2014. (subscription required)
  2. ^ American Sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: A catalogue, pp. Volume 2, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), google books