MY ARTIST DATABANK indicated Frank Hagel was dead. I was surprised when Rob Vugteveen informed me that Frank Hagel was on the Internet with a current web site. I eagerly volunteered to contact the artist for several reasons, not the least of which to update and correct my artist databank, but also to fill in information that was missing because of a lack of files from the past.
I dialed the number on his web site and he answered the phone himself. Identifying who I was and the purpose of the call, which led to an engaging conversation that quickly warmed as it progressed. The artist revealed a self-confident assurance of a senior professional long accustomed to his place in the world and his position in his chosen field. He relayed facts in an easy-going way, void of any padding or hyperbole.
Here is what I learned:
- Frank Hagel is indeed very much alive and well, living in Kalispell, the Montana town of his birth, and where he has lived for the past forty years.
- He was indeed the sculptor of those early National Parks medals and did forty of them in 1972 and 1973, plus two in later years.
- He (obviously) was not the Frank Hagel listed in the Social Security Death Index as having died in 1985.
- He remembered Bill Louth, the president of Medallic Art Company at the time, as he had made two trips to New York City and visited with Bill at the plant on East 45th Street.
- He did remember a salesman of the firm had visited him in Kalispell, but he did not remember the name until I mentioned Bob Southerland.
- He is a painter more than a sculptor, with nine of his paintings – all of a Western American theme – on his web site, “with ten more to go on.”
- He did design and model some medals struck by another firm, not Medallic Art.
- He spent his entire life in Kalispell, except for his education and his first job as a commercial artist in Detroit from 1959 to 1971.
- He was aware some Monument medals had been added to the National Park Series, and he had done several of these.
I had asked about the models of the National Park Medal Series he had created. He was aware he had omitted the lettering. That was for Medallic Art Company to add to his models. He knew someone had to do this. He was unaware it was sculptor Joseph Di Lorenzo until this fact came out in our conversation.
He also cleared up a question about the Yellowstone Medal that preceded the National Park Series. In 1970, he designed a Yellowstone George Catlin Medal. Medallic Art commissioned California artist Boris Buzan to model Hagel’s designs.
But Buzan’s models were rejected, so Frank Hagel assumed the task of modeling them himself, his first attempt at bas-relief creations. These were accepted by the members of the newly created firm, Roche Jaune (French for “Yellow Stone”).
This led to his becoming the sculptor member of the Roche Jaune venture team. He not only created the design, he modeled these designs as well!
As I remember, the National Park Foundation of the U.S. Department of Interior was involved with Roche Jaune and Medallic Art in their endorsement of the National Park Series. It had given their tacit approval of the series early in the promotion of the series.
Up to 1984 there were indeed only forty medals in the series – all by Frank Hagel. I sold a set of these in one of my auction sales (23 September 1989).
Since that time, and under the Medallic Art management of both Don Schwartz and Bob Hoff, additional medals were added to this original forty. For the most part, these additions were for monuments, creating an intermixing of the National Parks with National Monuments in the series.
The number system may appear chaotic, but it reflects the addition of parks and monuments after the original series had been established. Here is a complete list as best as I can determine at this time.
|National Park or Monument||MACo Archive Number||Artist|
|1 Acadia, NE||1972-008-005||Frank Hagel|
|2 Arches, UT||1972-008-035||Frank Hagel|
|3 Arlington Cemetery, DC||2001-215||?|
|4 Badlands, SD||1991-119||Tanya Mack|
|5 Big Bend, TX||1972-008-031||Frank Hagel|
|6 Bryce Canyon, UT||1972-008-035||Frank Hagel|
|7 Cabrillo, CA||1973-018||Frank Hagel|
|8 Canyonlands, UT||1972-008-033||Frank Hagel|
|9 Capitol (U.S.), DC||1999-104||Frank Hagel|
|10 Capitol Reef, UT||1972-008-037||Frank Hagel|
|11 Carlsbad Caverns, NM||1972-008-021||Frank Hagel|
|12 Crater Lake, OR||1972-008-023||Frank Hagel|
|13 Death Valley, CA||2005-126||?|
|14 Denali, AK||1984-188||Frank Hagel|
|15 Devil’s Tower, WY||2000-057||Doug Birdwell|
|16 Dinosaur, CO, UT||2000-159||Don Everhart|
|17 Everglades, FL||1972-008-023||Frank Hagel|
|18 Fort Clatsop, OR||1981-090||S. Winlass|
|19 Gettysburg, PA||1995-125||Tanya Mack|
|20 Gila Cliff Dwellings, NM||2000-099||?|
|21 Glacier, MT||1972-008-002||Frank Hagel|
|22 Golden Gate, CA||1990-085||?|
|23 Grand Canyon, AZ||?||?|
|24 Grand Teton, WY||1972-008-004||Frank Hagel|
|25 Great Smoky Mountains, NC, TN||1972-008-006||Frank Hagel|
|26 Guadalupe Mountains, TX||1972-008-034||Frank Hagel|
|27 Haleakala, HI||1972-08-018||Frank Hagel|
|28 Hawaii Volcanoes , HI||1972-008-010||Frank Hagel|
|29 Hot Springs, AR||1972-008-137||Frank Hagel|
|30 Isle Royale, MI||1972-008-035||Frank Hagel|
|31 Iwo Jima, DC||2000-161||?|
|32 Jefferson Memorial, DC||1996-130||Jurek Jakowicz|
|33 Kings Canyon, CA||1972-008-017||Frank Hagel|
|34 Lassen Volcanic, CA||1972-008-025||Frank Hagel|
|35 Lincoln Memorial, DC||1996-146||Jurek Jakowicz|
|36 Mount Reiner, WA||1972-008-008||Frank Hagel|
|37 Mammoth Cave, KY||1972-008-01||Frank Hagel|
|38 Mount Rushmore||1973-097||Frank Hagel,Joseph DiLorenzo|
|39 Mesa Verde, CO||1972-008-022||Frank Hagel|
|40 Niagara Falls, NY||2000-102||Doug Birdwell|
|41 North Cascades, WA||1972-008-027||Frank Hagel|
|42 Olympia, WA||1972-008-011||Frank Hagel|
|43 Petrified Forest, AZ||1972-008-016||Frank Hagel|
|44 Platt, OK||1972-008-015||Frank Hagel|
|45 Redwood, CA||1972-008-030||Frank Hagel|
|46 Rocky Mountains, CO||1972-008-009||Frank Hagel|
|47 Saguaro, AZ||2000-053||Doug Birdwell|
|48 Sequoia, CA||1972-008-019||Frank Hagel|
|49 Shenandoah, VA||1972-008-012||Frank Hagel|
|50 Statue of Liberty, NY||?||?|
|51 U.S.S. Arizona, HI||2000-100||Doug Birdwell|
|52 Vietnam Memorial, DC||?||?|
|53 Virgin Islands, VI||1972-008-037||Frank Hagel|
|54 Voyageurs, MN||1972-008-024||Frank Hagel|
|55 Washington Monument, DC||1994-124||Miko Kaufman|
|56 White House, DC||1999-193||?|
|57 Wind Cave, SD||1972-008-018||Frank Hagel|
|58-60 Yellowstone-Catlin||1970-159-02||Frank Hagel|
|61 Yosemite, CA||1972-008-001||Frank Hagel|
|62 Zion, UT||1972-008-020||Frank Hagel|
The entry on Frank Hagel from Dick Johnson’s Databank
HAGEL, Frank (1933-) painter, sculptor.
Born Kalispell, Montana, 20 December 1933.
Received art education prior to 1959.
Commercial artist, Detroit: 1959-1970.
Returned to Kalispell in 1970.
Sculptor member of firm, Roche Jaune (“yellow stone”), which issued medal series for all U.S. National Parks.
Roche Jaune Series
1970 Yellowstone National Park Centennial Medal [designed by Hagen; modeled by Boris Buzan, but model rejected] MACo 1970-146
1970 Yellowstone/George Catlin Medal [designed and modeled by Hagel] MACo 1970-159-001
1970 Yellowstone/George Catlin Medal [designed and modeled by Hagel] MACo 1970-159-002
Auctions: J&J 8:1207, J&J 16:1109
National Parks Centennial Series
(the Keystone Medal and all in the series were designed and modeled by Frank Hagel with lettering by Joseph Di Lorenzo, marketed by Roche Jaune):
1972 National Parks Centennial Keystone Medal [large 2 ½-inch size] MACo 1972-007
1972 National Parks Centennial Keystone Medal [small 1 ½-inch size, as all others in series] MACo 1972-012
Auctions: CAL 35:130; J&J 8:1212
1972 Yosemite National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-001
Auctions: J&J 8:1153
1972 Glacier National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-002
1972 Everglades National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-003
Auctions: J&J 8:1154
1972 Grand Teton National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-004
Auctions: J&J 8:1155
1972 Acadia National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-005
Auctions: J&J 8:1156
1972 Great Smoky Mountains National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-006
Auctions: J&J 8:1157
1972 Grand Canyon National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-007
1972 Mount Rainier National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-008
1972 Rocky Mountain National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-009
1972 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-010
1972 Olympic National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-011
1972 Shenandoah National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-012
1972 Hot Springs National Park Medal [error in date of founding 1927] MACo 1972-008-013
1972 Hot Springs National Park Medal [corrected] MACo 1972-008-013A
1972 Mammoth Cave National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-014
1972 Platt National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-015
1972 Petrified Forest National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-016
1972 Kings Canyon National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-017
1972 Wind Cave National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-018
1972 Sequoia National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-019
1972 Zion National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-020
1972 Carlsbad Caverns National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-021
1972 Mesa Verde National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-022
1972 Crater Lake National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-023
1972 Voyageurs National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-024
1972 Lassen Volcanic National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-025
1972 Bryce Canyon National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-026
1972 North Cascades National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-027
1972 Haleakala National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-028
1972 Virgin Islands National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-029
1972 Redwood National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-030
1972 Big Bend National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-031
1972 Mount McKinley National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-032
1972 Canyonlands National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-033
1972 Guadalupe Mountains National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-034
1972 Isle Royal National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-035
1972 Arches National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-036
1972 Capitol Region National Park Medal MACo 1972-008-037
1973 Cabrillo Historical Site Medal MACo 1973-018
1973 Mount Rushmore National Park Medal MACo 1973-097
1982 Zion National Park 75th Anniversary Medal MACo 1982-293
1984 Denali National Park Medal MACo 1984-188
Groups of fewer than 40 medals:
Auctions: J&J 8:1152; PCA 43:1293
Complete Set of 40 medals:
Auctions: CAL 33:2279
Montana Bicentennial Series
1974 Lewis & Clark Medal MACo 1974-084-001
1974 Fur Trade Medal MACo 1974-084-002
1974 The Cattlemen Medal MACo 1974-084-003
1975 Only the Land Endures Medal MACo 1974-084-004
Auctions: J&J 7:52-53
1989 Montana Statehood Centennial Medal