Teich and Coppini

We used to produce beautiful things in stone and bronze and place them in prominent places. Maybe we’ll come to our senses someday and once again honor our heroes with bold monuments.

Frank Teich was a German sculptor and stone-cutter. He came to the US in the 1870s and settled in Chicago. He was responsible for the stone-carving on the Cook County Courthouse.

In 1883 he moved to Austin to supervise the cutting of the granite blocks that make up our capitol building.

He also produced the Volunteer Firemen Monument on the capitol grounds.

Grave monuments became his bread & butter. This weeping angel is in Houston’s Glenwood Cemetery. There are four others like it scattered across the state.

The Dick Dowling monument in Hermann Park (Houston) is also his.

The Daughters of the Confederacy in Dallas hired him to create this monument to the cause of their fathers.

The base of the Sam Houston statue is one of his later works.

Frank Teich might be most famous for the monument to the Confederate dead on the capitol grounds.

The base is by him. The bronze figures are not. They are the beginning of another artist’s long association with Texas.

Teich had asked the Roman Bronze Works in NYC to send him a competent sculptor to handle the work. Pompeo Coppini arrived in 1903 and lived for the rest of his life in San Antonio.

Here he is with the model for his Littlefield Memorial Fountain at the University of Texas at Austin.

And here is the finished product installed in front of Old Main.

And here it is today.

Coppini didn’t play favorites. One of his works is quite special to Aggies. 

His work also marks Sam Houston’s grave in Huntsville.

And here is The Spirit of Sacrifice forms the front face of the Alamo Cenotaph, his best known work.

Anatomical correctness was so important to Coppini that he would initially sculpt figures unclothed in order to get proportions right.

It seems to have worked.

The Alamo Cenotaph was highly controversial when it was made. There is controversy swirling about it today. This too shall pass.

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