Event Booking
Web Links
News Feeds
Search - K2

Thoughts & Opinions

Sculptors from the Past: The Piccirilli Brothers - March/Apr 1996

Three brothers from Italy become outstanding sculptors in the USA


When Giuseppe Piccirilli and his wife, Barbera (Giorgi) came from Massa, Italy to New York in 1888, they brought with them traditional European stone carving skills and the ability to work as a group. With six sons, Piccirilli established a marble cutting studio which not only carried out designs for others, but also contracted independent sculpture work. Three of his sons, Attilio, Furio and Horatio became creative sculptors. Attilio and Furio both attended the Accademia di San Luca in Rome. Horatio was a small boy when the family left Italy.


Attilio headed the family studio and like his brothers Furio and Horatio, he shared the responsibility for many of the family's sculpture commissions. In 1889, Attilio made his debut as an artist with the McDonogh Monument in New Orleans, a portrait statue on a pedestal of a boy and girl bringing flowers. Atti1io won the contract for the Maine Monument in 1901. This ambitious undertaking, which he worked on for ten years, is placed at one of the entrances to Central Park. It is a tall python preceded by the prow of a ship, with groups of figures around the base and at the top, Columbia in a shell drawn by sea horses. Attilio completed numerous commissions throughout the United States and won many awards including the Gold Medal of the Academy of Design in 1926, again in 1928, and the grand prize for sculpture at the Grand Central Art Galleries the following year. The sculptor's achievements were rewarded with a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, and in 1932, the Jefferson Presidential Medal was bestowed on him in recognition of his service as a United States citizen. Attilio Piccirilli died in New York on October 8, 1945.


Furio Piccirilli was born in Massa, Italy on March 14, 1868. Furio was considered the most creative and the best modeler of the family. In 1920 he designed the sculptural decoration of the Parliament House, Winnipeg, Canada. The designs included a seated statute of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes in elaborate eighteenth century costume. A statue of Murillo was sculpted for the Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego. Various religious works and numerous animal studies were made over the years. In 1921, Furio went to Rome and married his cousin. After a few years, he returned to New York and planned to remain there permanently. Hoping that the climate would be better for his son's health, he returned to Rome in 1926 where he remained until his death in 1949. He was a member of the National Academy of Design and an associate of the The Architectural League of New York.


Horatio Piccirilli, fifth of the famous sculptor brothers, was born in Massa, Italy, on June 21, 1872. He learned his profession in the family studio, as well as by studying with a French sculptor active in New York, named Edourad Roine. Horatio worked on numerous architectural projects for the Piccirilli studio, including the Riverside Church and Saint Bartholomew's Church, both in New York City. He also worked on the state capital building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. With the few independent works that were his own creation. Horatio abandoned all rememberance of past styles and worked in a spirited impressionistic style. After the death, in rapid succession, of the other brothers, the studio closed in 1946 and Horatio retired. He died on June 27, 1954.

Gallery Courtesy & Honoring Contacts - March/Apr 1996

I would like to comment on gallery courtesy. Many of you may be new to the world of the gallery show, so I want to say a little about what is expected of you, the artist, after the exhibit is over. During the course of a show, many of you will have made new contacts with whom you may have future business.


It is important to be aware that you are trusted to give the gallery their agreed upon percentage of a sale. This is for work sold during the exhibit and for any sales made as a result of the exhibit. This means that if the client saw the piece at a particular show and later purchases it, the gallery is entitled to their share. If the sale is for a different piece, but the cause of the sale is directly due to the show, the gallery is due at least a portion of the agreed upon percentage. This rate should be discussed with the gallery prior to the show. Most gallery owners will be glad to work with you on this. It is best to clarify these issues in a contract in advance, so there are no misunderstandings later. Remember the gallery owners are your representatives and deserve to be compensated for their work. Since you may wish to have future dealings with the gallery owners, they need to feel they can depend on you to understand the terms or that you will stand by your agreements.


The art itself is the center and celeb of any exhibit. But even though the primary share of sales should be for the work of the artist, the people who assist the artist must also be rewarded. Mounting a successful exhibit is a joint venture. Vision and skill are required from the promoters. organizers, and sales people. Not only is the quality of the sculpture of value, but also the talent of the gallery staff who present the work.

The Stone Book - Jan/Feb 1996

Art & Fear, Observation On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmakin:, by David Bayles and Ted Orland, 1993, Published by Capra Press, Santa Barbara, CA

This is a thought-provoking book about the practical aspects of the psychology of making art. The word "art" is used here in the general sense to include music, performing art, writing and visual art (two and three dimensional); however, throughout the book, you will find yourself saying, "Yes, I can understand that; that's how I feel". While the examples described are specific to one or another art form, the universality of the truths sinks in personally.


This is not a self-help work book, as is "The Artist's Way". It deals with the art making process and how we grapple with the problems of that process--by making personal choices regarding the practical, as well as the creative aspects of our art.


The author's purpose is not clearly stated in this succinct (122 pages) and on-target book; however, it appears to be that artists need not worry about producing great art or art for admiration; create the art that is meaningful to you. As they summarize, "The best you can do is make art you care about--and lots of it. "


The authors, Bayles and Orland, are both photographers and long -- time friends, so they bring a wealth of personal experience to the table. They started a seven-year book writing process as visual artists and finished as literary artists. Their insight into the creation of this collaborative effort is also intriguing.


The book is divided into two parts. The first half is mostly concerned with inner issues of self, whereas part two looks at connections with the outside world; in reality the two are inextricably mixed. The plethora of examples, from the authors' and other artists' lives, continuously supplies a stream of real worldliness to the dialogue. My favorite anecdote in the book concerns a ceramics teacher who divided a class into two groups at the first meeting. One group would be graded on the quantity of their work and the other on the quality of their work. When grading time came at the end of the class, an interesting phenomenon occurred: the pieces of highest quality were produced by the "quantity" group, because they had made mistakes, learned from them and grown through the process. The "quality" group had become too obsessed with achieving perfection in a single piece.


Throughout this book are jewels of insight that keep you on edge, waiting for the next tingle of excitement to go rippling from head to toe. You don't have to be an artist to appreciate Art & Fear. An artist friend borrowed my copy, and after reading it, bought four copies to give to friends and relatives to read as a guide for life.


Halfway through the reading, I became bothered by the second half of the book's title. This was because the book does not dwell on the fear aspect, as much as it looks to the positive side of art creation. In other words, it's not the morose side, but the can-do side of art making.


Unless you haven't been paying attention, I liked this book and would highly recommend it to any artist who wants to understand the psyche of art making and the secrets to staying on a productive and rewarding path of creation.