Pompeo Coppini

Pompeo Coppini bigraphy, stories - Sculptor

Pompeo Coppini : biography

19 May 1870 – 26 September 1957

Pompeo Luigi Coppini (May 19, 1870 – September 26, 1957) was an Italian born sculptor who emigrated to the United States. Although his works can be found in Italy, Mexico and a number of American states, the majority of his work can be found in Texas. He is particularly famous for the Alamo Plaza work "Spirit of Sacrifice" aka The Alamo Cenotaph, as well as numerous statues honoring Texas heroes.


File:Burleson.jpg|Rufus Burleson (1903), Baylor University, Waco, Texas. File:Texas Ranger monument in front of Texas State Capitol.JPG|Monument to Terry’s Texas Rangers (1905–07), Texas State Capitol. File:Hood’s Texas Brigade monument in front of Texas State Capitol.JPG|Hood’s Texas Brigade Monument (1910), Texas State Capitol. File:Sam Houston Grave.jpg|Sam Houston Grave Monument (1910–11), Huntsville, Texas. File:Morgan Lexington statue.jpg|John Hunt Morgan Memorial (1911), Lexington, Kentucky. File:Confederate Momument, Victoria, TX IMG 1006.JPG|Confederate Monument (1911–12), Victoria, Texas. File:TAMU Sul Ross statue.jpg|Lawrence Sullivan Ross (1917–19), Texas A&M University. File:Bust_of_Gen._William_Shafter_by_Coppini.jpg|General William Rufus Shafter (1919), Galesburg, Michigan. File:Clarke cvc 500h 1.jpg|James Paul Clark (1921), United States Capitol, Washington, DC. File:Dallas Fair Park Hall of State inside 1.jpg|Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston (1935–36), Hall of State, Dallas, Texas. File:AlamoMemorial-5478.jpg|Alamo Cenotaph (1937–38), San Antonio, Texas.

The United States

He emigrated to the United States in March, 1896 with nothing but a trunk of clothes and $40 to his name. Coppini got a job in New York sculpting figures for a wax museum. Elizabeth di Barbieri of New Haven, Connecticut arrived, accompanied by a chaperone, to model for Coppini’s memorial to Francis Scott Key. He fell in love Texas State Historical Association and married his model. Coppini became a United States citizen in 1902.

While he managed to find work in New York, Coppini was frustrated the fame and greatness escaped him. He moved to Texas in 1901, to join with Germany-born sculptor Texas State Historical Association Frank Teich. He was then commissioned to do the figures for the Confederate monument for the state capitol grounds. For the next fifteen years, he lived and worked in San Antonio. After spending a short time in Chicago, Illinois, he then spent three years in New York City overseeing the Littlefield commission for the University of Texas at Austin. He collaborated with architect Paul Cret on the Littlefield Memorial Fountain, and sculpted six statues for the campus.

By 1910, Coppini was assisted by sculptor Waldine Tauch, Texas State Historical Association who had been born in Schulenburg, Texas. Tauch became more-or-less his adopted daughter, student and protégée, and he, after extracting a promise from her that she would never marry, molded her into a devotee of classical sculpture. She collaborated with Coppini until his death.Hutson, Alice, ‘’From Chalk to Bronze: A Biography of Waldine Tauch,’’ Shoal Creek Publishers, Austin, TX 1978

The William P. Rogers chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy raised $5,000 in 1911 and commissioned Coppini to design and erect the 1912 Confederate soldier memorial statue named "Last Stand", aka "Firing Line", in De Leon Plaza.

He sculpted three distinct statues of George Washington. The first, commissioned by Americans living in Mexico to commemorate the 1910 centennial of Mexican Independence, was installed in 1912 in the Plaza Dinamarca (renamed Plaza Washington) of the Colonia Juárez section of Mexico City. The Mexican Civil War was just beginning. Two years later, in reaction to the April 1914 United States invasion of Veracruz, the statue was toppled from its pedestal and dragged through the streets. from Getty Images. The second statue was created to commemorate the 1926 sesquicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. It was installed in 1927 in Portland, Oregon. from SIRIS. The third statue was commissioned by the Texas Society, Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the 1932 bicentennial of Washington’s birth. Fund-raising problems delayed the project for years, and it was installed in February 1955 on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. from SIRIS.