"Hansom Cab" by Luigi Coppini
POMPEO LUIGI COPPINI
(Italian-American, 1870 - 1957)
Oil on artist board, 4 x 6 inches (board), 9 x 11 inches (frame), signed lower right, hand-carved 22k gold leaf frame
Pompeo Luigi Coppini, sculptor, writer and painter, was born in Moglia, Italy in 1870. Coppini was raised in Florence and attended the local Academia de Belle Arti, studying under Augusto Rivalta and Emilio Zocchi. After graduating in 1889, he served for the next two years in a Bersaglieri regiment before going to work in northern Italy. In 1896 Coppini immigrated to New York City, eventually finding employment as an assistant to sculptor Alexander Doyle, while sometimes garnering his own commissions. A short five years later the sculptor became a citizen of the U. S. and took his first trip to Texas in order to assist with a monument under Frank Teich; it would be the beginning of his life-long ties to the lone star state. Coppini relocated to San Antonio where he worked from excepting for a brief period when he was commissioned for an equestrian statue in Lexington, Kentucky in 1911. In 1916 he moved to Chicago, but continued work on several Texas projects. It was 1920 when Coppini was contracted to sculpt a fountain and accompanying statues for the South Mall of the University of Texas in Austin. The Littleton Fountain symbolized the reuniting of the North and South after the Civil War. He moved again in 1922, this time to New York, but as before continued to work often in Texas. Coppini was decorated "Commendatore" of the Order of the Crown of Italy for his contribution to the arts in the U. S. in 1931. Texas called the artist home in 1936, and he returned to San Antonio for the remainder of his life, spending the occasional summer in Pelham Manor, New York. The following year he began work on what became known as the Alamo Cenotaph. The Cenotaph, completed in 1939, is one of his largest works; the base is 12 feet by 40 feet, it stands 60 feet tall and is enrobed in Coppini's extraordinarily detailed bas-relief figures, some standing 25 feet tall. Baylor University in Waco, Texas awarded him an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 1940 and the served as head of the art department at Trinity University from 1943-45. Coppini and his protï¿½gï¿½ student, Waldine Tauch founded the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts in San Antonio in 1945 and it continues to educate art students and serve as a museum. The Italian immigrant was duly appointed an Honorary Texan by Governor Allan Shivers in 1952. Coppini sculpted and taught at his Academy until his death in 1957.
Comprehensive biographical information available upon request