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TAUCH, WALDINE AMANDA

TAUCH, WALDINE AMANDA (1892–1986). Waldine Tauch, sculptor, was born on January 28, 1892, in Schulenberg, Texas, the second of three children of William and Elizabeth (Heimann) Tauch. Her father, a farmer and photographer, first encouraged her artistic abilities by giving her photographs to draw. At age seven she began to sculpt, initially modeling in clay, and later carving soap, wood, chalk, and stone. When she was in her teens her family moved to Brady, where her talent prompted the Brady Tuesday Club to begin raising money for her art education. Club president Maggie Miller Henderson convinced sculptor Pompeo L. Coppini to take Waldine as his pupil, and in 1910, just two weeks shy of graduating from high school, she left home to study with Coppini in San Antonio. When funds for her education were exhausted, Coppini taught her gratis and raised her as a foster daughter in his home. Under the influence of Coppini, a staunch advocate of classical sculpture, Tauch developed a naturalistic style and condemned abstract art as "an irritation to the eye and an insult to the mind." By 1911 she had secured her first public commission, a bas-relief commemorating Mrs. I. J. Rice, for the Brownwood Library. More commissions followed, primarily for portrait busts. Tauch determined that she wanted to sculpt heroic public monuments, although Coppini initially opposed her decision, arguing that a small woman would not have the strength to complete larger-than-life-sized works. From 1918 to 1922 Tauch worked with Coppini in his Chicago studio, where she assisted him with various projects and completed a life-sized marble high relief commemorating her early patron, Maggie Miller Henderson (1919), which was placed over Henderson's grave in Richmond, Kentucky. Tauch returned to San Antonio for a short time in 1922, but the next year moved to New York to help Coppini's wife recover from an injury and to assist Coppini in his work on the Littlefield Fountain for the University of Texas at Austin.

During the following twelve years in New York City she completed a number of major sculptures, including her first commission for a large work, the Indiana War Memorial (1926) in Bedford, Indiana. While in New York she began producing small genre figures that were reproduced for the mass market by the Gorham Company. Small statuettes such as Surfboard (ca. 1924), Gulf Breeze (1929), and Boy and Eel (1924), all of which celebrated the nude figure, revealed a more romantic, personal vision than the sober commemorative works that occupied most of her time. Tauch returned to San Antonio in 1935 in order to compete for commissions inspired by the Texas Centennial celebration (1936). She was awarded the commission to carve The First Shot Fired For Texas Independence (1935), a life-sized bronze bas-relief set in granite seven miles southwest of Gonzales, near the site of the battle of Gonzales. She also completed Centennial memorials to Moses Austin (1937–38) in San Antonio and Isaac and Frances C. Lipscomb Van Zandt (1938) (see VAN ZANDT, ISAAC) in Canton. In 1936 Tauch and Coppini built a studio at 115 Melrose Place, San Antonio. Their sharing the costs of the studio indicated a move away from their mentor-protégée relationship to a partnership. Tauch remained in San Antonio for the rest of her career, completing works for patrons throughout Texas and in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Her best-known works are Douglas MacArthur (1966–68), an eight-foot bronze statue at Howard Payne University, Brownwood; Higher Education Reflects Responsibility to the World (1965), a heroic-sized bronze at Trinity University, San Antonio; Texas Ranger of Today (1960), an eight-foot bronze statue at the Union Terminal in Dallas; and Pippa Passes (1956), a bronze, life-sized high relief at Baylor University, Waco.

In addition to sculpting, Tauch traveled throughout the state promoting traditional art in lectures to various clubs and organizations. In 1939 she began teaching, initially at the San Antonio Art Academy and later in her own studio. She taught at Trinity University from 1943 to 1945, when Coppini was head of the art department there. In 1945 Coppini and Tauch founded the Academy of Fine Arts, a club dedicated to traditional art styles and techniques. Members met regularly for discussion and exhibited their work in museums and galleries throughout the state. The organization was later renamed Coppini Academy of Fine Arts and was sponsored by Tauch after her mentor's death in 1957. Tauch was active in a number of other organizations, including the Society of Medalists, the Southern States Art League, the Artists Professional League, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Artists and Craftsmen, the San Antonio Art League, and the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. In 1941 she was awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree by Howard Payne College, and in 1964 she was elected a fellow of the National Sculpture Society of New York City. The Texas Senate awarded her a Recognition Certificate in 1969 for her contribution to the cultural and artistic life of Texas and the nation. In 1971 Alpha Delta Kappa, an honorary society for women educators, named Tauch Woman of Distinction. She continued to sculpt into her eighties, when her eyesight began to fail. She died in San Antonio on March 31, 1986, and was buried at Sunset Memorial Park in the plot where Coppini and his wife are buried. Many of her sculptures are on view at her former studio, which now houses workshops, classes, and exhibitions sponsored by the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts. Examples of her work may be found in many public collections, among them the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon; the MacArthur Memorial Foundation, Norfolk, Virginia; the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and the Witte Museum, San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Pompeo Coppini, From Dawn to Sunset (San Antonio: Naylor, 1949). Coppini-Tauch Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Dallas Morning News, April 3, 1986. Patricia D. Hendricks and Becky D. Reese, A Century of Sculpture in Texas, 1889–1989 (Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas at Austin, 1989). Alice Hutson, From Chalk to Bronze: A Biography of Waldine Tauch (Austin: Shoal Creek, 1978).

Kendall Curlee

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Kendall Curlee, "TAUCH, WALDINE AMANDA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fta36), accessed July 30, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.