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Cerracchio, Enrico Filiberto (1880–1956)

Kendall Curlee Biography

Enrico Filiberto Cerracchio, sculptor, was born in Castel Vetro Val Furtore, Italy, on March 14, 1880, the son of Memnato and Joseppa (Alterisio) Cerracchio. He studied both academic subjects and sculpture at the Institute Avellino in Italy. After graduating in 1898 he continued his studies in sculpture under Rafael Belliazzi. In 1900 Cerracchio immigrated to the United States and settled in Houston, where he sculpted commemorative monuments and busts for forty years. He became a naturalized citizen in 1905 and two years later married Marion Kowalski of Shamokin, Pennsylvania; they had a daughter and a son.

Cerracchio worked in a heroic, classicizing style, generally choosing bronze or marble as his medium. After World War I he won recognition with two sculptures commemorating the American doughboy: one was presented to Gen. Armando Diaz and accepted by the Italian government, and the other was presented to Gen. John J. Pershing by the city of Houston. Cerracchio's best-known Texas sculpture is probably the large bronze equestrian figure of Sam Houston (1924) located at the entrance to Hermann Park in Houston; the figure points toward the site of the battle of San Jacinto. Other well-known works by the sculptor include a marble portrait bust of the first Texas woman governor, Miriam A. Ferguson (1926), located in the Capitol, and a bronze memorial bust of Confederate major general John A. Wharton, located in the State Cemetery. Cerracchio also executed portrait busts of such notables as Vice President John Nance Garner, Houston banker and public official Jesse H. Jones, physicist Albert Einstein, and Hollywood idol Rudolf Valentino. In later years he maintained a studio in Houston and one in New York City, where he was living at the time of his death, on March 20, 1956.

New York Times, March 22, 1956. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 6.

Categories:

  • Peoples
  • Italians
  • Visual Arts
  • Sculpture

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression

Places:

  • Houston

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

Kendall Curlee, “Cerracchio, Enrico Filiberto,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 27, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/cerracchio-enrico-filiberto.

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