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 Alfeo Faggi  (1885 - 1966)

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Lived/Active: New York/Illinois / Italy      Known for: sculpture-religious subjects and portrait

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Arriving in the United States in 1913 from Italy where his father was a fresco painter, Alfeo Faggi had studied with his father and in his hometown of Florence for five years at the Academia Belle Arti.  A story about him is that at the Casa Buonarroti, he studied a sculpture by Michelangelo and was told by a guard that Michelangelo had said "the artist should represent things not as they are but as they ought to be."  For Faggi, this was a revelation that greatly influenced his creative expression and led him to determine that for each sculpture "he would work as if he were the first artist under the stars." (Smith, 190) 

He settled in Chicago and became a noted sculptor in classical style of religious subjects.  Inspired by Michelangelo, he created a large Pieta that was placed in the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Chicago.  St. Francis of Assisi by Faggi is in Wheeling, Illinois.  He began a series, Stations of the Cross, commissioned by Mrs. Frank Lillie, who was a patroness but did not finish until after World War I when he was in Woodstock.  Faggi also did portraits including one of Tagore, an Indian mystic poet, and of Isamo Noguchi, the Japanese-American sculptor.  The piece was eventually displayed at the Imperial Museum in Tokyo.  Faggi also did a nude figure work of poet Walt Whitman.  When asked why he posed him nude, the sculptor answered:  "Because Walt Whitman was always naked to the world." (Smith, 191)

He returned to Italy from Chicago during World War I to serve in the Army.  Going back to Chicago after the War, he met Eva Schutze, a painter and photographer, and shortly after the couple moved to Woodstock, New York where they became active members of the art community. 

First they lived at the top of Ohayo Mountain Road on the southern border of Woodstock Valley.  It is written that in this location "Faggi made some of his finest pieces of sculpture, working in the one-hundred-and-fifty year old barn that stood across the road from the dwelling." (Smith, 189)  Later he married, lived in a home and studio he built in the Woodstock area on Plochmann Lane with his wife, Beatrice Butler.

Reminiscing towards the end of his life, Alfeo Faggi said that certain places have the climate and background that stimulate creativity, and that for him those places were Florence, Paris and Woodstock. 

Alfeo Faggi died at Woodstock, New York in 1966.


Sources include:
Anita M. Smith, Woodstock History and Hearsay
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

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