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LaGUARDIA ON PICCIRILLI

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

ATTILIO PICCIRILLI: LIFE OF AN AMERICAN SCULPTOR Foreword by Fiorello H. LaGuardia


A PORTRAIT OF FIORELLO LA GUARDIA by LUSHA NELSON

NEW YORK CHICAGO reminds me of a well cultivated, perfect, sweet California orange. It is so typically American — only the seed came from Italy. I say he is purely American because he is part of the artistic life of our country. He hasn’t deviated one bit in the sixty years he has been here. There would be indeed a long list of names if all American artists who have enjoyed the benefit of his friendship and help and sound artistic guidance were to be mentioned in this book. There are so many things in his life that enriched our city and country. I wish that they all could be told for the life of this unusual person is replete with interesting events in the growth and development of art in this country.


Have you ever seen Attilio Piccirilli? Well perhaps you have, but to see him on the street, in the home, in the subway, you would never recognize him as one of the outstanding sculptors of our time. No, his hair is not long and wavy and uncombed. He dresses like a business man; no long flowing black tie. His clothes fit him and he is the most modest man that ever lived. He will talk about anybody else’s art and recognize the beauty of it. I have never heard him knock a fellow artist. Another strange thing about Piccirilli is that he works at his art systematically, regularly

and consistently. He does not loaf for months and months waiting for an inspiration. He goes right to his task methodically and he loves it. To see him mold, one sees the transmission of his love

of labor and his affection for the task in the gentle handeling of die clay. He always reminded me of a yonng mother bathing her new born infant.


I have always liked Piccirilli. I really don’t know when I first met him. It seems I have known him forever. Almost immediately “Ci sumo dati del tu” and became fast friends, a friendship that I greatly cherish. I have learned a lot from Piccirilli that stood me in great use during many many years of my work. I think I gave Piccirilli something. I taught him how to laugh thirty five years ago. We have been laughing ever since. -- Fiorello H. LaGuardia

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