Gaetano Cecere, 1894–1985
On June 10, 1985 Gaetano Cecere passed away with the company of his family in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. His commissioned work for the state bears the brunt of the task that is maintaining his legacy. War memorials, monuments, medals, bas-reliefs, and garden sculptures across the country vibrate with his touch. Imaginative and deeply human– that his expertise distinguished not the minuscule from the monumental remains the strongest symbol of Gaetano's character.
The classical and conservative amalgamate with the ethereal and poetic as Cecere embraces the change and progress in American sculpture. Each decade in his timeline marks an epoch, which do as much to serve the past as the present.
With this in consideration, musings of Cecere's relationship with the distinctive periods of Ancient Greek Sculpture come about. Direct references to Hellenic Sculpture are revised and revitalized by the hand of a creator, as in touch with the past as he was with himself.
"Simplicity" said Cecere in 1927, "should be the foundation of sculpture, the simplicity that expresses only the essential lines and masses to summon a vital emotion. This, I believe, is the great and enduring art."
Cecere's deftness and inventive spirit is observable in all stages of the sculptor's process. His tools are worn and sometimes altered; his pencils were sharpened by hand. Prototypes of recognized commissions are fleshed out again and again; a raw stone suggests the beginnings of a nose; a direct-carving in wood is ghostly in tone.
His classic was a calm classic, quiet and emphatic, embodying only that which is necessary to convey, as he says, "a vital emotion." Speaking to Cecere's produce of the 1960s, the 20th c. Russian sculptor Moisaye Marans commented: "He finds solace and security in his present creations as a reaction to the harsh and turbulent realities of the world around him."