l_443295_931d357dAfter un millione years of marriage, I no longer think in terms of what’s yours and what’s mine. It’s ours, the whole honey pot.

But I do have something that was created especially for me.


Paolo Salvatore Abbate (1884-1973) was an internationally renowned sculptor born in Villa Rosa, Sicily and educated in Rome. He studied sculpture with Domenico Trentacoste, the director of the art academy in Florence. Abbate was also a teacher and an author. But, as a kid, I knew him as our friend ~ Paolo-who-has-goats.


Dad and I visited Abbate at his barn and small house across town. He made the barn into a sculpture studio and cut a large window up high to let in natural light.


Like a true Italian, he covered the exterior with stucco and added a fanlight above the door. He built a fieldstone fireplace for heat and dug two wells ~ one for himself and one for his goats. I can still see him, framed by the iron arches and pulleys above the well, filling water buckets, talking art with my Dad.


We never got to see Abbate’s studio in NYC, a busy gathering place for the likes of Enrico Caruso and friends, whom he sculpted.


Whether in the city or our small town, Abbate gave generously of his time ~ as president of the International Fine Arts League, a member of the National Sculptor’s Council, the Artists Council, the Connecticut Artists and Writers Society, and as a founding member of the Torrington UNICO Club, an Italian-American service organization.


The Paolo S. Abbate collection (1884-1973) was donated to the Immigration History Reseach Center at University of Minnesota. A microfilmed collection of his papers is in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in Washington, DC. It includes biographical material, letters to and from George Grey Barnard, writings and speeches on art, sketches, scrapbooks with pictures of his sculpture, newspaper clippings and exhibition price lists.


Locally, his work can be seen in Newburgh, NY, the Torrington, CT Cemetery, Brown University in Providence, RI, the National Arts Club in NYC, the Silas Bronson Library, the Mattatauck Museum in Waterbury, CT, and in my house.

This thing of beauty is ours.


Toni 1/15/15

3 thoughts on “DID SOMEONE SAY #TBT?

    1. Oh, Ray, I wish my dad were here, he could answer that. Or maybe Gail and Mark at the Historical Society. An off-the-cuff guess would be the goat/cat cemetery on his property. 🙂 But, seriously, if you visit the cemetery to see Dante’s grave in Italy, Abbate made the bronze wreath for it. He was just a ordinary guy ~ my dad brought him food/materials, built stuff, dug wells, and got sculpting lessons in return. A modest unassuming generous artist we had the privilege of knowing.


  1. How about the Torrington cemetery Patty likes to stroll through carrying her coffee?
    Thanks for sharing the story Tony. You charged my day. Releasing me from my cold torpor.


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