Sculptor of the Hills
of us don't appreciate rocks. Take it from a guy who has dug his share
of West Texas postholes. Only an artist with uncommon imagination
sees beauty in boulders. Our world is fortunate that Frank Teich,
the Sculptor of the Hills, did not share my myopic foresight and puny
Standard, March 18, 1937
| Frank Teich
was born in Lobenstein, Germany on September 22, 1856. His father
was a well-known newspaper editor, writer and poet.
As soon as Teich completed high school his father sent him to Nuremburg
to study art. He took private drawing lessons from some the most famous
artists in Germany.
Teich developed an interest in architecture. He spent a year with
Franciscan monks rebuilding the Monastery at Dettelbach, destroyed
during the Thirty Years War.
Teich was in Beirut during the dedication of the Opera House. As he
sketched a stone fountain near the building, Richard Wagner, the Czarina
of Russia and Kaiserin Friedrich, the wife of Friedrich Wilhelm I
of Prussia strolled by. Wagner introduced himself, admired Teich's
drawings and gave the youngster a ticket to the opera.
Next Teich studied sculpture anatomy and ancient history at the University
of Leipzig. In Dresden he worked with Professor Johannes Schilling
carving the monument known as "The Watch on the Rhine," commissioned
to celebrate the unification of Germany.
With a lifetime of experience for a 22 year old, Teich arrived in
New York in 1878. He wanted to carve statues, but that kind of work
was hard to come by.
So he found more practical ways to use his talents. In Milwaukee he
supervised the building of a brewery. In Chicago he supervised a crew
of stonecutters building the Cook County Courthouse. For three years
he worked for a marble company in St. Louis.
Like many Germans, Teich followed the railroad to San
Antonio. In 1883 he did the stone carving on the John Hermann
Kampmann building in Alamo Plaza. He supervised the building of the
San Antonio City Hall.
He did the granite work on the entrance to the Moorish-style San Antonio
National Bank on Commerce Street - now the law office of Pat Maloney.
The granite came from Bear Mountain,
4 miles north of Fredericksburg.
It was the first commercial use of Texas granite.
Contractor Gustav Wilke hired Teich to supervise the cutting and laying
of every granite block used to build the state
capitol in Austin. Teich
was one of the few men in Texas with the unique stonecutting and carving
skills to do the job.
In 1894 Teich built the granite
courthouse overlooking the Trinity River in Ft.
Back in San Antonio,
Teich opened an office on Houston Street. His marble and granite yard
occupied a site next to Alamo Plaza - where the Emily Morgan Hotel
| In 1900 Teich
moved his business to Llano
and returned to his first love: statues and monuments.
The city of Houston commissioned
Teich to produce its first public work of art: the Dick
Dowling statue in Hermann Park. At his studio in Llano,
Teich chiseled the life-sized figure from a single block of Italian
Angels watch over cemeteries. Teich carved a host of them including
the angel at the grave of James A. Baker Sr. in Houston's
Cemetery. Baker was founder of the law firm Baker and Botts and
grandfather to James A. Baker III who served in the administrations
of three U. S. presidents.
Teich carved the confederate monument in Travis Park in San
Antonio. He did the monument to Texas firefighters on the capitol
grounds in Austin. His full-sized
marble likeness of legendary Texas cattleman Shangai
Pierce stands in Hawley
Cemetery near Blessing.
Teich's monument to La
Salle is in Navasota.
Teich molded the figure of the French explorer in plaster of Paris;
then cast it at a foundry in New York. The base is Llano County granite.
Frank Teich, The Sculptor of the Hills, spent the last years of his
life working at his studio in Llano.
He felt at home in Llano
County - a rock lover's paradise if there ever was one.
July 15, 2018 Column
"Frank Teich Pioneered In Monument Works," Fredericksburg Standard,
March 18, 1937.
"Frank Teich," Fredericksburg Standard, February 2, 1939.
"Teiches Observe Anniversary," Llano News, October 14, 1937