Artist Name

birth11/20/1885 in Quincy, MAPicture of Recchia
death8/17/1983 in Rockport, MA
parentsFrank and Rosa Louisa Dondero Recchia
educationBoston Museum School of Fine Art (1904-1907)
awards

Richard Henry Recchia was born in Quincy, Massachusetts on November 20th 1885 to Frank and Rosa Louisa Recchia. Frank Recchia was a marble carver and, in the European tradition, instructed little "Ricardo" in his craft. Richard, who was the oldest of five children, took to sculpture and attended the Boston Museum School of Fine Art from 1904 to 1907. While attending school he helped out in Bela Lyon Pratt's studio and, after graduating in 1907, continued to work for him until 1912.

Bela Lyon Pratt and Daniel Chester French, who were his major mentors dring this time, both encouraged Recchia to go to Europe. They provided him with financial aid for the trip though they had decidedly different opinions about where he should go. While French reminded him that he needed "the influence of Paris much more than that of Rome", Pratt stated that he should spend a lot of time in Rome. It appears that Recchia followed French's advice more than Pratt's.

In 1915, while living in Paris, Richard married Anita "Ana" Diaz, a young woman who was originally from Chile. They had two children, Richard E. in 1914 and Phyllis Anita "Felicia" in 1917. According to Richard Recchia's oral history recording, Ana died in 1926, though his recollection seems to be at odds with other records.

In 1926 he moved to Rockport and in 1927 he married his second wife, Mary Catherine Parsons, known as "Kitty". She had been born in Stratford, Connecticut in 1889 but the family had moved to Rockport, Massachusetts where the couple would spend the rest of their days. Kitty was a watercolor artist and poet and very active in the Rockport Art Association, of which she was a founding member. She died in July 1975.

His works include the Statue of John Stark (1948), Head of a boy, and Young Pan playing a flute (1956).

Richard survived both his wife Kitty and his two children and died in Rockport, Massachusetts in 1983. He carved his own tombstone and is buried under it at the Beech Grove Cemetery in Rockport.

Please contact me if you are a descendant of or have additional information on Richard Recchia.



You can click on the medals to see the reverse.

  • Inspiration - Aspiration 1944
    by Richard H. Recchia
    SOM-29.1
    Silver
    SOM-29.4
    SOM-29.5
    Silver
    SOM-29.6
    Golden bronze with tan patina
    SOM-29.7

    This medal was chosen as the 29th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1944. The obverse bears herm-type male bust facing upward against massive stylized wings. Around, ALL - PASSES ART ALONE ENDURING STAYS TO US; in lower left field, THE BUST / OUTLASTS / THE / THRONE; in exergue, THE COIN TIBERIUS; at left, incuse, R.H.RECCHIA / ©

    The reverse bears nude youth leaping with outstretched arms into starry sky; hills clouds, and rays in background. Around, TOO LOW THEY BUILD WHO - BUILD BENEATH THE STARS

    This medal is one of the two war-time SOM medals that were originally struck in silver because copper was largely dedicated to war needs. Apparently, 57 50mm-diameter pieces were struck in bronze but even long-time collectors have not seen any. Some were later struck in the 1970's.

    Recchia drew his own inspiration for this medal from poetry, namely Austin Dobson's "Ars Victrix' for the quotes on the obverse and Edward Young's "Night Thoughts" on the reverse. Recchia wrote in the brochure accompanying the medal:

    "The bust ... shows the man's mind stretching upwards, to and beyond the flight of the wings of imagination and passing time and depicting man's dreams of seeking higher realms of inspiration."

    Recchia's combined message was devoid of war-time propaganda and very humanistic at its core. Or maybe the very fact that it was so humanistic made it a very effective war-time message for an audience that was fighting for the survival of western civilization.

    On a personal note, this is the medal that inspired me to become a medal collector when I first saw it on display at the Yale University Art Gallery. To this day, it remains one of my favorite art medals.

    This medal was first produced in 50mm and was struck in silver by the Medallic Art Company of New York. OVerall, the reported production quantity of this medal is 891 small-diameter silver, 57 small-diameter bronze, 150 large-diameter bronze, and 100 large-diameter silver.

    SOM-29.1
    Silver
    50.0mm (1.97in)
    FINE SILVER
    SOM-29.2
    Silver
    50.0mm (1.97in)
    MEDALLIC ART CO N.Y. STERLING
    SOM-29.3
    Bronze
    50.0mm (1.97in)
    Golden bronze with tan patina
    SOM-29.4
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 29th ISSUE-MAY 1944 RICHARD RECCHIA SC (C)
    MEDALLIC ART CO.-DANBURY, CONN
    SOM-29.5
    Silver
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 29th ISSUE-MAY 1944 RICHARD RECCHIA SC (C) ONE OF LIMITED ISSUE OF 700
    MACO- -FINE SILVER - .999+
    SOM-29.6
    Bronze
    50.0mm (1.97in)
    Golden bronze with tan patina
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 29th ISSUE-MAY 1944 RICHARD RECCHIA SC (C)
    MEDALLIC ART CO.-DANBURY, CONN
    SOM-29.7
    Bronze
    73.0mm (2.87in)
    THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS 29th ISSUE-MAY 1944 RICHARD RECCHIA SC (C)
    MACO-NY-BRONZE
    SOM-29 Romance Brochure
  • Flight of the Soul

    The image is a closeup of Richard Recchia's "Flight of the Soul" which now marks the artist's grave.

    He sculpted this piece in his forties to depict the moment of his death. His face is molded, mouth agape, at the moment of death; an orb curves up and explodes into an exultant body, his soul.

    Many thanks to Brianne Keith for the image and the story behind it.

Contact me if you have links that might merit inclusion on this page.

Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.

Research Archives and Websites

Oral History of Recchia
Richard Recchia in his own words.
New Hampshire History Blog
A site with references to Recchia in connection with his statue of John Stark.
The Landmark Files
A very nice writeup about Recchia and his wife Kitty with some beautiful pictures of their works.
Vintage Rockport
The Recchias' residence and life in Rockport.

Museums