Heritage, Volume 14, Number 4, Fall 1996 Page: 20
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John Peterson, Book Review Editor
Rodant Pel Mon (Roaming
About the World) With
Urbici Soler, Sculptor
By Paul Dean Daniggelis, International Association
for the Visual Arts, El Paso.
Reviewed by Mike Judrez
Paul Dean Daniggelis spent 20 years writing
his book: "Rodant Pel Mon (Roaming
About the World) With Urbici Soler, Sculptor
(1890-1953)," from letters, interviews,
and various archives. The author then spent
ten years trying to find a publisher. But it
wasn't until the International Association
for the Visual Arts committed itself to publishing
the work that a book was produced.
Urbici Soler, a world artist, was born on
June 21, 1890, in Farran, a village 60 miles
from Barcelona. At the recommendation of
a painter, Soler went to work for the sculptor
Castellanas. The job amounted to being
a gopher for the sculptors in the studio. In
his free time, Soler worked at creating his
own work. After four years of working with
Castellanas, in 1904, Soler entered his work
in a competition for sculptor's apprentices
in Barcelona. He won first place and after
that worked under Pedro Carbonell.
Soler accepted a scholarship to Munich,
where in 1913, he continued his art studies
at the Akademie der Bildender Kinste. At
the Akademie he studied under Erwin
Dietbald Kurz and Knut Akerberg. After
eight semesters of study in 1916, Soler left
the Akademie and opened his own school.
Author Paul Dean Daniggelis follows Soler's
rolling-stone life in Europe, Spain, the
United States, South America, and Mexico.
Soler's real life drama plays against the
world backdrop of his times.
In 1937, while in Mexico City, Soler
met fellow Catalan Father Lourdes Francis
Costa visiting from his parish in
Smeltertown. Costa spoke to him about a
monument he planned to build on a mountain
peak outside El Paso. Soler arrived in
El Paso on October 1937 to realize the cross
atop Mt. Cristo Rey. For the next 16 years,
he experienced the frustrations of trying to
realize his plans for a shrine amid the lack
of funds and broken promises.
It's important to remember that for every
artist mentioned in art history, dozens,
if not hundreds more, toil in obscurity.
These artists and their works go
unexamined. Often, they're forgotten. Although
in his youth, Soler studied alongside
famous artists like Pablo Picasso, he
himself did not enjoy the same fame in his
adult life. Soler's life can best be analyzed
through his tenacity to venture around the
world searching for his dream commissions.
With the publication of
his book, Daniggelis has
made a significant contribution
to the history of
the arts in El Paso.
A drawback to the book is Danigellis'
attempt to play too many roles in painting
the full spectrum of Soler. He jumps in and
out of being part storyteller, part art historian,
and part philosopher in expounding
Soler's story. Yet, if readers can get beyond
the obvious stylistic flaws, which could
have been corrected by a good editor, the
author's examination of Soler's work is well
In addition, there are several redeeming
qualities in the book, one being a compassionate
prefatory note by Tom Lea Jr., who
knew Soler. Another highlight is the list of
works in chronological order and accompanying
photographs. Historical photographs
of Soler and the people of his time
accompany the 11 chapters that span 63
years of his life. The extensive list of sources
is noteworthy. A short index is included.
With the publication of his book,
Daniggelis has made a significant contribution
to the history of the arts in El Paso.
Future generations can now remember Soler
and his work.
Life in a Rock Shelter:
Prehistoric Indians of the
G. Elaine Acker, 1996, Hendrick-Long
Publishing Co., Dallas
Reviewed by Roy B. Brown, Centro INAH
"Life in a Rock Shelter" is a very enjoyable
book. G. Elaine Acker has put her
experience as a teacher and a writer of
children's books to good use. Acker presents
a series of vignettes of the lifeways of
the people that lived along the Lower Pecos.
The introduction and the first chapter
present a brief overview and the subsequent
chapters begin with interviews of
eminent specialists in different facets of
Chapter two begins with an interview of
Harry Shafer who states that "Archaeologists
are particularly interested in the Lower
Pecos region because the climate and protected
rock shelters have preserved artifacts
that are normally lost to deterioration",
which together with the rock art and
colonial documents provide a particularly
interesting database for the study of hunters
and gatherers. Acker concludes chapter
two stating that the research of the last 60
years has "allowed archaeologists to better
understand the environment surrounding
the Indians and their ability to adapt to life
in this harsh, arid climate, but the unanswered
questions motivate them to continue
As a child Thomas Hester developed a
special interest in archaeology and today
he is a specialist in lithic technology, or
"how stone tools were made". Hester is
one of the "contemporary archaeologists
(who) gather and analyze the flake debris
for information on the methods of manufacturing
stone tools and how they were
reshaped or resharpened when they were
worn and dulled". The accompanying line
drawings successfully demonstrate the dif
20 HERITAGE *FALL 1996
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 4, Fall 1996, periodical, Autumn 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45407/m1/20/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.