Many cemeteries are like outdoor sculpture gardens, with statues of angels, allegorical figures, weeping women, and saints at nearly every turn. And in some cemeteries even some of the most renowned sculptors of the 19th and early 20th Century can be seen and enjoyed, great artists such as, Robert Ingersoll Aitken, Karl Bitter, John Gutzon Borglum, Alexander Milne Calder, Sally James Farnham, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, James Earle Fraser, Mario Korbel, Martin Milmore, Brenda Putnam, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Lorado Taft, and Daniel Chester French. I still remember discovering an original Daniel Chester French in the Fairview Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa—the so-called “Black Angel” as it is called locally, sculpted for Ruth Anne Dodge. The very same Daniel Chester French who sculpted the monumental Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Occasionally, however, an artist’s name doesn’t ring a bell and the research begins. The fun part is making a discovery. The angel in question was created by an artist named Leonardo Rossi. A perfect name for a sculptor—clearly the boy had the name of an artist and had grown into his name. But when you Google “Leonardo Rossi” his name comes up at askART, “Evidence suggests that this is a fictitious name being used by companies in Thailand and Germany to produce fakes by other artists….” Then the site refers the reader to wikipedia.org—Art forgery. And Wikipedia defines forgery as “creating and selling of works of art which are falsely credited to other, usually more famous artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler.”
So, this angel is made by an unknown artist, most likely in a factory by a talented artist known only by his fictitious name Leonardo Rossi.