Dionicio Rodriguez

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dionicio Rodríguez (1891–1955) was a Mexican-born artist and architect whose work can be seen in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas, as well as Washington, D.C. and Mexico City.

His work is noted for its unique style of concrete construction that imitates wood, known as Faux Bois (French for false wood). Gates, benches and artificial rock formations were created by the artist to invite visitors to rest or explore the landscape.

Many of his major works of art are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[1][2][3]


Rodríguez was born on April 11, 1891 in Toluca, State of Mexico, in Mexico to Catarino Rodríguez and Luz Alegria de Rodríguez. His family moved to Mexico City when he was young. When he was older, he worked with his father and brother as a bricklayer.[4] At one time he worked with Pedro Ximénez, whose wife, Beatrice, would go on to become a cement sculptor of note herself.[5]

Rodríguez left Mexico City in the early 1920s for Monterrey. He moved on to Laredo, Texas and then to San Antonio, arriving in about 1924.[4]

Rodríguez died in San Antonio on December 16, 1955, and was buried in San Fernando Archdiocesan Cemetery. He had no immediate survivors.


San Antonio[edit]

For the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio, Rodríguez replicated a Japanese Torii gate at the entrance to the gardens. This piece was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005

With the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment of World War II in the 1940s, the gardens were renamed the Chinese Tea Gardens. In 1984, the city restored the original "Japanese Tea Garden" designation in a ceremony.

At least eight of his other sculptures in San Antonio: the Buckeye Park Gate; the Bridge in Brackenridge Park; the Fence at Alamo Cement Company; the Fountain at Alamo Cement Company; the Jacala Restaurant; locations in Miraflores Park; the Stations of the Cross and Grotto at the Shrine of St. Anthony de Padua; the Trolley Stop in Alamo Heights, were also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 and 2005

Memorial Park Cemetery[edit]

Crystal Shrine Grotto in the Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee, 2007

In 1935 Rodríguez was hired to beautify the Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee with sculptures. Annie Laurie Wishing Chair, Broken Tree Bench, Abrahams Oak, Pool of Hebron and Cave of Machpelah are some of the most important sculptures that can be found throughout the cemetery.[6]

Cedar Hill Cemetery[edit]

Working in Cedar Hill Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C. in suburban Suitland, Maryland in 1936 and 1937, Rodríguez built numerous sculptural pieces, including a fallen tree bench, a tiled block bench, two bridges with branch railings and log decks, a tree shelter, and an Annie Laurie Wishing Chair.[7]

Crystal Shrine Grotto[edit]

Construction of the Crystal Shrine Grotto began in 1938. The grotto is a 60-foot (18.3-meter) deep, hand-built cave in a hillside near the center of the cemetery, filled with five tons (4.5 metric tons) of quartz crystal, hence the name Crystal Shrine Grotto.[6] The shrines in the grotto illustrate the stages of "Christ's Journey on the Earth from Birth to Resurrection". Rodríguez' sculptures and the Crystal Shrine Grotto in the Memorial Park Cemetery are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

Woodlawn Garden of Memories[edit]

At least five of the sculptural pieces in the Woodlawn Garden of Memories in Houston are the work of Rodriguez circa 1940: the 25-foot (7.6-meter) tall cross and its surrounding four benches; a flower planter basket; a 60-foot (18.3-meter) long fallen tree bench; and an Annie Laurie Wishing Chair.

Other works[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Light, Patsy Pittman (2008). Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriguez. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-610-0.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Julie Vosmik (October 9, 1986). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: The Arkansas Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez".
  3. ^ Patsy Light and Maria Pfeiffer (2004). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation: Sculpture by Dionicio Rodriguez in Texas".
  4. ^ a b Patsy Pittman Light. Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriquez. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2008. p 19.
  5. ^ KENDALL, CURLEE (15 June 2010). "XIMENEZ, BEATRICE VALDEZ". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b http://www.memorialparkfuneralandcemetery.com/history.aspx Archived 2008-01-17 at the Wayback Machine Memorial Park Cemetery website
  7. ^ The Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez, Cedar Hill Cemetery, 4111 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suitland, MD 20746, 20 Jan 2014.

External links[edit]