Enrique Alférez

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Enrique Alférez (1901–1999) was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and best known as a sculptor in the art deco style. At age eight he began helping his father carve religious statutes for the church. He ran away at age 12, and was conscripted into the ongoing Mexican revolutionary forces. At about 22, he made his way to El Paso, Texas where he found work as a photographers assistant. Lorado Taft was lecturing in El Paso on an Art Institute of Chicago tour, and encouraged Alferez to come study in Chicago.[1]

"Fountain of the Winds", detail, New Orleans Lakefront Airport, 1937

The son of a sculptor, young Enrique spent some time in the army of Pancho Villa in the Mexican Revolution before coming to the United States. He studied with Lorado Taft in Chicago, Illinois in the 1920s, then from 1929 on lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. His sculptures and reliefs adorn many parks, buildings, and landmarks in New Orleans and south Louisiana. In a Works Progress Administration program, he created many sculptures for City Park. He created the statue "Molly Marine" which is the very first statue in the United States of a woman in military uniform.[2][3]

Alférez painted an official portrait of Huey P. Long (who, Alfarez revealed decades later, he loathed).

His fountain at New Orleans Lakefront Airport is a well known local landmark. He made reliefs for a number of buildings, including the Charity Hospital Building in New Orleans and the Palmolive Building in Chicago.

Alférez remained active into his later years, both as a working artist and an art teacher. In 1993, he appeared in a PBS American Experience documentary entitled "The Hunt for Pancho Villa".

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Enrique Alférez in this bio-documentary


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