Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1882, he was the son of a Swiss emigrant from Lugano and a Spanish woman who separated when Josè was 8 years old. His father took him to Lugano, where he began his studies at the Cantonal School of Art. After participating in sculpture competitions in many European countries, he returned to Montevideo where he became professor of modeling at the “Circulo Fomento de Bella Artes” of which he became director in 1914. He has executed many monuments, some of which are linked to the “camperas” Uruguayans, such as the “Carreta” of the Pioneers cast by the Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry in 1929 for the city of Montevideo.