(1898 - 1970)
Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano was active/lived in California / Italy. Beniamino Bufano is known for sculptor-large scale, genre, portrait.
Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano was born in San-Fele, Italy on Oct. 14, 1889. At age three Bufano's family brought him to NYC where he spent his childhood and was educated by private tutors. He studied at the ASL in NYC from 1913-15, the pupil of James L. Fraser, Herbert Adams, and Paul Manship. He came to San Francisco in 1915 to work on a sculpture for the PPIE. For awhile he worked in the studio of coppersmith Dirk van Erp. He then traveled extensively for four years in France, Italy, India, and China. After returning to San Francisco in 1921, he remained there the rest of his life except for visits to the Orient and Europe. Always a radical, he lost his teaching position at San Francisco Institute of Art in 1923 because he was too modern for the conservative faculty. He later taught at UC Berkeley and the CCAC (1964-65). Henry Miller wrote of him, "He will outlive our civilization and probably be better known, better understood, both as a man and artist, five thousand years hence." His work, simple in style and monumental in scale, includes smoothly rounded animals in granite and icons sheathed in stainless steel. Only five feet tall, Bufano was a controversial, free spirit until his death in San Francisco on Aug. 16, 1970.
Member: SFAA; NSS; American Artists Congress.
Exh: Whitney Museum (NYC), 1917; Arden Gallery (NYC), 1925 (solo); Salon d'Automne (Paris), 1927; San Francisco Art Association, 1935 (1st prize); SFMA, 1935, 1936, 1937 (solos); GGIE, 1939; Calif. Academy of Sciences (SF), 1974 (solo); Oakland Museum, 1974; Museo ItaloAmericano (SF), 2000 (retrospective).
Works Held: MM; Longshoreman's Union (SF); SF Int'l Airport (Peace); Mills College (Oakland); San Francisco Museum of (Modern) Art; SF City College (St Francis); Oakland Museum.
Edan Hughes, author of the book "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; Bénézit; California Art Research, 20 volumes; American Sculpture (Stover); American Art Annual 1913; Who's Who in American Art 1938-62; 100 Years of Calif. Sculpture; Bufano (Bufano Society of SF); SS; NY Times, 8-19-1970 (obit); SF Chronicle, 12-13-2000.Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here
Beniamino Bufano was widely recognized for his skilled craftsmanship and unique designs in sculpture. He worked on a grand scale, creating pieces that had mass and stature always with smooth edges and slick surfaces.
Bufano was born in San-Fele, Italy in 1898, but moved to New York City with his family when he was still very young. Although he was educated by private tutors in his childhood, Bufano went on to study art at the Art Students League in New York in 1913. There he studied under Paul Manship, Herbert Adams and James L. Fraser.
In 1915, he relocated to San Francisco, California and from there he traveled to Europe, China and India returning in 1921. Bufano picked up new ideas and techniques on his travels, especially in China where he learned about ceramic as a sculptural medium.
Back in the United States he was working in ceramic before it even became fashionable. In 1923, he was teaching at the San Francisco Institute of Art and was fired for his progressive views on art. He eventually accepted teaching positions, in the 1960's, at the University of California Berkeley and the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. He died a famous, local sculptor in San Francisco, California in 1970.
His work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1935, 1936, and 1937, the Arden Galleries in New York in 1925, and the Oakland Museum in 1974.