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 Dorothy Wagner Puccinelli  (1901 - 1974)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: mural, mosaic, illustrator

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Ad Code: 4
Dorothy Wagner Puccinelli
An example of work by Dorothy Wagner Puccinelli
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in San Antonio, TX on Dec. 19, 1901. Dorothy Wagner was brought to northern California as a child of five. Her family settled in Half Moon Bay where she attended high school and became interested in an art career. At age 18 she enrolled at the CSFA for four years and then continued at the Schaeffer School of Design and with Beniamino Bufano. During the 1930s she was associated with the Public Works of Art Project and, under their auspices, she and Helen Forbes painted murals in the Mother House at the San Francisco Zoo and in the Merced Post Office. She was equally skilled in oil, tempera, and watercolor. After her divorce from Raymond Puccinelli, she married Austin Cravath (brother of artist Ruth Cravath) in 1941. She then lived in Berkeley, CA until her death on May 24, 1974. Member: SFAA; SF Women Artists; SF Mural Artists. Exh: SFAA, 1925; SF Women Artists, 1932 (1st prize); SFMA, 1935; GGIE, 1939. In: SFMA; CPLH.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Art of Treasure Island; American Art Annual 1933; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; Who's Who in California 1942.
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.

Biography from Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts:
Equally skilled in oil, tempera, and watercolor, Dorothy Puccinelli was an early San Francisco Modernist painter who had a diverse oeuvre. Difficult to categorize, her subjects primarily were figurative and most often were done with the purpose of evoking emotion in the viewer.

Born Dorothy Wagner in San Antonio, Texas, in 1901, Puccinelli came to California with her mother at age five. They settled in Half Moon Bay, and at age 18 Dorothy enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where she learned fresco technique by watching Diego Rivera paint the school's mural. Puccinelli went on to study at the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design with Beniamino Bufano, and worked in the commercial art field, including book illustration, store window displays, sets and costumes for the Children's Theatre, and also wrote an art column for "Arts and Architecture" magazine.

In the 1920s and 1930s Dorothy Puccinelli exhibited her work with the San Francisco Art Association, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and in the San Francisco Women Artists show, where she won first prize in 1932. In 1928 she married sculptor Raymond Puccinelli (they later were divorced).

In association with the Public Works of Art Project, Dorothy Puccinelli completed two murals with Helen Forbes: one in 1937 in the Merced post office, and the other in the Mother's House of San Francisco's Fleishhacker Zoo. Painted on a 28-foot wall and a 68-foot wall, the murals depicted Noah's Ark and its animals. Puccinelli also created murals for the towers of the Homes and Gardens building at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.

In 1941 Dorothy Puccinelli married physicist Austin Cravath, the brother of her best friend, sculptor Ruth Cravath, and the couple and their daughter made their home in Berkeley. In 1962, Puccinelli's expertise as a fresco painter was called upon to assist in restoring San Francisco's Coit Tower murals. Dorothy Puccinelli passed away in Berkeley in 1974.

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