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 Benjamin George Vaganov  (1896 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: California / Russian Federation      Known for: genre, landscape, mod figure, Indian

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Archangel, Russia on Oct. 8, 1896.  Due to the Revolution, Vaganov left his native land and spent a few years in China.  In 1923 he came to the U.S. and worked in Oregon in the lumber industry.  Moving to California in 1928, he settled in San Diego.  After establishing a studio in the old Spanish Village in Balboa Park, he worked on WPA art projects.   He was active there through the 1950s and then lived for many years in San Francisco.

Vaganov died at his daughter's home in Salt Lake City on March 23, 1981.  A self-taught, modernist painter, he used the pseudonym Venia.

Exh: Calif. State Fair, 1931, 1949; Kingsley Art Club (Sacramento), 1933; GGIE, 1939; San Diego FA Society, 1940-42; SFAA, 1958.

In: San Diego Museum; Carnegie Library, Escondido; House of Pacific Relations, San Diego (mural); San Diego County Visual Education (dioramas).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1947-53; Interview with the artist or his/her family; Death record.
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:

Artistic Focus:
A self-taught Modernist, Benjamin Vaganov sometimes worked under the pseudonym "Venia." His early work in California's lumber and mining industries proved to be a significant influence on the artist's life and paintings, whose texture often suggests an application of paint intended to convey Vaganov's reverence for their subjects by creating the sensation of a natural substance.

Career Highlights:
Born in Tsarist Russia, Benjamin Vaganov left his homeland to escape the dangers of the Revolution, living for several years in China before coming to the United States in 1923.

He settled first in Oregon, where he found work in the lumber industry, and then moved to San Diego in 1928, where he established a studio in the Spanish Village in Balboa Park.

Vaganov completed a number of Works Progress Administration art projects, including a mural painted in the House of Pacific Relations in San Diego, and dioramas in the San Diego County Visual Education building.

Vaganov remained active in San Diego art circles until he moved to San Francisco in the 1950s, where he spent his remaining years.

Biography from American Eagle Fine Art:
Exhibited: Calif. State Fair, 1931, 1949; Kingsley AC, Sacramento, 1933; GGE, 1939; Am. Veterans Soc. Artists, 1944, 1945; San Francisco AA, 1943, 1958; Oakland Art Gal., 1944-45; Southern California Art Exh., 1940; San Diego FAS, 1940-42 (prizes).

Member: San Francisco AA; San Diego AC; Escondido Art Soc.; AAPL.

Work: San Diego FA Soc.; Carnegie Lib., Escondido, CA; mural, House of Pacific Relations, San Diego, CA; dioramas, San Diego County Visual Educ.

Sources include: WW53; WW47. More recently, see Hughes, Artists in California, 571.

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