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Beniamino Bufano Biography

Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano was born in San Fele, Italy on Oct. 14, 1889. At age three Bufano's family brought him to New York City where he spent his childhood and was educated by private tutors. He studied at the Art Student's League in New York 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 Panama Pacific International Exposition. 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 California College of Arts & Crafts (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 August 16, 1970.

Member: San Francisco Art Association; National Sculpture Society (NYC); American Artists Congress.

Exhibited: Whitney Museum (NYC), 1917; Arden Gallery (NYC), 1925 (solo); Salon d'Automne (Paris), 1927; San Francisco Art Association, 1935 (1st prize); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1935, 1936, 1937 (solos); Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939; California Academy of Sciences (SF), 1974 (solo); Oakland Museum, 1974; Museo ItaloAmericano (SF), 2000 (retrospective).

Works Held: Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY); Longshoreman's Union (SF); San Francisco International Airport (Peace); Mills College (Oakland); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco City College (St Francis); Oakland Museum.