The collection is arranged as 3 series. Series 1: Personal and Professional Papers, circa 1943-1970 (Box 1; 8 folders) Series 2: Printed Materials, 1922-1972 (Box 1, 4; 0.3 linear feet) Series 3: Scrapbooks, circa 1910-1972 (Box 1-4; 2.2 linear feet)
Access Note / Rights:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
The papers of sculptor Beniamino Bufano measure 2.7 linear feet and date from circa 1910 to 1972. The collection sheds light on the artist's career through personal and professional papers, printed materials, photographic materials, and scrapbooks that contain primarily letters, clippings, and photographs.
Beniamino Bufano papers, circa 1910-1972. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Italian-born sculptor Beniamino Bufano (1898-1970) was active primarily in San Francisco for most of his career. Bufano was known for his large-scale monuments and modernist work which often featured smooth and rounded animal forms.
Bufano was born in San Fele, Italy, and moved to New York in 1901. He studied at the Art Students' League under James Fraser, Herbert Adams, and Paul Manship. In 1914, Manship invited Bufano and Robert Treat Paine to work in San Francisco on sculptures for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, and in 1915 Bufano won first prize in an art exhibition held by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Bufano married in 1918 and moved to California where he met art patrons Sara Bard Field and Charles Erskine Scott Wood. This patronage allowed Bufano to travel to China, where he studied glazing and became friends with Sun Yat-Sen, India, Cambodia, and elsewhere for the next several years; he was profoundly influenced by his experiences on this and subsequent trips.
Bufano returned to San Francisco in 1921 and taught at the San Francisco Art Institute until 1923 when he founded the short-lived Davinci School of Allied Arts. In 1925 he launched a solo exhibition at the City of Paris Galleries which, over the next eight years, traveled to other locations in the Uninted States and abroad including Paris, London, Berlin, and Moscow.
During this time, Bufano spent two years in Paris where he completed St. Francis of Assisi , which he intended to give to the City of San Francisco and which became perhaps his best known and most controversial work.
In the 1930s Bufano was employed by the Works Progress Adminstration's Federal Arts Project, during which time he completed some of his abstracted bronze and stone animals and a statue of Sun Yat-sen. In 1946 he established Bufano Studios Inc., also known as Bufano Society for the Arts, with a nine-person board of directors.
Also an educator, Bufano lectured on art over the radio and in classrooms, and in the 1960s taught at the University of California at Berkeley and the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He held a position on the San Francisco Arts Commission from 1944-1948, serving as commissioner in 1947.
The collection was donated by Pauline B. Goetz in 1997.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001