A brief history of Benny Bufano

Sep 04, 2017 1359

BY: Sam Whiting

Beniamino Bufano was born near the heel of Italy, in 1889, or was it 1898? Both have been listed as “one of his truths that changed a lot,” says Mary Serventi Steiner, who attempted to verify Bufano’s background for a recent exhibit at Museo Italo Americano. Bufano claimed to be from a family of 15 kids. He was missing half of his right index finger and claimed that he cut off his “trigger finger” and mailed it to President Woodrow Wilson in order to prove his pacifism during the Great War.

It is generally accepted that Bufano arrived as a child through Ellis Island and studied art in the New York City public schools. As a teenager (or in his 20s) he made the break to San Francisco to apprentice on art being made for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. He stuck and so did his nickname “Bene,” Americanized to Benny. Within 10 years, he had established enough of a presence that when his radical teaching methods got him fired from the San Francisco School of Fine Arts (now the Art Institute), it merited a news report in The Chronicle, according to research conducted by staff librarian Bill Van Niekerken.

Read more

SOURCE: http://www.sfchronicle.com/

You may be interested