Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano (1889-1970) was born in San-Fele, Italy, on October 14, 1889. At age three, Bufano's family brought him to New York and studied with private tutors at the "Art Students League" from 1913 to 1915.
He was the pupil of James L. Fraser, Herbert Adams, and Paul Manship. In 1915, he went to San Francisco to work on a sculpture for the Panama Pacific International Exposition.
Bufano traveled extensively for four years in France, Italy, India, and China, returning to San Francisco in 1921. 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 the University of California Berkeley and the California College of Arts and Crafts (1964-65). His work, simple in style and monumental in scale, includes smoothly rounded animals in granite and icons sheathed in stainless steel.
He was a member of the San Francisco Art Association; National Sculpture Society; American Artists Congress.
Only five feet tall, Bufano was a controversial, free spirit until his death in San Francisco on August 16, 1970.
Beniamino Bufano holds a curious niche in the history of Bay Area art - widely beloved by people who, as they say, know what they like, somewhat less highly respected by the cognoscenti of the establishment.