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Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano (aka "Bene" Bufano, "Bennie" Bufano or more commonly known as "Benny" Bufano) (October 15, 1890 – August 18, 1970) was an Italian American sculptor and art professor.

Bufano taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, as well as the San Francisco Institute of Art and the University of California, Berkeley.

The Oakland Museum of California has Bufano sculptures on display. One of his sculptures is the Seal which now stands in the patio of the Junior Center of Art and Science in Lakeside Park. Previous to the statue residing at Lake Merritt, the Seal was prominently displayed in the center of the courtyard to the entrance of the Junior Center location in Mosswood Park.

He is also credited with the $Dollarocracy$ mosaic outside the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) Hall at 99 Hegenberger Road. 1

Beginning in 1961, his 17' statue of St. Francis was displayed at the Bermuda Building. 2

Apparently Trader Vic paid the rent on Bufano’s studio for 10 years, and told the artist that he could eat at his restaurant any time. “Meat and potatoes were OK, but when he started going for nothing but caviar, pate and Champagne, that was too much. ... Still, he was a magnificent artist, a giant, the finest sculptor of the age, and the biggest pain in the neck I ever met.” 3

Benny Bufano sculpture of a Seal, at the Junior Center of Art & Science, Lakeside Park, Oakland, California (JL)

Mosaic art

Bufano was also a mosaicist. One of his frequent collaborators was Alfonso Pardiñas, who made Bufano's mosaic sculpture grave marker (located in Colma, CA).

Learn more about mosaic art in Oakland

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Links and References

  1. ILWU Mosaic on
  2. St. Francis Arrives--All 12 Tons of Him Oakland Tribune March 16, 1961
  3. An ode to Benny Bufano, a San Francisco sculptor who broke the mold San Francisco Chronicle April 18, 2017