Benny Bufano Brings Peace to SF International Airport
Harvey Richards took this photo of the Benny Bufano Peace statue in front of the San Francisco International Airport in 1958. Remarkable to note what a sleepy town San Francsico was in 1958, compared to today anyway. First Benny Bufano’s statue itself is wonderful. (It was moved to another location some years later.) A monument to peace at the gateway to the city. Who could ask for more? Second, a father and his child sitting peacefully in a grassy field directly in front of the airport under the statue of peace waiting for a plane, most likely. No parking structure, no freeway maze, no airport security. Benny Bufano was a peace activist throughout his life.
MisterSF’s blog described Benny this way: “Sculpting giant Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano, who was only five feet tall, was born in 1898 in San-Fele, Italy. Bufano spent his childhood in New York, where he was privately educated before attending the Arts Student League as a pupil of James L. Fraser, Herbert Adams, and Paul Manship. Bufano came to San Francisco in 1915 before traveling for four years in Europe, India and China. After his tour, the free spirited Bufano returned to the City and remained a San Franciscan for the rest of his life. He was fired as an instructor at the San Francisco Institute of Art in 1923 for being a radical. Bufano severed his finger and sent it to President Wilson to protest World War I. Henry Miller wrote, “[Bufano] will outlive our civilization and probably be better known, better understood, both as a man and artist, five thousand years hence.” Bufano died in San Francisco on August 16, 1970. His work is characterized by its use of smoothly rounded granite and steel and by its monumental iconography. St. Francis is a frequent subject of Bufano’s art.”