American International Art Exposition, Inc., New York, New York, 1922newly chartered corporations in New York State, including American International Art Exposition in Brooklyn, New York, shown above.
The company announced three partners: D. (Donato/Donatus) Buongiorno, G. (Giacomo, also known as James) Visconti, V. Marino. M. (Michael) C. D’Agrosa of 261 Broadway is listed as attorney.
Most eye-popping is the company’s capitalization: $25,000.
I haven’t been able to find out anything else about this company. It wasn’t listed in directories or phone books, and I find no evidence of its activities in art business publications of the period.
I discovered some information about partner James Visconti. A photographer in Brooklyn, Visconti took over a photography business from his father. It was located at several addresses in Brooklyn from the 1890s through 1920s. Visconti signed Buongiorno’s 1919 passport application as a witness testifying to his identity, having known him for 22 years, and probably also took the photograph of Buongiorno in the passport. A local address in Brooklyn which Buongiorno provided upon re-entering the U.S. in 1922 may have been Visconti’s home.
I also located several business addresses for lawyer D’Agrosa and evidence of him doing legal work for other companies.
The Brooklyn location of the company is unexplainable. The only other evidence I have of Buongiorno’s involvement in the art scene in Brooklyn is that a J. H. Moskow of H. J. Moskow Art Dealer, 180 Montague Street, Brooklyn, New York, provided a reference letter for Buongiorno’s 1919 U.S. passport application.
American International Art Exposition, Inc. is a mystery. With $25,000 involved, I would love to solve it. Do you know anything about the company or any of these men? If so, please write to me, either privately at this e-mail address, or post a comment below.
Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York, 1901
In several art biographies, Buongiorno claimed to have exhibited art in the Pan-American Exposition which was held in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. Though the fair was heavily documented, I have not been able to substantiate this claim.
The fair was a major venue for promoting American art, and it was promoted extensively, both in sanctioned publications and in tourist-style ephemera, all of which survive in well-organized archives. Buongiorno did not have work on display in the Exhibition of Fine Arts or in any other “official” buildings, that I can determine, nor did he win any prizes.
However, I have a theory on what he exhibited—this portrait of U.S. President William McKinley, the U.S. President who was assassinated at the fair—which I found recently when its owner offered it for sale on eBay.
I suspect this portrait was commissioned by sympathetic Republicans, perhaps after McKinley died, and may have been exhibited at the fair or elsewhere in Buffalo. If anyone can help me substantiate this idea, please write to me, either privately at this e-mail address or post a comment below.
From the 1930s on, this painting hung in a house in Brooklyn, New York, and it is now for sale. Write to me if you would like to be put in touch with the owner of this painting.
Art Congress in Rome, 1911
In 1911, Buongiorno attended an “art congress” in Rome in 1911. His registration is confirmed on page 17 of the congress’s minutes here.
This conference appears to focus on art teaching with each day’s activities centered around a teaching theme, such as “Decoration of Schools.” The book contains reports of each day’s activities, who attended and who addressed the attendees on each theme.
Buongiorno may have attended this conference as a teacher, as I see nothing on Buongiorno’s other subjects: church decoration, religious murals, being an immigrant/emigrant artist, etc. Art directories (Benezit and others) claim he taught art in Italy, and one source claims he taught in the U.S., though I have not been able to determine where or when. Even without a formal position in an art academy, it’s likely he taught apprentices privately in his studio, as was common among journeyman artists in the academic system, so perhaps he attended this conference to strengthen his offerings in that area.
Notable among other attendees are Carolus-Duran (page 12), a well-known Parisian painter and instructor who may have attended the conference during the period when he was the director of Rome branch of Ecole des Beaux Arts; Wassily (spelled Wassig) Kandinsky (page 21), a Russian-born artist who was living and studying in Munich in 1911 and who became a well-known abstract painter later in his life; Elsa Schiaparelli, page 25 (who attended with her sister Bice Schiaparelli), then age 21 and not famous until the 1920s as a fashion designer.
Do you know anything about this congress? If so, please write to me, either privately at this e-mail address, or post a comment below.
Exhibition in Solofra, Avellino, Italy, 1908
Buongiorno had an exhibit of his paintings in his hometown of Solofra, Avellino, in 1908, in conjunction with restoration work he completed in the town’s 16th century Neapolitan Baroque church, La Collegiata di San Michele. The source of this information is Le Rane, an Italian-language publication of the town. I am eager to learn more about these activities. If anyone can tell me, please write to me, either privately at this e-mail address, or post a comment below.