Birth of 20th-century “Modern” art in New York City
European and American modern art was being shown in Donatus Buongiorno’s East Village and Madison Square neighborhoods when he lived in New York. Was he aware of it? Did he visit the Macbeth and 291 galleries? Most of his work shows no influence, except perhaps Lucia.
Armory Show, 1913
The famous Armory Show which introduced modern art from France to America, was held in the 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between East 25th and East 26th streets, while Donatus Buongiorno had a studio 14 blocks south at East 11th Street. A few years after the show, Buongiorno had a studio on East 23rd Street, in the same building as Walter Kuhn, one of the organizers of the show. Did they know each other? Did Buongiorno see the Armory Show?
One of New York’s contributions to the canon of modern art—The Ashcan School—developed among galleries and artists with studios in Donatus Buongiorno’s Union Square neighborhood. Was he aware of their work? This terrific website about John Sloan’s work illustrates this period brilliantly.
Donatus Buongiorno attended an international art congress in Rome in 1911 (along with other art world luminaries both contemporary and nascent: Carolus-Duran, Wassily Kandinsky and Elsa Schiaparelli.)
Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli
Donatus Buongiorno completed a course of study at the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples (then known as the Royal Academy, misspelled as “Roil” in many online biographies) in the late 1880s and may have taught there before emigrating to the U.S. in 1892. I have many questions about his classmates, peers, teachers and mentors (I have names of some), but I haven’t had good luck communicating with anyone there. I wonder if they have records of his stint there or own any of his paintings. (Do you know anything about this academy or someone who could communicate with them for me in Italian? If so, please write to me, either privately at this e-mail address, or post a comment below.)