Discovery: Benny Bufano

About This Item

Please note: This 'kinescope' recording was originally made in 1953 by filming the picture from a live video monitor. The picture quality - especially sharpness - is much lower than the rest of our footage produced on 16mm film. KPIX-TV and the San Francisco Museum of Art presents a program in the 'Discovery' series about the work of sculptor Benny Bufano (1898-1970). Bufano is interviewed in the studio by host Dr Lloyd Luckmann and explains his artistic process, discussing many of his works of art. Also includes scenes of Bufano relaxing in a local bistro, eating at Moars Cafeteria (which houses a large mosaic of his), visiting the San Francisco Chronicle and working at night in his studio, on a new mosaic. In close up shots, part of Bufano's 'trigger' finger on his right hand is seen to be missing. He had chopped it off more than 30 years earlier and sent it to President Woodrow Wilson, in protest at World War I. At one point when they are examining pieces of mosaic, Bufano reflects it's "too bad you can't see this in color." Luckmann replies: "Some day its going to be possible but not today."

Originally aired on
Date aired
Recording medium
16mm b&w, optical sound kinescope film
Rights for this video belong to
Type of material
KPIX 146828

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Great to see Benny Bufano I am becoming a great fan Bufano Regards Shillong

Benny Bufano, its awesomeRegards,Teer
Anyone know where the Moars Cafeteria mosaics of Bufano's are now?

Hello All,

I recently purchased two small bronze statues at a flea market.  One of a snail and one of flames.  From my research I am convinced they are from Beniamino Bufano  or at least very strongly influenced by him.  Please let me know how I can share photos and get some opinions.

Thank you,


I saw the murals that were somehow removed from Moar's hanging in a New building on Fourth Street (near Moscone) and learned later the building was scheduled for demolition.....last I heard.....but I saw them justy as they were in Moar's.

Great film!

Anyone know where the Moars Cafeteria mosaics of Bufano's are now?

I am amazed knowing more about this artist, and I am becoming a fan of Bufano'scultures, my girlfriend's relatives are from San fele, Italy where bufano was born

Thank you for sharing this masterpiece of art


Jose, from Australia

Sounds like a mafioso, did he make those weird statues at SFO?

Thanks Alex, for putting up my comment!

I turned a local sculptor on to the video and also wanted to show him Miller's essay on Benny Bufano, but when I looked for it I discovered I had not remembered the reference correctly -- Miller wrote about Benny in "Remember to Remember", and how is that for irony, I didn't remember.

Again, this is a great piece to have preserved, thanks!Ron

Ron Potter asked me to add a message from him (below):

I have been a fan of Benny Bufano's sculpture since reading about him in Henry Miller's "Air Conditioned Nightmare" a very long time ago. Eventually I ended up in San Francisco for a few years and enjoyed seeking out sites with his work. So glad to see that this 'studio tour' was preserved and made available on the internet! 

Thanks, Ron.

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