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  • Franco Vianello


    Art Brokerage: Franco Vianello Italian Artist: b. 1937-2015. Franco Vianello, renowned sculptor and versatile modern artist, passed away in Napa on August 6 at the age of 78. Born in 1937 to a family of artists and craftsmen in Venice, Italy,nVianello began traditional training in the art of sculpture and foundry work at the age of nine. By eleven his skills were recognized by the famed sculptor Napoleone Martinuzze who apprenticed him until the age of 13 when he was accepted into the Institute of Arts in Venice where he studied, eventually receiving his Masters’ Degreen before emigrating to the United States in 1959 at the age of 22. As a highly respected sculptor and restorer of historic works for many well-known collectors, including Peggy Guggenheim, Franco was able to establish the first Lost-Wax sculpture foundry on the West Coast in 1960. From his studio, one of only three such facilities in the entire country, he taught bronze sculpting techniques eventually setting up several additional Lost-Wax casting foundries including one for the University of California at Berkeley. After serving in the United States Army (1962-1964), Vianello and his wife, Jane (née Nourse), settled in the East Bay of San Francisco where he quickly resumed his career in sculpture, creating many beloved large scale works including the Pony Express in Old Town Sacramento; the Tuna Fishermen Monument on Shelter Island in San Diego; the Four Horsemen at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City; the Calgary Stampede Bucking Horse, and the Leif Erikkson statue in Seattle. Some of his personal favorite works include many smaller scale bronzes depicting early California life often noted for their painstaking attention to accurate period details of artifacts and clothing. His work drew deep admiration from the many artists and collectors with whom he interacted both during his time in Berkeley, Richmond, San Lorenzo and from his home studio in Napa Valley. As one of only a handful of artists skilled in the art of Lost Wax casting and large scale monuments, Vianello’s commissions grew to include works for the Audubon Society, Champion International, Scripps Oceanographic Institute, Wells Fargo Bank, Dillingham Corporation, Levi Strauss Company, San Francisco Bohemian Club, San Diego Historical Society, and San Francisco Academy of Sciences. Listings wanted.

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