1 of 6 images

John B. Monaco
Study of John Singleton Copley's painting of John Hancock

1916

About

John B. Monaco 1916 painting and study of the John Singleton Copley portrait of John Hancock. San Francisco artist and San Francisco city documentary photographer John.B. Monaco, (Giovanni Battista Monaco) (American, 1857-1938). Signed lower right "J. B. Monaco S.F. 1916." Unframed. In his early days in the city, John B.Monaco came to the attention of the prominent artist Domenico Tojetti and studied painting with him for several years. A writer commented on J. B.'s distinctive style, "One must see his studies of Napoleon, Washington, and Lincoln to judge this quality." J.B. Monaco: The Dean of North Beach Photographers Historical Essay by Richard Dillon, from North Beach: The Italian Heart of San Francisco, 1985: Presidio Press, Novato CA: In a local paper, circa 1923, J. B. was profiled as "a Swiss photographer and painter of San Francisco's Bohemia." He liked that. He told his anonymous interviewer that, at the age of fifteen in Livorno, he got his first art lesson by mischievously ringing, repeatedly, the doorbell of an established artist. The man promptly boxed his ears for disturbing him. "But," added Monaco, "while he was 'massaging' my ears, my eyes were feasting over his roomful of paintings, and the result of it all was a lot of artistic and fatherly advice." The photographer told his interviewer, "For real pleasure, I say, give me a canvas, paints, brushes, pipe, and a pretty subject--if it isn't asking too much at sixty -- six." Monaco was also pleased when the March 1938 issue of Focus, a magazine published by Hirsch and Kaye, the West's largest independently owned photographic supply house, devoted its lead story to J. B. and his work. The cover bore a halftone from a photo of his 1929 romantic painting of a Neapolitan boy. At eighty-one, he was in good health although only months away from his death. His years rested easily on his shoulders. But his pride would not allow him to admit that financial reverses had taken his studio from him. He told his visitor that he had decided to retire and had therefore closed his photography business. Monaco reminded his interviewer that he had been painting long before he started taking photos. At age thirteen, in fact, he painted Vesuvius. However, he depicted the volcanic peak as it had appeared during the full eruption of 1833. He used pigments that he made of ash, charcoal, and pulverized brick. The rude but vivid canvas hung on the wall of his home. Today the painting is on display in Alessandro Baccari's North Beach Museum, on loan from Richard Monaco. In his early days in the city, Monaco came to the attention of the prominent artist Domenico Tojetti and studied painting with him for several years. The Focus writer commented on J. B.'s distinctive style, "One must see his studies of Napoleon, Washington, and Lincoln to judge this quality." Obviously impressed by the still suave and jovial old gentleman, the writer closed the article by saying, "J. B. Monaco, photographer, painter, gentleman of leisure; we are proud to call him friend." His grandson Richard today owns Monaco Labs, a motion picture and video laboratory in San Francisco. Dick also has devoted much time to the rediscovery and appreciation of the pioneer photos of the Dean of North Beach Photographers, his grandfather, J. B. Monaco. John B. Monaco's legacy to his adopted city is the collection of hundreds of photographs, both portraits and North Beach cityscapes, which survived the closing of his studio and are now in the hands of his grandson. When Alessandro Baccari opened his North Beach Museum in 1978, Kevin Starr wrote an Examiner story in which he compared the Swiss's work with that of Arnold Genthe in Chinatown. Both men were portrait photographers by profession whose best work was done in their avocational urban landscapes.

Details

  • Artist
    John B. Monaco (1856 - 1938, Swiss American)
  • Creation year
    1916
  • Condition
    Excellent. Very good with some in painting to a few areas..
  • Dimensions

    H 20 in. x W 18 in. x D 1 in.

    H 50.8 cm x W 45.72 cm x D 2.54 cm

  • Gallery location
    Soquel, CA
  • Reference number
    LU5422488861

Shipping, Returns & Payment

  • Online Payment Methods
    1stdibs accepts the following payment methods
  • Item Invoice
    Generate an invoice that you can customize and print.

About the Seller

Top Seller
Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2014
Typical response time: 1 hr
Located in Soquel, CA
You may also contact the seller by phoneCall seller through 1stdibs

Why Shop on 1stdibs?

Learn More

Only Vetted, Professional Sellers

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

Fully Insured Global Deliveries

More From This Seller
NaN

Flamenco Dancer

Richard Ruh Epperly

Canvas, Oil, Cardboard

Haunting portrait of a flemenco dancer by Richard Ruh Epperly (American, 1891-1973), circa 1930. Signed lower left "R.R. Epperly." Condition: Excellent. Image size; 16"H x...

NaN

Caribbean Beauty

Lucille H. Olpin

Canvas, Oil

A beautiful, painterly portrait of a young Caribbean woman by Lucille H. Olpin (Ethel Lucille Harman Olpin) (American, 1909-1990). Signed "Olpin" lower right corner. Card w...

NaN

Tea Time

Patricia Gillfillan

Oil, Canvas

Portrait of a young woman enjoying tea time by Patricia Gillfillan (American, 1924-2016). Carmel and San Luis Obispo, California area artist. From a collection of her works. Unsigned...

NaN

Study of Woman

David Rosenthal

Canvas, Oil

Portrait of a Italian woman by American impressionist painter David Rosenthal (American, 1876-1949), c. 1900. Estate stamp on verso. Image, 11"H x 17.5"L. David Rosenthal ...

You May Also Like
NaN

Train To Florence

Ron Hicks

Canvas, Oil

Shelves in the Ron Hick's studio are lined with art books about Nicolai Fechin, James Whistler and William Merritt Chase. There are also volumes featuring Hicks' main muses John Sing...

NaN

Memories at the Cove

Don Hatfield

Canvas, Oil

American artist, Don Hatfield, recently completed this gorgeous painting. A man and three children sail a toy sailboat in a charming cove. Hatfield uses a beautiful color palette of ...

NaN

"The Brittany Family"

Martha Walter

Canvas, Oil

SIgned LL, Exhibited Carnegie Institute, 1911 Born in Philadelphia, Martha Walter was a well-known Philadelphia Impressionist who specialized in light hearted, colorful beach scenes...

NaN

Sarah Bernhardt Hunting with Hounds

Louise Abbema

Canvas, Oil

Louise Abbéma 1858-1927 French Sarah Bernhardt Hunting with Hounds (Diane) Signed "Louise Abbema" (upper left) Oil on canvas This painting was illustrated in the catalog...

NaN

L'irlandaise

Louis Jaquet

Canvas, Oil

Oil portrait of an Irishwoman in a beige hat and pink dress.

NaN

Azules y Rosas

José Royo

Canvas, Oil

"Azules y Rosas" by José Royo is a stunning oil painting on canvas. This piece measures 28 inches tall by 36 inches wide and features Royo signature impressionistic style. This com...

NaN

Flores y Frutas

José Royo

Cotton Canvas, Oil

This soft and romantic beauty by José Royo is entitled "Flores y Frutas". This impressionist style oil painting on canvas features a portrait style treatment of a contemplative woma...

NaN Sale Price
44% Off

The Boudoir

Fay Singer

Canvas, Oil

FAY SINGER "THE BOUDIOR" OIL ON CANVAS, ESTATE STAMPED C.1975 40 X 30 INCHES Fay Singer 1927-2015 Singer was born in 1927 in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Wes...