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Calogero Scibetta
Calogero “Charlie” Salvatore Scibetta (Italian-American, 1898-1929) painter, commercial artist and teacher, primarily known for his oil paintings of landscapes, cityscapes & portraits, scenes of Western New York, Italian & Spanish landscape & coastal scenes, as well as watercolors. He was born in Montedora, Sicily, to parents Salvatore and Carmela (née Scime) Scibetta and he had two brothers Pascal A., Angelo C., and two sisters Nina B. and Mrs. George M. Hirsch. In 1903, the family immigrated to the United States and they settled in Buffalo, NY. Scibetta had two younger brothers who were also accomplished painters & muralists in the Buffalo area; Angelo Charles Scibetta (Italian-American, 1902-1962) who later worked for the Hollywood film industry as a set decorator and art director in Los Angeles, CA, and Pascal “Pat” Scibetta (American, 1909-1992). He also had a cousin in Buffalo who was a successful painter & muralist by the name of Pascal J. Scime (American, 1906-2000).

Scibetta’s early education was at Buffalo School No. 2. He won a scholarship to study art at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts under Florence Julia Bach and David Urquhart Wilcox, and landscape painting with Otto Henry Schneider. He also won a scholarship to further his studies at the Art Students’ League in New York City under Frank Vincent DuMond, George Brandt Bridgman, William de Leftwich Dodge, Joseph Pennell, Charles Wheeler Locke, Edward Penfield and Walter Biggs. Scibetta also studied with the Tiffany Foundation, Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY, and with J. Ihrlick (unknown, -) at The Cooper Union School of Art for commercial design. Scibetta taught composition classes at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts as well as privately. From 1921-23, he was an assistant landscape instructor to Otto H. Schneider (American, 1865-1950), at the Art Students’ League of Buffalo, NY.

“Calogero S. Scibetta’s work is always conspicuous, wherever it appears. He gets a sparkle and brilliance in his work that is shear inspiration…While the work of many artists is pleasing in some respects, only a few of them can handle paint to make the most complete use of its possibilities as, for example, Scibetta does.” [1]- Carl Bredemeier (1926)

Scibetta was a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, The Arts Club of Buffalo, the Guild of Allied Arts, the Art Students’ League, the Tiffany Foundation, and The Cooper Union. He exhibited regularly in local shows with the Buffalo Society of Artists, had solo and group shows with The Arts Club of Buffalo and the Buffalo School of Fine Arts, as well as exhibitions in the New York City region with The Art Students’ League, the Society of Independent Artists, The Tiffany Foundation at Oyster Bay, an exhibition at the Tiffany Art Center, and The Cooper Union Art School. He won several prizes to include; Fellowship Prize (1924) with the Tiffany Foundation, Honorable Mention (1926) with the Buffalo Society of Artists, Second Prize (1926) The Arts Club of Buffalo, several Honorable Mentions in exhibitions with the Buffalo School Fine Arts, and a Cary Cash Prize.

In May of 1926, he took part in the Booth Tarkington’s one-act comedy play entitled “Travelers”, given by the Buffalo Arts Club at The Playhouse in Buffalo, NY, and was also head of their Decorations Committee. Scibetta’s character ‘La Sera’ was a villainous-looking but entirely innocuous Sicilian guide. The play gave Scibetta a chance to show something of caliber in a character part, and he was the hit of the production. He maintained his studio at 73 West Eagle Street in Buffalo and resided at 211 Tacoma Avenue, just north of Delaware Park in the city. Scibetta worked for over thirteen years as a successful commercial artist before he died in Valencia, Spain after an operation for mastoiditis in 1929.

Chronology:

1898- Born, December 8, to father Salvatore Scibetta and mother Carmela (née Scime), Montedoro, Sicily, and had two younger brothers who were also accomplished painters and muralists; Angelo Charles Scibetta (Italian-American, 1902-1962) and Pascal “Pat” A. Scibetta (American, 1909-1992), and two sisters Nina B. and Mrs. George M. Hirsch. Also had a cousin Pascal J. Scime (American, 1906-2000) who was also a successful painter and muralist in the Buffalo, NY area.

1903- Family immigrated to the United States and settled in Buffalo, NY.

Circa late 1910’s-early 20’s- Won a scholarship to study art at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts with Florence Julia Bach and David Urquhart Wilcox, as well as studying landscape painting with Otto Henry Schneider, Buffalo, NY.

1921-23- Assistant landscape instructor to Otto H. Schneider (American, 1865-1950), Art Students’ League of Buffalo, NY.

1922- Was on the Students’ Council of the Buffalo School of Fine Arts, Buffalo, NY.

1923- Won a scholarship to study at the Art Students’ League in New York City, where he studied with Frank Vincent DuMond, George Brandt Bridgman, William de Leftwich Dodge, Joseph Pennell, Charles Wheeler Locke, Edward Penfield and Walter Biggs.

1924- Exhibited, group show, Tiffany Foundation (Fellowship Prize), Long Island, NY.

1926- January-February, exhibited, group show, “The Thirty-Second Annual Exhibition of The Buffalo Society of Artists”, Honorable Mention for the oil painting “Sagamore Hill” (loaned by Martin Griffith), Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright Knox Art Gallery), Buffalo, NY. Spring, exhibited, group show, “Second Annual Exhibition of the Arts Club of Buffalo”, paintings included “A Study” (Trees), won Second Prize ($25) for his crayon sketch “A Wood Interior”, “Leonese Peasants (Study of a Sorolla)”, “Early Summer”, and “Heavy Clouds”, 669 Main Street made available by courtesy of Arthur Victor, Buffalo, NY. May of 1926, he took part in the Booth Tarkington’s one-act comedy play entitled “Travelers”, given by the Buffalo Arts Club at The Playhouse in Buffalo, NY, as the character ‘La Sera’ (a Sicilian guide). Was executive of the painting division of the Buffalo Arts Club, Buffalo, NY.

1928- October 1, Charlie married Miss L. Patricia (née Doty), St. Joseph's Church, North Main St., and a wedding breakfast followed at the Statler Hotel, Buffalo, NY. After the wedding Charlie and Patricia left for New York City to sail on the S.S. Roma on October 6, to spend the next two years traveling and painting throughout Eupope in countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the Alps, Algiers and Egypt not only for their honeymoon, but for an important painting commission funded by Martin Griffith, a collector of Charlie's work.

1929- October 16, after being critically ill for over a month due to a mastoid infection, Charlie died suddenly in Valencia, Spain after an operation for the ailment. His body was set to arrive back in the United States on the S.S. Magelanes on November 19 for burial in New York where his wife Patricia planned to make her new residence.

2011- Exhibited, group show, “19th and 20th Century Paintings from the Collection of Sam Haney: 21st Annual Art Show and Sale”, two landscape paintings 'Tree with Fisherman' (#50) 13 x 16" oil on board, and 'Delaware Park Tree' (#105) 13 x 16" oil on board, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.

Exhibited also: Buffalo Society of Artists, annual and ‘Thumb-Box’ exhibitions (unknown dates), Buffalo, NY; The Art Students’ League (unknown dates), NYC; The Arts Club of Buffalo (solo & group shows, unknown dates), Buffalo, NY; Buffalo School of Fine Arts (solo shows, unknown dates), Buffalo, NY; Society of Independent Artists (unknown dates), NYC; Tiffany Exhibition at the Art Center (unknown date), NYC; The Anderson Gallery, (unknown date & location); The Cooper Union (unknown dates), NYC; The Tiffany Foundation at Oyster Bay (unknown dates), Long Island, NY.

Prizes/Awards: Won scholarship to study at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts as well as receiving several Honorable Mentions in some of their exhibitions (unknown dates), Buffalo, NY; Won scholarship to study at the Art Students’ League (1923), NYC; Fellowship Prize (1924), Tiffany Foundation, Long Island, NY; Honorable Mention (1926) for the painting “Sagamore Hill”, Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY; Second Prize of $25, “Second Annual Exhibition of the Arts Club of Buffalo”, for the crayon sketch “A Wood Interior”, Buffalo, NY; Cary Cash Prize, (unknown date & location); Second Prize, Buffalo Arts Club annual exhibition (unknown date), Buffalo, NY.

Memberships: Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY; Guild of Allied Arts, Buffalo, NY; The Arts Club of Buffalo, NY; Art Students’ League, NYC; Tiffany Foundation, Long Island, NY; The Cooper Union, NYC.

Associations: Was executive of the painting division of the Buffalo Arts Club, and was head of the Decorations Committee, Buffalo, NY; Partner of the Buffalo Advertising Artists, Buffalo, NY.

Collections: Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Burchfield-Penney Art Center, donation of two paintings from the Scibetta/Ferrari Estate Collection (2010), Buffalo, NY; The Cooper Union, NYC; Art Students’ League, NYC.

Works: Concrete sculptures done along with Stanley Kraska with Willis E. Sykes and possibly others, at the Buffalo Zoological Gardens, Buffalo, NY, supervised by Harold Ambelian and Frank Romanelli, located at entrances tot he zoo.

Publications: Buffalo Sunday Express, Picture Page, “Calogero Scibetta found the inspiration for this colorful thing in Sagamore Hill”, one image, Section Two, Page 2 (unknown month & day), 1926; The Buffalo Artists’ Register, by Lee F. Heacock (editor), and article “The Arts Club’s Second Annual Exhibition”, by Carl Bredemeier, as well as an exhibition article which included an exhibit list of artists & paintings, “The Buffalo Society of Artists”, Pgs. 81, 83, 87-88, 91, 112-113, 173, 176-77, & 391, edition limited to 1,000 copies, 1926; The Artists Bluebook: 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005, by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier, editor at AskArt.com, 2005.

For additional information on this artist or for other possible examples of his works, please visit the AskArt link.

(Rewritten in parts & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 01/2011, www.meibohmfinearts.com, Sources: Biographical information from the Scibetta/Ferrari Estate Collection; Biographical information & quote [1] from the article “The Arts Club’s Second Annual Exhibition”, by Carl Bredemeier, as well as an exhibition article which included an exhibit list of artists & paintings, “The Buffalo Society of Artists”, and portrait photo from, The Buffalo Artists’ Register, by Lee F. Heacock (editor), Pgs. 81, 83, 87-88, 91, 112-113, 173, 176-77, & 391, edition limited to 1,000 copies, 1926; Who was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, by Peter Hastings Falk (editor in chief), Sound View Press, Madison, CT, 1999; AskArt.com, with permission, prior biographical submission by the relative Jay Ferrari, January 2002; fultonhistory.com, online digitized newspaper, Buffalo Sunday Express, Picture Page, “Calogero Scibetta found the inspiration for this colorful thing in Sagamore Hill”, one image, Section Two, Page 2 (unknown month & day), 1926, Buffalo NY Morning Express 1926 - 1610.PDF; pipl.com; highbeam.com, online newspaper obituary article, Buffalo News, “Pascal J. Scime, Artists, Created Murals”, October 17, 2000; ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index, “Scime, P.J.”; vitals.rootsweb.amcestry.com, California Death Records, “Scibetta, Angelo C.”; sandiegohistory.org, online biographical information, The Journal of San Diego History: Otto Henry Schneider, San Diego Historical Society Quarterly, by Gregg Hennessey, editor, Volume 47, No. 3, Summer 2001; findartinfo.com; and waddingtons.ca, Waddington’s “Off The Wall” auction order of sale catalogue PDF document, Tuesday June 27, 2006, otw_27jun2006.pdf; Buffalo Courier-Express, "Buffalo Artist Touring Europe Dies Suddenly: Calogero Scibetta, prominent in local art circles, succumbs in Spain after operation", October 23, 1929; fultonhistory.com, online digitized newspaper article, Buffalo Courier-Express. "Weddings and Engagements: Scibetta-Doty", Pg. 12, Wednesday, October 3, 1928, PDF Buffalo NY Courier Express 1928 - 7500.pdf ; Newspaper article, Buffalo News Gusto, “New Deal Art: Out of the gloom of the Depression came remarkable strides in the arts.”, by Anthony Bannon, Pgs. 3 & 16, Friday, Nov. 4, 1983.)
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