2nd Annual Bird Art Exhibition in Madison, Georgia
Born in 1895 in Livorno, Italy, to prosperous parents, Athos Menaboni won lifetime fame as a world renowned bird artist. As a child he observed nature when his family adopted wild animals and built an aviary for wild birds.
Menaboni attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence until 1914 when he served in the Italian army for four years during WWI.
Menaboni emigrated to the US in the 1920s living first in NY and FL before settling in Atlanta, Georgia, where he became a US citizen in 1936. He created corporate art projects and murals before focusing his career on painting birds from life, often in pairs and in natural habitat. A prolific artist, he painted over 150 species of birds in the Atlanta region.
While residing at a boarding house in Atlanta, Menaboni met and married Sara Regina Arnold, who served as his agent and collaborator by creating text for his art and making their home a sanctuary for wounded birds. In 1941, the childless couple purchased six acres in Sandy Springs and named it Valle Ombrosa ("Shady Valley"), after a favorite village near Florence. There they built two aviaries and obtained government permits to capture and study rare protected species from life.
Menaboni’s artistic process applied thin translucent layers of oil paint on a variety of media including wood, silk, canvas, glass, and mirrors. One special patron, Robert Woodruff, was president of Coca-Cola Company.
Menaboni died in 1990 from complications of a stroke.
His wife died three years later. The couple gifted their estate to Callaway Gardens including his papers. The artist archives reside at Troup County Archives. Additional archives are held
at Emory University.