Athos Menaboni (1895-1990) was born in Livorno, Italy. As a child, he developed a lifelong fascination with birds which later became the subjects of his paintings. At the age of nine, he began a formal study of art with prominent teachers and later became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence.
After World War I, he immigrated to the United States in 1921, eventually becoming an American citizen in 1939.
By 1927 he was living in Atlanta, Georgia. During the next decade, he was hired by prominent architects to do decorative painting (including murals) in residences as well as public buildings.
In the late 1930s, Menaboni returned to his childhood interest in birds and he steadily refined aspects of the art for which he is now famous – naturalistic oil paintings of birds. A portfolio of Menaboni’s paintings was sent to New York City which led to solo exhibitions, in 1939, at the American Museum of Natural History and the National Audubon Society. His art also appeared in periodicals and other publications (including Sports Illustrated and The World Book Encyclopedia).
After he and his wife, Sara, published Menaboni’s Birds in 1950, the magazine Time declared the artist the heir of James Audubon, an apt designation, given the fact he would eventually paint over one hundred sixty different species of birds.
The works of Athos Menaboni can be found in the permanent collections at art and natural history museums across the United States. Exhibitions continue to be mounted.