Benicia’s City Council recently voted to approve two new paintings by well-known artist Julius Hatofsky, on loan to the city for five years. The paintings were hung January 9 at the Benicia Public Library, which already houses four of Benicia’s ten pieces of public art.
The works are the first to be introduced under the City of Benicia’s Public Art Program. The Arts and Culture Commission’s artist selection committee recommended the selected paintings to the City Council after working with the artist's widow, Linda Hatofsky. Patty Gavin, member of the commission, says, “the paintings are a test case for the city’s guidelines and procedures. In a word, the paintings are stunning!” Because of their size, the paintings were hung from the ceiling crossbeams in the library’s main reading room.
In his younger days, Hatofsky studied art in Paris and New York, worked as a police officer in New York City and served in World War II’s Battle of the Bulge. He moved to San Francisco in 1961, where he taught figurative drawing and painting for 33 years at the San Francisco Art Institute before moving to Vallejo. His expressionist works have been shown in many universities, galleries and museums, including SF MOMA, and his work has been written about in numerous articles. He died in Vallejo in January, 2006.
The Benicia Public Art Program was unanimously approved by the city council September 4, 2012. Its stated mission is “… designed to serve as a guide for the City’s acquisition, display, placement, and retention of public art.” A reception will be held Friday, January 30, 6-8pm in the Library’s reading room, where the paintings, still covered, will be unveiled in a dramatic flourish, adding to the celebratory mood. For more information, visit juliushatofsky.com, benicialibrary.org/arts/policy, or ci.benicia.ca.us.