Rinaldo Cuneo

Theme/Style – Impressionism, Tonalism, Modernism, landscapes

Media – Oils, murals

Artistic Focus – Rinaldo Cuneo’s landscapes were termed by one art critic to be “more than mere physical contours, they are the very soul and essence of California materialized in line and color.” Never wedded to one style or technique, Cuneo’s use of color evolved throughout his career. Beginning with the earthy, flat colors of the Tonalists, he moved through a lighter, more pastel palette inspired by Monet and Seurat, and finally, late in life, to a palette that “vibrated with low-keyed, intense colors and radiance.”

Career Highlights –

• Cuneo was born in San Francisco into a family of musicians and artists.
• One of his earliest works was a self-taught fresco, painted at age 14. The fresco’s two panels graced the morning room in the family home and featured Lady Godiva and Falstaff.
• Ever the self-critical artist, Rinaldo Cuneo spent his career convinced that his art was never quite good enough. Although he was a prolific painter, Cuneo held relatively few exhibitions and sold few of his works during his lifetime.
• Well-known as a painter and muralist by the time of the Depression, Cuneo was included in the group of 26 artists asked to paint murals and create one bas relief in Coit Tower by the Public Works of Art Project.
• Cuneo’s many paintings of San Francisco and surrounding areas earned him the nickname, “The Painter of San Francisco.”