Benjamin Vaganov

Theme/Style – Modernism, figurative art

Media – Oils, murals

Artistic Focus – A self-taught Modernist, Benjamin Vaganov sometimes worked under the pseudonym “Venia.” His early work in California’s lumber and mining industries proved to be a significant influence on the artist’s life and paintings, whose texture often suggests an application of paint intended to convey Vaganov’s reverence for their subjects by creating the sensation of a natural substance.

Career Highlights –

• Born in Tsarist Russia, Benjamin Vaganov left his homeland to escape the dangers of the Revolution, living for several years in China before coming to the United States in 1923.
• He settled first in Oregon, where he found work in the lumber industry, and then moved to San Diego in 1928, where he established a studio in the Spanish Village in Balboa Park.
• Vaganov completed a number of Works Progress Administration art projects, including a mural painted in the House of Pacific Relations in San Diego, and dioramas in the San Diego County Visual Education building.
• Vaganov remained active in San Diego art circles until he moved to San Francisco in the 1950s, where he spent his remaining years.