Synchronize with the table of contents  INTRODUCTION



His sister, Margaret Robertson, donated the Angelo Di Benedetto Collection in 1993.


The collection is open for research.


Literary rights and copyrights have been assigned to the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


[Identification of item], Angelo Di Beneddeto Papers, WH867,Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.


Number of boxes: 6

Oversize: 1

Number of PhotoBoxes: 2

Number of OVPhotoBoxes: 1




Chris Basore

Carol Mead

Shane Trost

Ellen Zazzarino

April 1999


Ann Brown

October 2007


Ellen Zazzarino


Angelo Di Benedetto (1913-1992) was born and raised in Paterson, NJ. In 1930, he embarked on his lifelong study of art when he enrolled in the Cooper Union Art School in New York City. Di Benedetto graduated with a degree in freehand drawing in 1934. He received a scholarship to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where he studied until 1937. That year, Di Benedetto returned to Paterson where he continued painting. He entered his first competitive exhibit at the Montclair, New Jersey Museum and won both first prize and first honorable mention.

Di Benedetto joined the US Air Force in 1938 and toured in Haiti and Africa. He lived in Haiti for six months, painting and studying the culture, and even attending voodoo rituals. Di Benedetto's Haitian paintings launched his fruitful career. Di Benedetto first received national attention in 1940 when Life Magazine reproduced the series of Haitian paintings. Afterwards, his work was sought and reproduced in many national magazines and newspapers including Newsweek, Art News, Ladies Home Journal, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. Encyclopedia Britannica purchased one of Di Benedetto's Haitian paintings for its collection of American modern artists in 1945. Di Benedetto illustrated two books, How the Donkey Came to Haiti and Other Tales (1949), and Pancake Sees the World (1952) for children.

Di Benedetto was stationed at Buckley Field in Denver from 1945-46. After being discharged Di Benedetto moved to Central City. From there, he produced the paintings and sculptures that were exhibited across the country during the next 3 decades. Di Benedetto's exhibitions both solo and group, include:

  • Museum of New Mexico (Santa Fe)
  • Haitian Art Center (NY)
  • Tudor Gallery and Haigh Art Gallery (Denver)
  • Bianchini Gallery (NY)
  • Fairweather-Hardin Gallery (Chicago)
  • Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh)
  • Whitney Museum (NY)
  • Corcoran and National Gallery (Washington DC)
  • State Dept. European Tour
  • St. Louis Museum
  • Boston Museum
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Chicago Art Institute
  • Des Moines Art Center

Di Benedetto created many permanent displays in Colorado and throughout the United States. During the 1960s and 1970s, he received numerous major commissions for outdoor sculptures and one mural. Commissions include a sculptured copper wall, eighty feet in length, for the Jewish Community Center (1962); sculpture garden for General Rose Hospital (1964); Burns Park which comprised nine sculptures by as many artists (1968); a neighborhood park sculpture in Yonkers, New York (1971); a sculpture for the Pueblo ice skating rink (1976); and a mural for the Colorado Judicial Building (1976).

Di Benedetto was interested in encouraging the appreciation of art and artists. Throughout his career he gave workshops, classes, and lectured on art and related topics around the country. He began teaching in 1949 at his home studio - a large warehouse - located in Central City. In 1950, he opened the Denver Art Center, which welcomed anyone interested in learning to draw or paint. Di Benedetto taught at the Jewish Community Center, Steele Community Center, the International House, Southern Colorado State College, and lectured on modern art at the University of Denver.

His interest in promoting the arts led to Di Benedetto's participation in numerous organizations. In the 1960s, he became concerned with environmental and urban art and was the president of the non-profit organization, Art for the Cities. He was the chairman of and an exhibitor in the first annual environmental art exhibit held at Denver's American Medical Center. In 1968, Governor John Love appointed him to the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities; he remained active until 1975. During this time he served as program chairman two consecutive years for the Governor's Conference on the Arts and Humanities. At the 1969 Conference, Governor Love presented Di Benedetto an award for his contribution to the arts and artists of Colorado.

In addition to his artistic career, Di Benedetto participated in the civic life of Central City. He was the town's Police Magistrate from 1955-56. He campaigned twice for the office of mayor, first in 1966 and again in 1973, and he ran for Commissioner in 1976. Di Benedetto was married several times; his first wife was Lee Porzio, a ceramicist with whom he had two daughters, Michele and Mia.


Di Benedetto's collection comprises materials from the mid-1920s to 1991. Items include correspondence, publicity, sketches, scrapbooks, drafts of lectures, photographs, artwork, publications, photographs and an extensive collection of newspaper clippings. The collection documents Di Benedetto's projects outside of art such as his political involvement in Central City and his environmental activities.

Two of Di Benedetto's sculptures, a circular metal abstract and one constructed of found metal objects, are included in the Western History Art Collection. The extensive range of materials contained in this collection traces both the artistic and personal evolution of Angelo Di Benedetto.

SERIES 1 ART CAREER 1934-1993 BOXES 1-4 :

Materials are divided into several major sections: education, exhibits, reviews, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and publications. The series includes drafts of lectures, manuscripts, project proposals, exhibit brochures, and sketches.


Di Benedetto participated in artistic and environmental organizations. Materials reflect his activities with Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities, Art for the Cities, Artists Equity Association, and the Canyon Defense Coalition Steering Committee. Documents include meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, grant applications, memos and programs.

SERIES 3 PERSONAL 1927-1991 BOX 5 :

The series contains correspondence with friends and family, an autograph book, and newspaper clippings.


Di Benedetto was an active citizen of Central City. Documents include newspaper articles about his campaigns for office, term as Police Magistrate, clippings Di Benedetto collected about the city itself, and his participation in municipal projects.


The series includes cassettes of interviews, videos and a film reel of Di Benedetto.

SERIES 6 OVERSIZE 1920s-1987 OVBOX 1 :

Materials include sketches, drawings, watercolors, a scrapbook, a poem, photographs of the Jewish Community Center panel, and autographed record albums.


This series contains photographs of the people and landscapes of Haiti and Africa where Di Benedetto spent time when he was in the military. Photographs of his artwork as well and personal images of his studio, family and friends comprise a portion of this series.



  • Benedetto, Angelo di -- Archives.
  • Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities -- Archives.
  • Artists -- Colorado -- Central City.
  • Central City (Colo.) -- History.