Resource #4-3
Domenico Tojetti, 1806-1892, Painter of Progress of America, 1875

Tojetti came to California at the age of 65 in 1871 as a prominent artist. He had studied in Rome and Paris and later became a professor at the Academy in Rome. Commissioned (paid to paint a specific work) by the Vatican and European princes and kings, he also restored a number of paintings in the Vatican.

Tojetti accepted an appointment as the head of a proposed Academy of Fine Arts for Guatemala. He and his family--a wife, two sons, and a daughter-- traveled around the Horn. They survived a shipwreck, but lost all their possessions. Tojetti established the Academy of Fine Arts and taught until his health was affected by the climate. The Tojettis traveled to Mexico City and stayed there briefly. Then they moved on to San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Tojetti and his two sons, also artists, painted frescoes and religious paintings for Catholic churches. They also accepted commissions for portraits and allegorical paintings. (Allegorical paintings use fictional figures and actions that are symbolic of truths to make a statement about human conduct or experience.) Tojetti also taught portraiture at the School of Design, had many private students and painted in the style of the Vatican court. Tojetti continued to speak Italian in San Francisco. He died at home in San Francisco, 223 Leavenworth Street, on March 28, 1892.*

*The West as America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820-1920, William H. Truettner, ed., Smithsonian Institution Press.

Part I, Resource #4-3
Page 28