Kennesaw State exhibits private collection of works by Athos Menaboni

The Kennesaw State University College of the Arts will present “The Collector’s Vision: Works by…

Georgia (Apr 13, 2005) — Kennesaw State exhibits private collection of works by Athos Menaboni

Cheryl Anderson Brown


Contact: Cheryl Anderson Brown‚ 770−499−3417 or

The Kennesaw State University College of the Arts will present “The Collector’s Vision: Works by Athos Menaboni from the Collection of Russell Clayton” in the Fine Arts Gallery‚ April 14−May 12. The show offers a comprehensive retrospective of the Italian−born Atlanta artist’s career‚ which spanned the decades from the 1920s through his death in 1990.

As a teenager‚ KSU alumnus Russell Clayton started a correspondence with Coca−Cola CEO Robert Woodruff. Through his long acquaintance with Woodruff‚ Clayton was introduced to Woodruff's favorite artist‚ Athos Menaboni. Clayton was intrigued by Menaboni’s work‚ and cultivated a relationship with the artist‚ and his wife and sister.

Clayton began collecting his artwork. Even after becoming a high school teacher in Marietta‚ Clayton continued to add to his collection‚ which now includes 34 original paintings‚ and hundreds of prints and other items (books‚ china plates‚ magazine covers‚ etc.) associated with the artist. It is perhaps the single largest private collection of Menaboni assembled anywhere. On April 14‚ this impressive collection will go on view to the public for the first time.

Born in Italy‚ Menaboni emigrated to Atlanta where he received many private commissions from the city’s most prominent families‚ including the Woodruffs‚ Havertys and Callaways. He painted murals in the Swan House and restored the sky portion of the Civil War painting at the Cyclorama. He is perhaps best known‚ however‚ for his magnificent renderings of birds‚ which earned him a reputation as the 20th−century Audubon. His bird illustrations appeared in many magazines and World Book Encyclopedia. He created the image of Georgia’s state bird and flower–the brown thrasher and Cherokee rose–that can be seen in every public school in the state.

Menaboni also painted many landscapes and watercolors‚ often recapturing the beauty of his native Italy. “The viewer is fortunate to be able to experience a broad range of Menaboni’s styles and subjects from soft impressionistic landscapes to detailed bird studies‚” according to KSU Curator Suzanne Talbott‚ who worked directly with Clayton to assemble this exhibition.

Clayton‚ whose collection of official White House Christmas cards and Menaboni−created Christmas cards were displayed at Kennesaw State in December 2004‚ is pleased to share Menaboni’s work with the community and the university. In fact‚ he has pledged to donate both his White House papers and memorabilia collection and his Menaboni collection to the university. This promise enabled the KSU College of the Arts to secure a $1 million pledge from the Robert Woodruff Foundation to build a Menaboni gallery in the university’s proposed art museum.

“Athos and Sara Menaboni have made a lasting and profound impact on my life‚” Clayton said. “The Menabonis were lifelong learners‚ and shared their knowleged and varied interests with their many devoted friends who will always remember them with deep admiration and affection.”

Clayton will share his insights at a gallery talk during the exhibition’s opening reception‚ which is scheduled for 7−9 p.m. on April 14. He will speak at 8 p.m. The reception and the exhibition are free and open to the public. For more information‚ call 770−499−3223.

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Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population exceeding 18‚000 from 129 countries. The third largest state university out of 34 institutions in the University System of Georgia‚ KSU offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit