Dorothy W. PUCCINELLI (1901-1974)

“Dorothy Puccinelli is one of San Francisco’s most versatile women artists. She is not only a painter in oils, water color and tempera, but has done lithographing; is interested in sculpture; has designed stage settings, and interior decorating. In all these fields a certain boldness of execution and originality in design has made her work distinctive. In her work on public buildings she has made use of her highly developed decorative sense, using her space to the best advantage and leaving no holes in the walls she has covered. (…)

Dorothy Puccinelli was one of the pioneers in the Federal Art Program created by President Roosevelt’s administration. She first became associated with the Public Works Art Projects the first of the governmental art programs under the Civil Works Administration, in 1933, and to her and Helen Forbes was assigned the task of decorating the Mothers’ House at Fleishhacker’s Zoo in San Francisco. Together they designed a set of murals to go above the paneling on the four wall.”

Read Dorothy W. Puccinelli Cravath biography in California Art Project, in California Art Project Volume 20 Part 1.CARA_V20_P1_PUCCINELLIS

At a glance

Birth :  December 19, 1901 San Antonio, Texas, Dorothy Wagner, for maiden name.

Death : May 24, 1974 Berkeley, California
Arrival in San Francisco Bay area : 1919
Married to : Raymond Puccinelli ; Austin Cravath (1941-1974), brother of Ruth Cravath
Skills : Painter


Art education, teachers : Schaeffer School of Design, Beniamino Bufano, California School of Fine Arts
Partners : Helen Forbes
Relations : Raymond Puccinelli, Ruth Cravath, Helen Forbes
Institutions, clubs, venues : San Francisco Art Association, San Francisco Art Center, San Francisco Society of Mural Painters, San Francisco Society of Women Artists (SFSWA), Foundation of Western Art (Los Angeles)
WPA Projects : Mother House at the San Francisco Zoo, Murals in Merced Post Office with Helen Forbes


1935 San Francisco Art Association, 55th Annual, San Francisco Museum of Art
1936 San Francisco Art Association, 56th Annual, San Francisco Museum of Art
1932 San Francisco Society of Women Artists, California Palace of the Legion of Honor
1933 Joint Exhibition with Raymond Puccinelli, San Francisco Art Center
1935 Foundation of Western Art (Los Angeles, California)
1936 Bothwell and Cooke (Los Angeles, California)

Resources in the Bancroft Library


Ruth Cravath, Dorothy Wagner Puccinelli Cravath, Two San Francisco artists and their contemporaries, 1920-1975. Regional Oral History Office (ROHO), University of California, Berkeley. Read on line

Representative works :

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