Born in San Francisco in 1887, Thomas Benrimo began to draw at a young age. The San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed his early drawings and notebooks and forced the family to move to New York.
Despite suffering from tuberculosis, Benrimo recovered and became a successful stage designer and commercial artist in New York. He painted seriously whenever he could, but only a few of the Cubist paintings of this early period survive. Benrimo taught at Pratt Institute and was one of the first in this country to introduce the teaching methods developed at the German Bauhaus School of design.
Benrimo moved to Taos, New Mexico, in 1939 and was able at last to paint full-time. As he gradually worked from the surreal to the more abstract, the artist synthesized influences from a range of disparate sources – antiquity, traditional painting, and architecture – as he developed his own unique style.
During his life, Benrimo’s work was shown at the Art Institute of Chicago, Toledo Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor, Whitney Museum of American Art, Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, Guggenheim Museum in New York, San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.