Nunzio Vayana was born in Castelvetrano, Italy. He studied medicine and then art at the University of Rome. He immigrated to the United States in 1903, initially settling in Hartford, Connecticut. In the 1920s, Vayana founded the Ogunquit Art Center in Maine and served as its director for many years.
Vayana made his debut in Saint Augustine, Florida, in 1932. Then-President of the Saint Augustine Arts Club, Ralph Hillbom extended an invitation for the artist to hold a private two-week exhibition. This exclusive showing was held in the Davenport Park Clubhouse and featured 100 of Vayana’s paintings.
After the exhibition, Vayana continued to be relevant in Saint Augustine; however, his efforts were directed southward to Palm Beach, Florida, where he established the Palm Beach Art Center in the late 1930s. His intention for the art center was to provide assistance to other artists and a cultural outlet for the public.
Throughout his prolific career, Vayana remained an Impressionist painter, working primarily in small scale. The images in his art are pleasant, idyllic marine scenes, landscapes and portraits. A tell-tale identifier of a Vayana painting is his signature, which appears in red paint. Vayana immersed himself in the art lifestyle as a painter, etcher, teacher, promoter and fine art collector.
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