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Anthony J. Sisti

Anthony J. Sisti

(1901-1983)

Anthony Sisti was a painter, born in New York City in 1901, and moved to Buffalo with his family in 1911.  He studied at the Albright Art School with Urquhart Wilcox, the Royal Academy in Florence from 1925-1929, and earned a Doctoral Degree in painting.  He also studied in France and Germany. Along with painting, Sisti also professionally boxed, which he used as a means to fund his studies and exhibitions. He even used it as a way to return to Buffalo. After traveling with Ernest Hemingway, he found himself with not enough money to return, so he boxed in Rome and won the fare he needed. From 1918-1930, he fought in over 100 professional fights, and known as “Kid Tony”, won the Amateur Golden Gloves Bantam Weight Championship of New York State. He established the Sisti Galleries in Buffalo in 1938. He also befriended Charles Burchfield, purchasing many of his paintings to exhibit in his galleries. In 1979, he donated 25 of Burchfield’s paintings to the Burchfield Center, along with eight drawings, and a number of his own paintings. Currently, in the Burchfield there is a gallery section named after Sisti, and many of his works are included in the permanent collection.  

Sisti’s work consisted of bold colors and action-filled scenes, mostly of boxers. He also was well-known for his portraits, which included the variety of famous people he met, such as New York Yankees manager Joe McCarthy, Franklin D Roosevelt, Father Baker, and local boxer Jimmy Slattery, to name a few. Sisti also painted landscapes depicting Buffalo, Western New York, Canada, Italy, and Africa. During the Depression, he created 10 circus mural scenes in the children’s auditorium of Buffalo’s City Hospital. During 1932-1938, he taught painting, drawing, and anatomy at the Art Institute of Buffalo, and also taught a life class at the New York School of Applied Design for Women.  

Anthony Sisti also contributed much to the city of Buffalo, including bringing the Allentown area back to life. It started with the purchasing and remodeling of a 125 year old house at 469 Franklin Street, which he made into his studio and several apartments. He later opened his studio to the public. In 1958 he served as chairman of the first Allentown Art Festival Exhibition, which, to this day has grown into  popular annual event.  In 1981, a park was named in his honor by the City of Buffalo near the intersection of Franklin St and North St. He also served as former president of the Patteran Society.  He has exhibited throughout the surrounding area, including his own galleries, the Burchfield Penney, and the Albright Knox. The Modern Museum of Art in NYC, Grand Central Art Gallery, and Howard University in Washington D.C., and a selection of other establishments also have shown his work.