Born in the seaport town of Livorno, Italy, Athos Menaboni’s love of the natural world and artistic studies began at an early age. He studied under Italian marine painter, Ugo Manaresi, muralist Charles Doudelet, and sculptor Pietro Gori, before moving on to the Royal Academy of Art in Florence. Menaboni immigrated to the United States in 1920 and initially found work in New York City painting candles. In 1924, he moved to Florida and began painting murals while working as an artistic director and art teacher. It was one of these murals that caught the attention of noted architect Philip Trammell Shutze, who offered Menaboni work in Atlanta.
In 1927, Menaboni met Georgia native Sara Arnold, who became his wife and partner of more than 60 years. Together, the Menabonis collaborated on artistic and writing projects, and established their Sandy Springs home, Valle Ombrosa, as a sanctuary for birds and wildlife.
Athos Menaboni, deemed “Audubon’s Heir” in a Time Magazine article in 1950, became most well known in the Atlanta area and beyond for his lifelike depictions of birds and flowers and for murals in notable homes and businesses. At the height of his career, in the 1940s and 1950s, Menaboni’s work was widely exhibited; he produced illustrations for the National Audubon Society, Sports Illustrated, World Book Encyclopedia, and many other publications. Athos Menaboni remained active until his death at the age of ninety-four. A painting in progress was on his easel.