Italo George Botti
During an artistic career that spanned more than half a century, Italo George Botti created thousands of works, often painting two canvases at a time and running from one to the other as the ideas came.
"Yellow, blue, green, his paintings always depicted joy and happiness," said his brother, former DuPage County Board Chairman Aldo Botti. "If ever a man could paint a breeze, the aroma of flowers and the sound of music, it was him."
An ecclesiastical artist, Mr. Botti designed and restored religious scenes for hundreds of churches, hospitals, government buildings and museums. Dozens of Chicago parishes hold works created or reconstructed by Botti, said Michael Smoucha, one of about 40 artists Mr. Botti employed at the Evanston-based Botti Studio of Architectural Arts Inc. Mr. Botti ran studios under the same name in San Diego and Sarasota.
It wasn't unusual for Mr. Botti to produce two paintings in a single evening, said artist Jim Edbrooke, who worked with Mr. Botti for 25 years at the Evanston art studio.
"Watching him paint was like watching a dance, he moved so fast," said Edbrooke.
Mr. Botti and his eight siblings were raised by Italian immigrant parents in Manhattan and Brooklyn, his brother said.
He won a scholarship to attend a Brooklyn art school. Mr. Botti studied at six New York art schools, including the Art Students League of New York, where he met his future wife.
Mr. Botti fought with the U.S. Army in World War II and was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, his brother said. In 1946, he returned from Europe to teach art at the City College of New York.
He moved to Evanston in 1960.