Jack Demyan (1923-99)
Untitled (The Staten Island Ferry)
Oil on board, date unknown, 9 ½” x 7 ½”
Gift of Bonnie Backes
Jack Demyan (1923-99) was a legendary restaurateur and a prolific painter known for capturing nostalgic scenes of Staten Island. In 1954 he opened Demyan's Hofbrau, a favorite watering hole for judges, public officials, and artists drawn by his cooking and his personality. Often appearing in a tuxedo or costume, he personalized the restaurant, gave select regulars their own booths with name tags, and designed an underground room as a ship’s hold and dedicated it to John Noble. Eventually he set up an easel in his office at the restaurant where he created more than 2,000 works of art. “I would paint the night through. I had a brainstorm and wouldn’t stop until I had finished.” He and Noble became fast friends and he helped and supported Noble in difficult times. Demyan’s works were included in exhibitions at the Art Lab, the Wagner College Gallery, and the Staten Island Museum.