When I was fourteen my brother and I helped our uncle remodel the kitchen of his other famous restaurant in Berkeley, Crustaceans. Jim was a restauranteurs par excellent. When we went to the Bigelows for Christmas dinner we got a glimpse of how the other side lived. There were televisions and golf bags under the tree.
Bonnie Bigelow was my favorite aunt. She had Mark and I stay in her home in San Mateo where we played with our cousin, Michael Bigelow. Like her three sister, Bonnie was beautiful, smart, and had a great sense of humor that was inherited from her father.
One Christmas Eve, while at the table, Jim began to brag on his good friend whose painting he had on his wall. Being an artist, I studied it thoroughly, and concluded it was not – real art! It was all I could do to keep my real opinions to myself when my uncle asked me what I thought of this fake art, he figuring I was not a real artist at the age of fifteen. Besides, Jim was just showing off his new friends that had taken San Francisco’s art scene by storm. We’re talking about the Keane’s who came to sup at the same table you see above where seated is the world famous artist known as Rosamond – when she was fourteen!
Christine’s insecurity as a female was at it’s peak. She was a nervous wreck in search of her identity. How could she compete with the four Rosamond Nereids? She had her father’s genes to contend with.
“She’s big boned, like her grandmother Melba.”
Above is a photo of Vic Presco beside one of his Chris Craft that he docked in Martinez.
What is truly uncanny, is, there was a trial involving the Keane’s. The Judge asked Walter to paint one of his big-eyed waifs in court so as to dispel the claim from his wife that she was the real artist in the family, and she rendered all those – creatures!
Consider the expose that reveals Sara Moon was an old man! If you rearrange the name SARA MOON, you get ROSAMONA. Mona means “moon”.
Christine was going through her Chinese period, she dressed in an oriental jacket. Early Rosamond women were compared to Keane, they were – Keanish. Only I noted that mannequins in fancy store windows began to own ‘The Rosamond Look’. Eyes were bigger, and they looked out into the street, beyond the plate glass windows they were captured behind. It was, haunting. Christine Rosamond Benton found a way – to be noticed! All four Rosamond sisters took an interest, saw my beautiful sister for the first time.
“One of the fun things about operating Sam’s is that eventually everybody comes here,” Sears said.
Launched in 1920 as a watering hole for railroad workers, original owner and namesake Sam Vella bypassed Prohibition until its 1933 repeal by smuggling whiskey through trap doors under the building.
Vella ran the restaurant and bar for 40 years. He sold the property and business to Tiburon resident Eugene Wheary, who sold the business a year later, in 1961, to James Bigelow of Character Restaurants.
Bigelow ran the restaurant until Sears and Wilson, along with a group of limited partners, purchased the business in 1978. The Wheary family owns the property.
Sears and Wilson met in the mid-70s managing the Refectory Steakhouse in Bon Air Center in Greenbrae.
Current ownership continues the flamboyant Vella’s traditional garb of brightly colored Hawaiian shirts.
“That’s part of the deal, the Hawaiian shirt,” Sears said. “It’s part of the fun of it.”
The world famous “Big Eye” paintings had their beginning in San Francisco over 50 years ago, by the artist Margaret Keane. In time they also became known and referred to as “Waifs,” “Keane,” “Sad Eyes,” and many other titles, all depicting the unique styles of this very creative woman. You may be surprised to hear the artist is a woman. You see, for many years she was married to a man who claimed credit for what she painted. To prove she was in fact the artist and not her former husband, she painted in court before a Federal Judge and jury, an original oil on canvas painting. When her ex-husband was asked to paint by the judge, his reply was: “I can’t today, because I have a sore shoulder.” Needless to say Margaret won the case and she continues to paint those Big Eyes we have come to love so dearly.
Sara Moon international artist from Germany.
The creator of the art works that launched the name Sara Moon upon the world during 1976 is actually a male of Persian birth – an artist by the name of Bijan Djamalzadeh who lives in Germany. In 1975 he was commissioned by Red Baron Publishing of Los Angeles to create commercial portraits of the female form in water colour paints and oil paints. Four years later Djamalzadeh parted company with Red Baron and nothing by his hand was released again until the poster and greetings card company Verkerke began to publish his art in 1981. For their part, Red Baron continued to satisfy demand for new Sara Moon work by commissioning an artist known as ‘Christian’ to paint and sign images as ‘Sara Moon’. With Djamalzadeh painting for Verkerke, this led to works by both artists being released as ‘Sara Moon’ art during the years 1980-82.
The artist still owns many of his original works, but it is feared that many of the early pieces were lost when Red Baron Publishing was consumed by fire (c.1983?) at which time the company ceased trading. Djamalzadeh continued to paint as Sara Moon for Verkerke until the early 1990’s when he retired from commercial life to teach at his home on the borders of southern Germany and France. The artist’s works are now out of print.
There is an old Iranian man who has been imitating Rosamond since 1976. He signs these knock-offs ‘Sara Moon’. Everyone thought he was a woman. He kept his true identity a secret for years. Some folks thought I was Moon. Last night I saw how similar the name SARA MOON is to the name ROSAMOND. Drop the D and you have seven of the letters that are in the name Sara Moon.
“For over 15 years he was totally oblivious to the ‘Where are you, Sara?’ calls that echoed around the world from the multitude of devoted fans he had unwittingly left behind.
With his absence and Red Baron Publishing gone too, his quiet ‘disappearance’ in retirement from Verkerke, the varied signatures on the artworks created much speculation over the years that followed. Did ‘Sara Moon’ ever exist? If so, where was this reclusive artist now?”
In 1973, Christine Rosamond offered to teach me her style so I could be rich and famous, too. I turned this offer down. In 1985 I sent some of my work to my old friend, Marilyn, so she could show them to Ira Cohen, the gallery owner who discovered Rosamond, and helped develop her style. Ten of the first paintings she did for Ira, were rejected.
Upon seeing my work, that included a portrait of my Muse, Rena Christiansen, he told Marilyn my work was “Too hard edge.” But, if I soften them up, he could sell them. I got his drift. Cohen wanted more decorative fashion art.
Sara The Man tailor made his art to sell. It’s like painting checks. Mr. Bijan could care less about owning an integral artistic identity, because he loved his bank! I just couldn’t do it! If I had I would be rolling in the doe and my daughter would not call me a Parasite?
Above is a photo of Marilyn on the beach taken by her friend, Steven Silverstein, the famous fashion photographer. Steven’s women are the Real Deal, real Fashion Plates. Steven photographed some of the most beautiful women in the world, included the First Lady of France. Perhaps I should have become a fashion photographer?
It’s never – too late!
One of Moon’s women is titled ‘Hippie’. Marilyn was a Hippie. She was my first Muse who feels the injustice parasitical outsiders have inflicted upon my family.
I understand folks don’t like me because I keep pointing out real fakes, frauds, and parasites. That many of Moon’s fans don’t mind that he hood-winked them – is the real study here! Behold the Republican candidates who are running on the platform Democrats are parasites!
Some of my friends wonder why I gave up wanting to be an artist.
In northern Europe, where the name is much more popular, Mona is interpreted as a diminutive of Monika or, rarely, of Ramona or Simona. It is sometimes associated with the title of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Mona Lisa, although in that context the word Mona is actually a title rather than a name. The word mona also means cute, monkey and doll in Spanish. In Sweden, Mona’s name day is May 4.