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Meet Monika Scharff, Our Mosaic Artist
December 9, 2018

Meet Monika Scharff, Our Mosaic Artist


There is no shortage of beauty at Wally’s Santa Monica. From the architecture and marble tables to thousands of wine adorning the walls. However, Monika Scharff’s stunning mosaic, residing prominently above the Wally’s Santa Monica cheese box, captivates your attention from the first glance.

In the beginning stages of designing Wally’s Santa Monica, president and co-owner, Christian Navarro, had a vision for a Caviar mosaic to reside above our cheese and specialty foods market. Christian is a serious caviar enthusiast and sticks with only the best, Calvisius. Christian knew there was only one person that could bring his vision to life and that was esteemed German-born artist, Monika Scharff. Monika and Christian picked out black, purple, gold, and silver tiles and then Monika went to work. The stunning mosaic is now on display for all to see and enjoy. For over fifty five years, Scharff and Scharff has been creating exquisite mosaic designs to enhance homes, commercial and public places worldwide. Each masterpiece, reminiscent of the work of old world artisans, is produced with expert care and precision. Whether custom designed or client- inspired, each creation bears the watermark of quality craftsmanship and classic appearance that endures throughout the ages.

The origins of Scharff and Scharff go back almost eighty years when Monika Scharff’s partner and father-in-law, Hanns Scharff, studied art as a young man in Germany. Hanns, growing up in his grandfather’s villa, was surrounded by the classic decorative art of mosaic. Even though his later profession was in international business, Hanns continued to be fascinated by this ancient art form, and dabbled in the medium as a hobby, creating tables, chests, desks and lamps inlaid with intricate mosaic designs

With the advent of World War II, Hanns found his international business career interrupted, and following the Soviet occupation of his home, his fortune lost. Arriving in the United States in the latter forties, Hanns turned to his former hobby as a means of support. Starting with a small studio in Manhattan, Hanns’ commercial success was immediate and led to a two-week mosaic art exhibit at Neiman Marcus’ flagship store in Dallas, Texas. To prepare for the exhibit, the store pre-ordered five thousand custom-made mosaic tables to sell. The result was astounding, and the exhibit was a resounding success.

This boost from Neiman Marcus allowed Hanns to move to California in the mid-fifties and open his new mosaic studio, Hanns Scharff Designs, in West Los Angeles.

Again, success was immediate. With California in particular, and the country in general, experiencing a building boom, Hanns’ stunning mosaic color medleys and designs graced walls, ceilings, floors, pools and fountains nationwide. From department store facades stretching from San Diego to San Francisco, to fountains at the Los Angeles City Hall Mall, his creations became well recognized and sought after. Soon, tables and thresholds at Disneyland, Anaheim, fountains at UCLA, and the swimming pool at the old Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas, all carried the impressive Scharff design and name.In 1971 Hanns asked his daughter-in-law, Monika, a former school teacher specializing in art and art history, to join his burgeoning studio.

Monika as an apprentice mosaicist began work on the five panelCinderella Mosaic Mural project, destined for Disney World in Orlando, Florida. These mosaic panels which started her career have been and continue to be admired by millions of people around the world and which were painstakingly copied by the Japanese for the opening of Disney World in Japan.

Hanns and Monika worked together on many subsequent projects like the restoration of the three thousand two hundred square foot Marble Mosaic Senate Floor in the State Capitol in Sacramento, California, the thirty foot diameter American Eagle Floor in the Annenberg Center at the USC Campus in Los Angeles, the hundred and twenty foot long mosaic mural at the Dixie College in St. George, Utah, the one hundred and twenty foot long, twin sided entry ramp to the Land Pavilion at Disney’s E.P.C.O.T. Center in Orlando, Florida, just to name a few.

Too numerous to name all here, Hanns and Monika received commissions as varied as pools, fountains, murals, logos and furniture for schools, churches, public and private buildings, colleges and universities, hotels and department stores ranging from Hawaii to the Eastern Seaboard, Bermuda, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, South Africa, Spain and Mexico.

In the mid Eighties, Hanns and Monika formed a partnership, Scharff & Scharff. Their business continued to expand.

In late 1992, just prior to his 86th birthday, Hanns passed away from the world of mosaics. Momentarily set back by this tragic loss, Monika regrouped and continued Hanns’ legacy of providing the rich tradition of excellent design and workmanship.

Proceeding on her own, Monika created the six mosaic panels of Mary’s Seven Sorrows at the Mater Dolores Retreat in Sierra Madre, California, the twelve individual mosaic panels decorating the Blue Line Metro Station in Long Beach, California, the massive clock at the Glendale Railway Station, a 3,400 square foot mosaic mural at the 5,000 seat Cathedral of the West Angeles Church of God and Christ, two mosaic fountains in the recently opened Downtown Disneyland in Anaheim, California, seven custom mosaic pool designs for individual homes in the exclusive Beverly Park section of Beverly Hills, California and other pools, murals, fountains and tables, too numerous to list.

We're honored to now have our own landmark piece, with such deep roots in the history of Los Angeles and luxury properties worldwide, on display at Wally's Santa Monica. Thank you, Monica Scharff!

Information and pool photos courtesy of

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