De Menocal graduated from the school of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. During his early career he drew illustrations for Condé Nast publications, organized displays for the Lord and Taylor department store in New York City, and created costume designs for Radio City Music Hall. He had his first solo exhibition in 1951, and continued to show in this country even after moving to Brazil. In the 1960s de Menocal withdrew from the secular world and spent over a decade at the Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, and later with the Trappists in Derryville, Virginia, and Spencer, Massachusetts. After leaving the monastery he settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and returned to painting. In the still life arrangements for which he is best known, de Menocal is concerned with quietude of mood and with formal issues of balance and tone.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)