Joseph Stefanelli: Unearthing a Master of Abstract Expressionism

May 16 - June 30, 2022

Denise Bibro Fine Art, NYC is pleased to present a virtual solo exhibition of a notable second generation abstract expressionist Joseph Stefanelli.

Joseph Stefanelli’s art, rooted in academic training as well as inspired by the modern artistic movement, is bold and expansive. His colors are lush and his compositions are full of cultural heritage, vivid emotion, and fluidity. The traditional underpinnings of a good draftsman are put to test in his work. Stefanelli successfully creates abstract narratives that are able to transform the obvious into extraordinary.

From an early start he always had a pencil or a brush at hand, never having any intention of giving it up. He graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art and then studied at Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts to find World War II knocking on his door. He enlisted and went to the Pacific to be a part of the support group on the New Guinea landings. He started drawing for the “Yank” magazine during the Philippine Campaign, later to become a full “Yank” correspondent.

After the war, despite the disapproval of his mother, he still pursued drawing and painting. He continued his education in New York City at the Art Students League, where several years earlier Jackson Pollock studied as well. He spent most of his time at the Cedar Tavern, which was bustling with young artistic talent. The block between 8-9th Street in the village became the gallery hub, close to the infamous Artist Club. Here the first generation abstract expressionists had already a toehold on the movement. Joe Stefanelli was among the carousing and beer drinking crowd of less famous artists, who encircled this bastion of creatives, aspiring to acquire the same acclaim. Eventually Stefanelli’s work found its way into the exhibitions alongside such big names as de Kooning, Motherwell, Frankenthaler.

Stefanelli exhibited in the early 40’s through the 60’s in numerous galleries, including New Gallery, NYC, an exhibition juried by the famous Meyer Shapiro and Critic Clement Greenberg; The Poindexter Gallery, NYC; Denise Bibro Fine Art, NYC; Galerie Peter Baumler Regensberg, Germany; Olaf Clasen Gallery, Germany, as well as many University shows at Temple University, Italy; Princeton University, NJ; and The New School, NY. He exhibited and is in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; The Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY; and The Walker Art Center, MN to name just a few.

He completed numerous murals and installations in the New York School System. He is in various public and private collections including The Eugene Thaw Collection; Union Carbide Corporation; Geigy-Ciba Collection; Walter P. Chrysler Collection; Walker Art Center, MN, as well as many others.

He has had an illustrious teaching career. Among the prominent institutions he has taught at are: University of California, Berkeley, CA; Princeton University, NJ; New York University, NYC; Columbia University, NYC, and Brooklyn College, NYC. He received numerous awards and grants from The Pollock Krasner Foundation; The NY Council of The Arts, NYC; Spear Research Fund; and The Princeton University of Rome, as well as a Fulbright to Italy. The artist has received critical notice in publications such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, Art in America and Art News as well as many others.