A goldmine of underrated artists are in our midst, most of whom are no longer with us, but their works remain. These fantastically soulful paintings are to be discovered and coveted. Joseph Stefanelli is one of these artists who has left us a wonderful legacy.
A colleague and peer of Stefanelli, Yvonne Thomas, has just had a well-received and successful exhibition in Chelsea, NYC with Berry Campbell Gallery. The show received a review in the New York Times by Roberta Smith, similar to the review that Thomas received by NYT writer Grace Glueck at Denise Bibro Fine Art in the early 2000’s.
Denise Bibro Fine Art recognized the respective geniuses more than a decade ago. Stefanelli had a solo exhibition in the late 90’s with Denise Bibro Fine Art at their previous location in SoHo. The 90’s show was reviewed in Art in America and ArtNews… pre-Instagram; when hard print reviews were the norm and coveted.
Stefanelli was a gifted artist. His paintings are fiery and wanton but deliberate. He was a seasoned painter who knew how to draw and paint. He had a gift for well-conceived forms, color, and composition.
The works displayed at the gallery cover the periods of the 60’s through the 90’s. His talents were noted in such early well-established venues like the Stable Gallery, NYC, in the 50’s and 60’s. Stefanelli was part of the gang of artists that frequented the infamous Cedar Tavern in the Village where he drank and talked. He had a house and studio in the Hamptons like his more famous counterpart, Willem de Kooning. These were the days when the artists in the Springs of the Hamptons were the main event in the area, not what exists today.
Why de Kooning eclipsed artists like Stefanelli is a very long story and different to whomever is speaking. Whatever the answer, personality, lack of chances, male vs. female…. the bottom line, artists like Stefanelli were better or on par of many that were more valued at that time and even today. To analyze is a waste time, now is the opportunity for these artists to get the attention they rightfully deserve. Now is the time for collectors to pay attention and acquire. The art speaks for itself.
We implore all to come and see these works. At the very least there are lessons to be felt and learned. At best, the public has an opportunity to enter the art market and collect works that have remarkable value, that have survived the quagmires of the art market.
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 Pointdexter Gallery, NYC; Galerie Peter Baumler Regensberg, Germany; and Olaf Clasen Gallery, Germany, as well as many University shows at Temple University Abroad, 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 taught in prestigious institutions such as New York University, The New School, Colombia, NYC; Princeton, NJ; and The University of California, CA. He received numerous awards and grants from The Pollack 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.
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.