Joe Stefanelli


Joe Stefanelli Biography

American, 1021-2017

Lawrence Fine Art is pleased to offer this marvelous early work by first generation Abstract Expressionist painter Joe Stefanelli (1921-2017). Stefanelli exhibited at the seminal 9th Street Show in 1951. This exhibition represented the coming out of the New York School artists. Other artists who exhibited were De Kooning (both), Pollock, Krasner, Guston, Hofmann and others.
Stefanelli served in the US Army in WWII as a combat illustrator. In 1947, he enrolled in Hans Hofmann’s School of Fine Arts. Hofmann, who opened his school in 1934, exerted a great influence on many of the great names of the next half century.
In 1950 the two important art critics Meyer Shapiro and Clement Greenberg selected works by Stefanelli for their “New Talent Show” at the Kootz Gallery in New York. Shortly afterwards, Franz Kline invited Stefanelli to take part in the legendary “9th Street Show”.
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.
In one of his articles about the artist, John Russell, the art critic of the New York Times, wrote: “Joe Stefanelli is regarded as one of the leading minds of the New York School. He is an outstanding artist who is not easy to categorise. He creates contrasts between generous sweeping movements with a paint-laden brush and strong, straight lines (which might possibly be drawn with the handle of the brush). He is very convincing amidst that hazardous terrain where red and violet meet and succeeds in marrying pink and pale blue in a way that had been forgotten since the death of Raoul Dufys. He has a clear repertoire of shapes – circle, triangle, rectangle – and he can make them do somersaults over the entire canvas.“
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 was the winner of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Price for Lifetime Achievement.