Nancy Hoffman Gallery
Raffael’s love of and appreciation for nature move to a deeper, richer, more complex place as the artist explores some of his signature subjects--flowers, fish, sparkling ponds, interlacing trees--in watercolor. From the carp pond he created in his garden to images from India of twining, intertwining branches in a sunlit primordial forest, Raffael seeks a universal language in nature. The place or location qua location is not important to the artist. What interests, intrigues, drives Raffael, is the motivation to penetrate nature in paint in ways the eye cannot behold.
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There is mystery and magic in light as it shines on water...bouncing on a rippling surface through which it beams to reveal movement, reeds, branches, fish, bubbles. There is poetry in dawning light as it brings to life the vital energy of the forest. There is romance in Raffael’s light as it bathes a bouquet of flowers magnified in scale, redolent with summer’s heat and perfume. Light is and has always been the key to Raffael’s jewel-like faceted passages of paint. In Gateway: Love, a painting of Lannis, garden, gate, pond, dog, the true subject is crystal-clear luminous light so particular to the South of France. Sunlight washes over the artist’s steps to his home, caresses each leaf and pattern in the moment captured on a summer’s afternoon by Raffael in paint.
Each of the watercolors is monumental in scale, some are diptychs measuring up to 88x61 inches, others are single panels measuring 68x40 inches. Scale has always been important for the artist who magnifies flowers, fish, bubbling streams to increase the viewer’s awareness and perception of nature.
In Arregui, Raffael celebrates the creation of his long-dreamed of carp pond. The pond itself--a work of art, incorporating golden rocks and stones found in the ground while digging for the pond, bamboo, Japanese maple--was a labor of love and participation. From this endeavor Arregui was born, a painting of abundant texture, filigree golden leaves, reedy green bamboo in shadowy purple blue water, the totality majestic and Japanese scroll-like in composition, when Raffael uses color such as blue, he uses 20-30 different blues to achieve the symphonic palette of a finished painting. Color, like nature, is complex and layered, and in Raffael’s hands leads the viewer to a glimpse of nature’s splendors heretofore unknown.
Joseph Raffael was born in Brooklyn in 1933. He received his B.F.A. from Yale University in 1957 and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Florence and Rome in 1958-1959 and a Tiffany Fellowship in 1960.
The artist’s work has been exhibited in this country at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; ARCO Center for Visual Art, Los Angeles; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi; Arts Center Galleries, Old Forge, New York; Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin; The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; The Canton Museum of Art, Ohio; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Davenport Museum of Art, Iowa; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; The Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Elvehjem Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana; Gibbs Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina, Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; The Jacksonville Museum, Florida; Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul; Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Saint Louis; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Academy of Design, New York; Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island; Newport Harbor Art Museum, California; Oklahoma City Art Museum, Oklahoma; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; San Francisco International Airport, California; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Scottsdale Art Center, Arizona; Sioux City Art Center, Iowa; Tucson, Arizona; Wichita Art Museum, Kansas; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin; among other institutions. His work has also been shown at the Miyagi Museum of Art; Sogo Museum of Art; Tokushima Modern Art Museum; Museum of Modern Art, Shiba; and Kochi Prefectural Museum of Folk Art, all in Japan.
Raffael’s work is represented in many museum collections, among them: Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania; The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; The Canton Museum of Art, Ohio; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; The Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville Art Museum, Florida; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Long Beach Museum, California; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida; Museum of Outdoor Art, Englewood, Colorado; National Collection of Fine Arts of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Oakland Museum, California; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Rahr West Art Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky; The Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Maryland; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
The artist resides in France.
For additional information and/or photographs, please contact the gallery.