Joe Stefanelli (March 20, 1921 – September 27, 2017), also known as Joseph J. Stefanelli belonged to the New York School Abstract Expressionist artists whose influence and artistic innovation by the 1950s had been recognized around the world. New York School Abstract Expressionism, represented by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and others became a leading art movement of the post-World War II era. He died in September 2017 at the age of 96.[1]

Joe Stefanelli
Joseph J. Stefanelli

March 20, 1921
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedSeptember 27, 2017 (aged 96)
[[Lake Placid], New York City
Known forAbstract expressionist painter
MovementAbstract Expressionism



Joe Stefanelli grew up in a large working-class Italian-American family in South Philadelphia.[2] He was born March 20, 1921, in Philadelphia, PA.[3]

Studied paintingEdit

Military Service in World War IIEdit

Joe Stefanelli entered the Army during World War II. Eventually he was working as an illustrator, from 1942 to 1946 provided field drawings that were published in "’Artists for Yank Magazine’’’. He traveled all over the South Pacific as a combat artist. Today these works are housed in the permanent collection of the World War II Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

Participation in the Downtown Art SceneEdit

He had his studio in the Lower East Side, on 22nd Street. Stefanelli soon joined the "Downtown Group"[4] which represented a group of artists who found studios in lower Manhattan. Franz Kline introduced Stefanelli to 'The Artists’ Club’.[5] located at 39 East 8th Street. Joe Stefanelli was chosen by his fellow artists to show in the Ninth Street Show held on May 21 – June 10, 1951.[6] The show was located at 60 East 9th Street on the first floor and the basement of a building which was about to be demolished:[7] "The artists celebrated not only the appearance of the dealers, collectors and museum people on the 9th Street, and the consequent exposure of their work but they celebrated the creation and the strength of a living community of significant dimensions."

Joe Stefanelli participated in 1951 and from 1954 to 1957 in the invitational New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals including the Ninth Street Show.[8] These Annuals were important because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves.[9]

Teaching PositionsEdit

By the 1960s Joe Stefanelli like many of his contemporaries taught art in major Universities.

Selected Solo ExhibitionsEdit

In 1988: Joe Stefanelli received a retrospective exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Selected Group ExhibitionsEdit


Joe Stefanelli has received number of awards:

Works in Museums and Public CollectionsEdit


  • United States. Army Service Forces. Special Service Division.; National Gallery of Art (US), Soldier art ([Washington] Infantry Journal, 1945.
  • Marika Herskovic, New York School Abstract Expressionists Artists Choice by Artists, (New York School Press, 2000.) ISBN 0-9677994-0-6 p.  32; 38; 350–353;

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System; Archival, Manuscript and Photographic Collections, Joe Stefanelli

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit