Rosa JH Berland will give a talk on March 21st from 6-8 pm on the life and work of the artist Edward Boccia at the Calandra Italian American Institute as part of the Philip V. Cannistraro Seminar Series. The event is open to the public and all are welcome. We are most honored to have the opportunity to share the accomplishments and contributions of this important Italian American artist and teacher.
Edward E. Boccia: The Painter of Nightmares and Dreams
Rosa Berland, The Edward E. Boccia Artist Trust
This talk will examine the artist Edward E. Boccia’s (1921–2012) innovative approach to painting and the reception of his work, as well as his connections to his Italian heritage. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Boccia studied at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students League and went on to teach for more than thirty years at the Washington University of St. Louis. Called a neo-expressionist, a modern neo-Renaissance painter, and even a magical realist, Boccia had a practice informed by the great masters as well as the work of twentieth-century modernists such as Max Beckmann and Oskar Kokoschka. What makes Boccia unique is his creation of a pictorial language that synthesized the mid-to-late-twentieth-century experience with motifs and themes from Catholicism, literary criticism, the politics of anti-materialism, and the importance of craft.
In the beginning of his career, the young artist Edward Boccia studied life drawing at The Art Students’ League of New York’s with eminent teachers such as fellow Italian American artist Jon Corbino and Harry Sternberg.
The Trust is delighted to announce a recent donation of two paintings by Edward Boccia to the League’s permanent collection: The Last Supper, 1977 and Bathers by the Sea, 1995 in recognition of this formative early training and the importance of the league and the meaningful experience of learning with working artists.
Of this tradition of teaching young artists and creative professionals, Boccia said in 1949:
“It is the function of the artist to employ those means existent in his cultural and social milieu. Required are the variations placed upon art within the dynamics of a technological age. It is the purpose of the Columbus Art School to synchronize its curriculum to meet and affect the stipulations of the art professions. The methodology for approaching problems is inspired by the social impetus in a creative education.” (Bauhaus Principles in Use Here”, The Columbus Dispatch 1949)
Edward Boccia The Last Supper, 1977
As the late artist Edward Boccia was a member of the 63rd Engineer Combat Battalion during WW II (known as the Ghost Army) it is with great happiness that we share that President Biden has signed The Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act into law.
Let’s celebrate this historic moment! Join us online for a live program that will bring together Ghost Army veterans, and will feature congratulatory messages, a video history of the Gold Medal and our seven-year journey to its passage, surprise guests, and much more. Best of all, veterans of the unit will have a chance to talk personally about the meaning of this long-overdue recognition.
The Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Celebration, Sunday, February 13 at 2 PM Eastern. Watch here!
Boccia’s painting of 1958 Adam and Eve recently sold at auction, truly a lovely very early piece featuring the puzzling yet fascinating motif seen throughout a lifetime of work —the Icarus like falling figure. Interesting fact: The picture won a special prize at show of Old Testament art in 1958.