Joseph Raffael Biography

Joseph Raffael




Joseph Raffael was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933. He spent most of his childhood in ill health, contracting spinal meningitis when he was ten years old. Much of this time he spent drawing and studying the landscape and neighborhood from his window. At the request of his father, he was taken out of Catholic school and placed in the local public school— a fortuitous event, as at Midwood High School he was able to join the Art Club. Soon after, he began taking life drawing classes on Sundays at the Brooklyn Museum.
He attended Cooper Union from 1953-54 studying under Sidney Delevante, John Ferren, and Leo Manso. To support himself, he worked as a clerk at the Central Circulation Department at the New York Public Library.
In the summer of 1954 he attended the Yale University-Norfolk School of Music and Art, on a fellowship. With the encouragement of instructor Bernard Chaet, he went on to study at the Yale School of Fine Arts from 1954-56. There he studied under Josef Albers. Deciding to pursue a career rather than a Master’s degree, he worked as a freelance artist at the Jack Price Textile Studio and continued painting on weekends. He received a Fullbright Scholarship in 1958 and studied abroad in Florence and Rome until 1960, when he returned to the United States and began exhibiting.   
Raffael taught at the University of California at Davis (1966), University of California at Berkeley (1969), and California State College at Sacramento (1973). He was a guest teacher at the Tamarind Institute, New Mexico (1975). He has exhibited extensively, throughout the United States and abroad.