Italians Migrations in the Art of Joseph and William Papaleo

Mila Tenaglia (April 03, 2015)
On April 8th, the Westchester Italian Cultural Center will welcome Fred Gardaphe, Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, to participate in the panel In The Name of the Father and The Son: Italians Migrations in the art of Joseph and William Papaleo. Professor Gardaphe will analyze the relationship between Joseph and William Papaleo, father and son, respectively a writer and painter. Comparing two generations, which, through their own artistic perspective, have both touched upon the themes of emigration - immigration.

In The Name of the Father and The Son: Italians Migrations in the art of Joseph and William Papaleo. “If you’re catholic, the term ‘holy spirit’ could help you in considering the father-son relationship. In a way, the title of this exhibit is guided by the art of the Joseph and William, focused between success and inferiority” Fred Gardaphe says, introducing us to the main points he will discuss during the presentation at the Westchester Italian Cultural Center.

A dialog between the perspectives of two generations, who express themselves on the same themes of emigration and immigration. Joseph Papaleo’s perspective includes the profound sense of inferiority about his Italian identity that he retained throughout his career. Fred Gardaphe will begin by reading a work of his to delve into the conflict between success and inferiority that exists in the work of both father and son.

The father, Joseph Papaleo (1925 - 2004) is considered the grandfather of Italian American writing. He is a best-selling author who won the Guggenheim and American Book Award, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize Award for his short stories collection, Italian Stories.  
Joseph’s writing, his words, his books voiced italian emigration to America, concentrating on the concept of American identity. This has been the focal point of the writer’s growth and of the cultural influence he had on his son.

William Papaleo paints blurred landscapes, poor emigrants in Italy, members of the working class, in order to talk about immigration in Italy. He lived and worked in Italy for over 20 years. His artwork was influenced by the art philosophy of Robert Henri as an expression of contemporary social realities, rooted in the humanistic, figurative tradition. Many years ago he relocated to Italy and chose to live and paint in the south, specifically in Naples and the Amalfi Coast. He wanted to paint life and not just study the past grandeurs of the artistic tradition. Naples and southern Italy offered him the possibility to do both.

His work includes mediums of pastels and oils. On display are a series of oils, pastels, watercolors, and ceramics that were inspired by the many years he spent living in the Campania region. His paintings have been on exhibit in museums and galleries in Europe and the United States. He has received various international awards in Italy and America. Presently he is being represented by Ethan Coen at ECFA in New York, and The Wohlfarth Galleries in Washington D.C., and in Cape Cod, MA.

In the past few years, he collaborated with The Royal College of Art in London and The University HDM of Stuttgart, Germany, during a series of international painting workshops for European college students. He taught painting at the University of California – Naples, Italy – and at the Castle Hill Center for the Arts in Truro, Massachusetts. He studied with Robert Beverly Hale at the Art Students League in New York City and Henry Hensche at the Cape School of Art in Massachusetts. In Italy he studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti – Naples – and worked on church fresco technique with Antonio Montagna in Piemonte.

If you love Amalfi and Salerno, you will be able to visit William’s newly opened painting exhibit at the Westchester Italian Cultural Center.