Joseph Raffael, 1976 / Mimi Jacobs, photographer. [Photographs of artists taken by Mimi Jacobs, photographer], Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Joseph Raffael was born in 1933 in Brooklyn. His mostly solitary childhood, during which he came close to death from meningitis, saw him develop a strong interest in drawing. Raffael’s mother died when he was quite young, and death and isolation are constant themes in his artistic practice. Raffael studied first at the Cooper Union in New York and received his BFA from the Yale School of Fine Arts in 1956. In 1958–59 he travelled and painted in Italy on a Fulbright scholarship.

Raffael created the series of lithographs Boy touching man touching upper lip at Gemini GEL in 1976. The prints demonstrate his precise drawing skills and address the theme of isolation.
Emilie Owens


Born in Brooklyn, New York

Attends the School of Art at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science, Manhattan, New York

Receives Summer Fellowship and attends the Yale University Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, Connecticut

Studies at the Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Conneticut, and receives Bachelor of Fine Arts

Receives Fulbright Fellowship to study in Florence and Rome, Italy

First solo exhibition, Kanegis Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

Solo exhibition of works made during the Fulbright Fellowship, Galleria Numero, Florence

Receives Louis C Tiffany Prize

Teaches at University of California, Davis

Teaches at School of Visual Arts, New York

Completes the edition of one hundred lithographs titled Boy touching man touching upper lip at Gemini GEL, Los Angeles Changes name from Joe Raffaele to Joseph Raffael

Teaches at University of California, Berkeley Included in exhibitions: Painting and sculpture today: 1969, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; Paintings from the photo, Riverside Museum, Riverside, New York

Teaches at California State University, Sacramento

Joins Nancy Hoffman’s new gallery in New York. Hoffman continues to represent Raffael to this day.

Receives first prize, Tokyo International Biennial, Tokyo, Japan

Receives Purchase Prize, Concours d’Antiques, Oakland Museum, California Produces, Island Magic, series of lithographs at the Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque

Included in travelling exhibition, America 1976, organised by the United States Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Included in travelling exhibition, Illusion and Reality, organised by the Australian Gallery Director’s Council, in association with the Visual Arts Board and the Australian National Gallery (now the National Gallery of Australia). The exhibition was shown in major state galleries across Australia.

Solo exhibition, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, California

Travelling retrospective exhibition, Joseph Raffael – the California years, 1969 –1978, originating at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Solo exhibition, Watercolors by Joseph Raffael, Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, Wyoming

Included in exhibition, The natural image, Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford, Connecticut

Included in exhibition, Collector’s Show, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

Included in exhibition, Contemporary color: work on paper, Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, New Jersey

Solo exhibition at Canton Museum of Art, Canton, Ohio

Joseph Raffael currently lives and works in Antibes, France

© Tyler Graphics Ltd; revised Emilie Owens, 2007
This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated October 2015