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

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Last updated January 2017