ARTS & CULTURE
10/20/2012 10:10 am ET

Edward Boccia Dead: Seminal Figurative Expressionist Painter Dies At 91 (SLIDESHOW)

Renowned American painter Edward Boccia passed away in St. Louis, Missouri earlier this month. The artist, known for his expressionist triptychs and interest in Catholic mysticism, was 91 years old.

Boccia was born in Newark, New Jersey, spending most of his early life on the East coast. After studying art in New York City and serving in World War II, the budding abstract expressionist moved to the Midwest. There he became a professor at the University of Washington in St. Louis, teaching art courses alongside fellow expressionist greats like Max Beckmann.

edward boccia

Edward Boccia, The Fourth Day, 1967, 8 feet by 11 feet 2 inches, Courtesy of the St. Louis University Museum of Art.

It was in St. Louis that Boccia made a name for his evolving work, capturing the interest of famed American art collector Morton D. "Buster" May. May would become an annual patron of Boccia, at times purchasing truck loads of his paintings, catapulting the artist to the ranks of some of the most collected craftsmen in the United States.

Boccia continued his prolific painting career until his death, developing a style referred to as "figurative expressionism," marked by his exaggerated forms and highly spiritual themes. He also began writing poetry later in his life, compiling a trilogy of poems titled "The Death Series: A Visit from Raphael."

Boccia died on September 3, 2012, survived by his wife, Madeleine, his daughter, Alice Boccia, and granddaughter, Jennifer Pateraki. An exhibition of Edward Boccia’s paintings, including several triptychs and polyptychs, will be held at the St. Louis University Museum of Art, from February 22nd until April 21st, 2013.

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