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 August Mosca  (1909 - 2002)

About: August Mosca


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Lived/Active: New York / Italy      Known for: silverpoint, modernist cityscape and figure painting

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BIOGRAPHY for August Mosca
1909 (Naples, Italy)

New York / Italy

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silverpoint, modernist cityscape and figure painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
August Mosca, an urban realist, was born in Naples, Italy in 1909. He exhibited at the American Institute of Arts & Letters, Brooklyn Museum, Butler Institute of Art, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Feragil Gallery, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, New York Cultural Center and the Parrish Art Museum.

It has been said of his work that Mosca, "exults in the energy and voltage of the urban scene . . . . In contrast, his landscapes are languorous, opulent and sensual . . . his drawings, delicate filigrees in silverpoint and ink. A painter for all seasons, Mosca seamlessly blends classical principles, abstract clarity and Italian light to produce paintings of astonishing vigor, variety and luminosity."

Grand Central Art Galleries

Biography from Shelter Island Historical Society & Museum:
August Mosca was born in Naples, Italy on August 19, 1909. He and his family emigrated to the United States in 1911. He attended Yale School of Fine Arts in 1924 -1926, before moving to New York City where he attended Pratt Institute (1929). While living in his studio on Sixth Avenue and West Fourth Street in 1931, he studied at the Art Students League with Harry Wickey.

In 1932, he studied at Grand Central Art School and made his first trip to study in Italy. After meeting Joseph Stella in 1937, Stella introduced him to the silverpoint medium which he perfected throughout his life.

1939 saw the completion of Mr. Mosca's first paintings of New York City bridges and subways. He received the California Palace Legion of Honor Medal and Took part in Metropolitan Museum of Artexhibition "Portrait of America" during the mid-1940s.

His first solo exhibit was at Salpeter Gallery in New York City, where he showed annually from 1959 through 1969 and 1961 marked a one man show at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York. Butler Institute of American Art, Library of Congress, and Brooklyn Museum (two silverpoint drawings) acquired his work during that time.

During the 1970s, Mr. Mosca had solo exhibits at New York Cultural Center, Fordham University, and FAR Gallery (NYC). His work was acquired by Grey Collection of New York University, Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, NY), and New York Public Library. He received the President's Award in the Audubon Annual, the Barney Paiser Award, and the Purchase Prize in the Society of American Graphics Artists Annual. In 1978, the Association of American Artists commissioned two lithographs.

In 1987, East End Arts Council held a one man exhibition of silverpoint drawings and produced a cable television show in conjunction with the exhibit. He participated in "Impressionism and Post-Impressionism" and "New York: Empire City in the Age of Urbanism 1875 - 1945" exhibits, in 1988, at Grand Central Art Galleries, followed by "August Mosca, A Fifty Year Retrospective Exhibit" in 1990..

August Mosca found his inspiration in the Florentine and Northern Italian schools of the Renaissance which he studied on many trips to Italy. He learned that drawing is the most important part of painting, bringing this knowledge back to the emerging modernism being explored in New York City.

Joseph Stella made a lasting impression on the young August Mosca. Stella encouraged him to paint the city in a form which would reflect himself. Drawing the bridges of New York, Mosca said "After many attempts to capture the fright this bridge inspired in me, I eventually arrived at this mood of translucent tranquility and awesome quietude as I looked long at the criss-crosses, struts, and stresses".

Throughout his career, Mosca maintained a close connection to portraying the human figure. He strived to develop a personal understanding of the nature of the model and the medium in which he was working. His backgrounds are unobtrusive while his figures are a solid, individual presence.

August Mosca's work reveals his goal of understanding the human spirit; its form, its creations, and its relation to nature.

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