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Joseph Raphael

 (1869 - 1950)
Joseph Morris Raphael was active/lived in California / Netherlands, Europe.  Joseph Raphael is known for landscape, figure, still life and genre painting.

Joseph Raphael

    RAH-fy-el  speaker-click to hear pronunciation  click to hear

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Joseph Raphael
Considered a foremost exponent of pure French Impressionism, Joseph Raphael spent much of his career in Europe although California lays a strong claim to him. He was both a painter and etcher and was born in Jackson, California in 1869.

At age eighteen, Raphael began a ten-year study period at the School of Design in San Francisco under Arthur Mathews and Douglas Tilden.  In 1902 he furthered his art studies in Paris at Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Academie Julian under Laurens.  Europe remained his home for the next thirty-seven years, spending most of his time in Holland, France, and Belgium while his San Francisco agent exhibited his paintings regularly in local shows.

With World War II approaching, he moved to San Francisco in 1939 and maintained a studio at 345 Sutter Street until his death on December 11, 1950.

His early works were influenced by Dutch genre painting, but his proximity to the French Impressionists soon lightened his palette.  Internationally known, he was one of the foremost advocates of Impressionism in California.  He was primarily an oil painter, and his oeuvre also includes watercolors, etching, pen and ink drawings, and woodcuts.

He had a family of five children and often used them as models in settings of flower and vegetable gardens.  He was a member of the San Francisco Art Association and the California Society of Etchers.

Source: Artists in California, 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Joseph Raphael
Joseph Morris Raphael holds a high place in the California, American and French Schools of Impressionism.  Raphael became one of the most famous students of his esteemed teacher Arthur F. Mathews at the California School of Design.  Later Raphael would continue his art studies in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and at the Academie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens.  Early in his career he lived in Uccle, Belgium. For most of his career he remained a devoted follower of pure French Impressionism.

Biography from Spanierman Gallery
Joseph Raphael, a painter of sunlit floral landscapes and a graphic artist of some renown, was born in San Francisco, California in 1869.  He demonstrated an early affinity for art by copying the works of such popular illustrators as Charles Dana Gibson.  In 1888, Raphael entered the Mark Hopkins Institute of the San Francisco Art Association.  During his four-year course of study, he won a prestigious scholarship, in addition to receiving employment as a teaching assistant.

Raphael was active in the San Francisco area during the 1890s, first as a newspaper illustrator and later as a sign painter.  By 1903 he had saved enough money to pursue studies in Paris.  He attended classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens.  During this Parisian interval, he supported himself by creating illustrations for a number of French magazines.  The same year Raphael discovered the artist's colony in the charming town of Laren, southeast of Amsterdam, and until 1911, he divided his time between that community and Paris.  During his sojourn in Laren, he produced work that reflects the sombre, tonal genre scenes of the Hague School artists.  Its merit was acknowledged in 1906 when Raphael received an honorable mention at the Paris Salon for The Feast of the Burgomaster.  Also in 1906, his oil painting, The Town Crier, was purchased from a San Francisco Art Association exhibition and donated to the M. H. de Young Museum.

In 1910, Raphael stayed for eight months in San Francisco, where he exhibited his predominantly figural Dutch series at the Art Association.  Following his return to Laren in 1912, he married Johanna Jongkindt and moved to a small cottage in Uccle, a suburb of Brussels.  Raphael's Uccle works are characterized by luminous renditions of his bountiful flower and vegetable garden, painted with a light palette and broad divisionist strokes, reflecting his study in Paris.  This vibrant style earned the artist the silver medal at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, where six of his canvases were displayed.

In the teens, Raphael discovered a new outlet for his talents, that of etching.  By 1913, his first prints began appearing at the California Association of Etchers.  A war-induced shortage of art materials, beginning around 1918, prompted the artist to turn to alternate media, and he began to work in pen and ink, watercolor and woodcut, for which supplies were more available.

Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, Raphael continued to send oils, etchings, watercolors and woodcuts to exhibitions in California, establishing a continuing reputation in the Bay area in spite of his prolonged absence.

The Depression years were difficult for the Raphael family.  In 1934, increasing rent forced them to move to Oegstgeest, a suburb of Leiden, where the artist again had space for a vegetable and flower garden, by now a favorite subject.  In 1939, Raphael visited San Francisco, taking along many paintings and prints created during the 1930s.  The outbreak of World War II prevented his return to Europe and unfortunately he was unable to see his wife before she died in 1945.  Instead, he remained in San Francisco, continuing his successful career with sunlit scenes of Northern California, until his death in 1950.

Although Joseph Raphael spent most of his life in Europe, he is considered one of the foremost exponents of Northern California Impressionism.  He is widely acclaimed for his original and vigorous outdoor scenes.

Raphael's work is represented in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the M. H. de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Oakland Museum of California; the San Diego Museum of Art; the Stanford University Museum and Art Gallery; and many other public and private collections.


©The essay herein is the property of Spanierman Gallery, LLC and is copyrighted by Spanierman Gallery, LLC. It may not be reproduced without written permission from Spanierman Gallery, LLC nor shown or communicated to anyone without due credit being given to Spanierman Gallery, LLC.

Biography from Edenhurst Gallery
Joseph Raphael was a California artist born in Jackson, California in 1869. He is known largely as an expatriate painter, spending most of his artistic career in Holland, France, and Belgium.

He first studied in San Francisco at the School of Design under famous California artist Arthur Mathews. At the turn of the twentieth century he turned his studies to Europe and in Paris studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Academie Julian.

Raphael was a very prolific painter whose style was very expressive, often painting in thick layers of heavy impasto applied with a brush. His paintings of flower gardens and of children in outdoors scenes are very colorful and im some ways similar to the technique used by an earlier European generation, especially post impressionist artists like Vincent van Gogh.

His work is represented in several major California museums. He exhibited extensively in the Paris Salon exhibitions as well as in San Francisco, winning a gold medal at the Panama Pacific Expo in 1915.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Santa Monica
Biography photo for Joseph Raphael
Joseph Raphael was born in Jackson, California, in 1869, and studied at the San Francisco School of Design before leaving for Paris to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Academie Julian.

While continuing to exhibit his works in galleries in San Francisco, Raphael would remain a resident of Europe for 37 years.  Only with the approach of WW II did he return to California, where his pure Impressionist style was well received.

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About  Joseph Raphael

Born:  1869 - Jackson, California
Died:   1950 - San Francisco, California
Known for:  landscape, figure, still life and genre painting