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 Joseph (Jo) Rollo  (1904 - 2001)

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Lived/Active: New York/Illinois / Italy      Known for: drawing and painting

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Giuseppe Rollo is primarily known as Joseph (Jo) Rollo

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Linda Banwarth, whose husband is the great nephew of the artist. Banwarth is a genealogist who interviewed the artist several times before his 2001 death.

Giuseppe (Joseph) Rollo was born 26 February 1904 in Ragusa, Sicily, Italy.  He came to the United States in 1913 with his parents, Francesco and Josephine Rizza Rollo, and seven siblings, the family settling in Chicago.  Both of his parents had died by 1918 and he and his siblings lived with his sister and her family - Frank and Rose Rollo Rezzuto. 

Joseph (known as "Jo" to most) remained in Chicago during his young years, eventually attending the Art Institute of Chicago.  About 1927 he removed to New York City and became part of the "starving artists" colony that resided there.  He remained in NYC for about 50 years but usually summered with other artists in Woodstock, NY, and Gloucester, MA.
Jo has been described as a "depression era" artist and worked on a number of W.P.A. projects for Chicago during the 1930's.  He continued drawing and painting for the remainder of his life though he was seldom able to make a living at it and depended upon odd jobs, patrons and family to keep him going.  One of his oldest friends and patrons was Catherine Viviano, also of Chicago, who eventually owned an art gallery in NYC from 1950-1970.
Jo returned to Chicago when his health started to deteriorate, moving back in with his family.  He never married and remained with the family in Chicago until his death on 13 May 2001 at the age of 97 years.  Many of his art works are still stored in the family home today.  He is buried at Queen of Heaven, Hillside, Chicago, IL.

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