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Joseph Keiffer (b. 1952)

Joseph Keiffer was born in New York in 1952, the son of Edwin Keiffer, also a painter, and Elisabeth Keiffer,  a journalist and editor. Before college, Joe and his family made several extended trips abroad, spending about a year at a time in Mexico, Rome, Spain and Paris.

During college Joe put in four semesters at the New York Studio School, and finished with a B.A. from Brandeis as a philosophy/art history major. From there he entered Sothebys Works of Art Course in London, a ten-month education which culminated in his employment at Sothebys in New York as a painting appraiser and cataloguer. He left Sotheby’s in 1981 and held various other positions, including four years as President of a private, non-profit art foundation, which owned and loaned an important collection of 19th and 20th Century paintings. During this period in the late 1980’s he took every opportunity to continue painting, and he maintained a studio in a rent-controlled apartment on East 72nd Street.

He had been shown the rudiments of painting by his father and the four semesters at The New York Studio School was an education in Modernism, but the years at Sothebys had impressed him that there was a


great deal more to Painting than abstraction. He felt that there were still wonderful possibilities of artistic meaning and feeling in pre-Modernist art, but to realize these possibilities would require more technical know-how than he had been shown at the Studio School – or in any art school then available. Thus began a long practice of painting outdoors from life. He has maintained a studio in New York, as well as a summer studio in the Catskills for thirty years. While Joe draws upon his visual vocabulary from studying the Hudson River School Artists, his paintings have a distinctively contemporary yet other worldly quality to them.

Joseph Keiffer has had over 30 one-man shows in New York, San Francisco, Paris, Washington, D.C. and Maine, and is the co-author of a 2005 book about his paintings published by the Catskill Mountain Foundation.

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