José F. Grave de Peralta
I am a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, known for its unique “Great Books,” classical liberal arts curriculum. I also hold a master’s degree in Spanish literature from the University of Delaware in Newark.
When my family left our native Camagüey, CUBA, in 1963, we settled in Wilmington, Delaware (U.S.A.), and this enabled me to see much of the artwork of the Brandywine River school in Chadds Ford. In the 1970´s I met a Benedictine monk in Mount Saviour Monastery in New York State, whose powerful pencil drawings of religious subjects and of human figures as well as his joyful color weavings for liturgical celebrations took my breath away. Around 1976, I was fortunate to paint for several years in the studio of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts painter Charles Vinson, and I studied "Drawing from the Human Figure" under 3 PAFA artists that same summer.
My artwork has been exhibited in parts of the United States, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, and, more recently, in Italy. Private corporate collectors of my canvases and murals include the Motorola-Nortel Corporation in Caracas, Venezuela; and Emilio and Gloria Estefan's restaurant, BONGOS, in Orlando, Florida. In many ways , it was my traveling and my sketching in churches, town piazzas, and markets throughout Italy, Latin America, and the Caribbean, that taught me how to see as an artist. Along with my art books and important museum visits, these were my hands-on classroom. Place names from Paraguay, Venezuela, and Brazil abound in my work from the 1980s and 90s, alongside the Old Miami River and waterside area of Coconut Grove , Florida, where my Muses also sang to me. Oh yes, and speaking of singing, the old Cuban love songs that my Mother sang and played on her piano as I was growing up --- these too were my "books !
At present, I reside in Rome, Italy, where I continue to combine freehand drawing and watercolor techniques with the study of the City's rich architectural history. In fact, thanks to my work as a historian and guide for example, for the University of Delaware at Newark, and for (specially!) Context Travel, At Escapes, Countess Connections in FRANCE, and several other high-end tour groups, I have developed what I a very personal style that makes my walks more personally meaningful.
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