Saint Louis University

Edward Boccia: Figurative Expressionist

January 18 - March 3


The work of internationally renowned abstract expressionist Edward Boccia will open with a reception Friday, Jan. 18 from 6 - 8 p.m. The exhibition continues until March 3.

Edward Boccia: Figurative Expressionist includes an impressive range of the artist's expressionist triptychs and powerful paintings that reflect his evolution from prolific artist to published poet. This exhibition includes a series of paintings that reflect his passion for the profound, his exploration of the biblical and his inspiration drawn from the German expressionist painter, Max Beckmann, as well as other masters of modernity such as Cezanne and Nolde.

Boccia's art consists of "slashes of luminous colors or powerful streaks of dark, foreboding, abstract musings or slices of real life," noted the St. Louis Beacon.

Boccia saw himself as both a classical artist and an expressionistic painter, and his works in this exhibit reflect his range. With rich colors layered sparingly within, behind, over and around inky shades, Boccia creates powerful compositions that offer subtext with each painting. His Enigma Portrait brings a notable solemnity and yet a splash of light that is unexpectedly and unmistakably mystic, however, nevertheless profound in its perspective.

In his Self Portrait of Artist with a Dove, his range of bright oranges serve as the foundation with subtle shadings of greens and russets accented with splashes of shimmering gold that pay homage to Beckmann. In other pieces, he delves into rich tonal subtleties of blacks and indigos with hints of bright yellow that determine time and space, past and present with haunting dexterity.

Boccia's work can be found in private collections, as well as museums and religious institutions throughout the world. He earned multiple honors, among them, a knighthood by the "Cavaliere Al Merito Della Repubblica" in Italy and the "Borso di Studio" from the Italian government. In 1990, Saint Louis University bestowed upon him membership in the Order of the Crown of King Louis IX.

Born in 1921 in Newark, N.J., Boccia studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, an elite vocational school, as well as the renowned Pratt Institute in New York City where he met his wife, Madeleine Wysong. After serving in World War II, Boccia returned to New York in 1945, married Madeleine, and continued his education, earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University. He moved to St. Louis in 1951 to teach in the School of Fine Arts, Washington University, where he spent the remainder of his career and continued to work on his art.

Mr. Boccia died in September 2012 in Webster Groves, MO. He was 91 years-of-age.

For more information about the artist click here.


Boccia's early drawings and paintings are featured in a concurrent exhibition organized by The Sheldon Art Galleries. Edward Boccia: Early Work will be on display in the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Gallery of the Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis MO, 63108 from February 22 - May 18, 2012.  

Visit the Programming and Events page to see more SLUMA events.