The Catholic University of America

Oct. 22, 2010

Alexander Giampietro Remembered at Memorial Mass and Exhibit

  Daphne Giampietro helps install the May Gallery exhibit honoring her husband’s work.

Alexander Giampietro, an internationally known artist and long-time professor at The Catholic University of America, was honored during a memorial Mass at Caldwell Chapel earlier this month. Giampietro died in January 2010 at the age of 97.

“It was a beautiful day and a fitting tribute to my father’s life,” said Rev. Anthony Giampietro, C.S.B., the ninth of Giampietro’s 11 children. The Mass was followed by an opening reception for a showing of Giampietro’s art from the family’s private collection.

The exhibit, Alexander Giampietro: A Retrospective, is on display in the May Gallery of the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library at CUA through Oct. 22.

“Alexander Giampietro was an inspiration at Catholic University,” says Nora Heimann, associate professor and chair of CUA’s art department. “His strong ideas and his innovative work left an enduring mark on hundreds of art students, many of whom went on to become accomplished artists themselves.”

Giampietro was an art professor at Catholic University from 1950 until his retirement in 1992; he maintained a studio at the university until 2007.

His works are part of the Catholic University collection and have entered some of the world’s most important collections, including those of the Vatican, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian Institution.

The pieces chosen for this CUA exhibit came from the family’s Brookland home. “The house is a museum in and of itself,” explains Charles Giampietro, the artist’s second son, who helped install the exhibit. “The woodwork, dining room table, wall hutch, lamp bases and so many sculptures were made by our father — his art was part of our everyday life.”

“For Papa, there was no separation between art and life,” adds Charles Giampietro. “We lived with these pieces and it is fitting to see them displayed in the library gallery where they can be part of everyday student life. My father’s faith was also vitally important to him and you can see that reflected in his art.”

The exhibit, Mass and reception were planned by CUA with the Giampietro family. The memorial celebration “brought together everything that was near and dear to my father,” said Father Giampietro.

“Family, friends, colleagues from throughout the university’s different schools, former students, people who cared for him in his final months all came together to celebrate his life. The beauty of his art connected with the beauty of family and friends and delicious food. It was a celebration he would have loved.”

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