Joseph Morris Raphael was an American artist who holds a high place in the California school of Impressionism. Born in the town of Jackson near San Francisco, California on June 2, 1869, Raphael became one of the most famous students of his esteemed teacher Arthur F. Mathews at the California School of Design. Later Raphael would continue his art studies in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and at the Academie Julian under Jean-Paul Lauren. Early in his career he made the decision to reside in Europe, there he and his wife chose the town of Uccle, Belgium in which to establish a home and raise a family.
For most of his career he remained a devoted follower of pure French Impressionism. He painted the countryside near his home in Uccle, Belgium and also ventured to Holland, especially to Amsterdam, Leyden and Noordwijk. Just as Raphael’s international reputation grew, his family grew as well to include four daughters and one son. His family frequently appeared in his figurative works, he created wonderful closeup studies of his children and frequently captured them in leisurely picnic settings. Some of his other paintings were the beaches and coastal towns in Belgium and in the Netherlands, the area’s local fields of flowers, and sometimes he featured his charming cottage home with its vegetable and flower gardens which were perhaps sources for his still lifes of fruits, vegetables and flowers. He lived and worked in Europe for thirty-seven years always maintaining close ties with the San Francisco art community and his loyal art dealer and collector Albert M. Bender. In 1939 with the ominous clouds of World War Two approaching, he returned to San Francisco where he lived and maintained a studio on Sutter Street until his death in 1950.
Joseph Raphael won numerous awards including Honorable Mention, Paris Solon, 1906; Silver Medal, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco 1915; and, Gold Medal, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego 1915. Museum Collections: San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California (Spring Winds, ,Noordwijk, Holland, 1912 – see picture); Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois; Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, California; Monterey Museum of Art (‘Landscape with Horse and Cart, Noordwijk, Holland, 1912); Iris and Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, Stanford University ‘Tulip Fields, Noordwijk, Holland’ 1913