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For years, Joseph Richards focused his attention on painting mechanical subjects. He had many successful shows at O.K. Harris Gallery in New York City displaying his large canvases of locomotive engines, oil rigging and massive steel gears.
Joseph E. Richards, artist, died at home September 24, 2007 of renal cancer. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa where he graduated from high school. With his savings he bought a train ticket for Chicago and embarked on a career in art. At night he attended the Mizen Academy and during the day he worked at a men's clothing store where he met Betty, the girl he would marry in 1943. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, January 2, 1942, served in the Pacific Theater as a signalman and was discharged in 1945.
After returning to Chicago he enrolled at the American Academy of Art. To earn money he served as a Merchant Seaman with the US Coast Guard during vacations and visited Surinam, Venezuela, France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Brazil.
He continued his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and after a 3-month trip in Europe in 1951, the couple settled in New York City. The OK Harris Gallery carried his realistic paintings of construction equipment and marine machinery. Joe painted functional objects, such as locomotives, cranes and anchors, in which he found beauty because of their color, texture and form. He had solo exhibits in New York City, Scottsdale AZ, and Washington DC, and his work is found in private and corporate collections here and abroad, e.g., the Tucson Museum of Fine Arts, Mobil Oil, Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia, and E. Jean Belloni in Geneva, Switzerland.
After moving to the countryside in a house of his own design in Hillsdale, NY, he learned to appreciate the esthetics of cupolas. His cupola paintings were shown by the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson. After Betty's death in 1995 he was slow to resume painting but eventually he did. He also enjoyed skiing and boating.
His companion, Eleanor Joan Jarvis and representatives from Community Hospice of Columbia Green, Hudson, were with him when he died. Per his arrangements with Peck & Peck Funeral Home, Copake, there will be no funeral, no calling hours. He was cremated and his ashes will be scattered as instructed.