Joe Abbrescia


About Joe Abbrescia


Born in New York in 1936, Joe Abbrescia exhibited in early childhood a strong capacity to draw and paint.  His father always carried in his wallet a small drawing of a bird that Joe had done at the age of three.  As a teenager he began attending art classes at the Chicago Art Institute and completed his formal training at Chicago’s American Academy of Art under the direction of William Mosby. During his tour in the U. S. Army, he served as an illustrator in Anchorage Alaska, and it was there that he began teaching art, as well. Following that he worked as a commercial artist in a major art studio in Chicago.

In 1965, he founded the Village Art School in Skokie, Illinois. His unique teaching methods and ability to communicate resulted in escalating enrollments. He remained the Director of the School until 1976, during which time he continued to teach and paint and sell his work in the Chicago area and to establish a market in the West.

He participated in art shows and was represented by the Ace Powell Art Gallery in Kalispell, MT.  Following many painting trips to Montana, and captivated by the beauty of Glacier National Park, in 1976 he moved with his wife and two sons to Kalispell Montana to be a full-time painter.  A harsh winter sent him to Scottsdale, Arizona for a time, but Montana called him back.

He frequently painted on location in Glacier and was an artist in residence there the summer of 1998.  Glacier Park Inc. commissioned two paintings from Abbrescia, one in 1997 and one in 1999.  The paintings now hang in the lobbies of the lodges at Many Glacier and Lake McDonald.

Joe Abbrescia died February 17, 2005 at his home in Kalispell, Montana.

Biography from the Archives of askART