Alexander Giampietro, 97

Alexander Giampietro dies; Catholic University professor and sculptor

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Alexander Giampietro, 97, a sculptor and ceramic artist who was a longtime professor at Catholic University, died Jan. 6 of kidney failure at a nursing home in New Haven, Conn. He moved to New Haven from the District in 2007.

Mr. Giampietro came to Washington in 1948 and taught for two years at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, where one of his colleagues was the celebrated artist Kenneth Noland, a founder of the Washington Color School of painting. One of his students was Anne Truitt, who became a well-regarded Washington artist.

In 1950, Mr. Giampietro joined the faculty at Catholic University, where he taught sculpture and ceramics until his retirement in 1992. Throughout his teaching career, he was an active artist, creating many sculptures and ceramic works that were collected by museums and art aficionados. He maintained a studio at the university until 2007.

His artwork is included in the collections of the Vatican, New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution and Catholic University.

Mr. Giampietro was born in Marsicovetere, Italy, and came to the United States when he was 15, settling in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a graduate of Brooklyn College and studied art in the 1930s in New York and at the New Bauhaus in Chicago with Hungarian artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

Mr. Giampietro received a master of fine arts degree in 1946 from Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., and taught at Brooklyn College and a private school in Massachusetts before settling in the Washington area.

He spent the 1971-72 school year in Italy on a Fulbright fellowship, studying folk ceramic traditions, and he also served on committees evaluating Fulbright candidates. He held leadership positions with the Society of Washington Artists and the Catholic University chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Daphne Phillips Giampietro of New Haven; 11 children, Matilda Giampietro of Washington, Conn., Sister Perpetua Giampietro, a Catholic nun in Bethlehem, Conn., Isabelle G. Zifcak of Portland, Ore., Joseph Giampietro of Seattle, Mary G. DuLude of Litchfield, Conn., Frances Giampietro of Springfield, Mass., Martha G. Kind of Ames, Iowa, Charles Giampietro of Meriden, Conn., the Rev. Anthony Giampietro, a Catholic priest in Houston, Teresa G. Wells of Cheshire, Conn., and Gordon Giampietro of Elm Grove, Wis.; two sisters; 29 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

-- Matt Schudel

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