• "Hi Millie, so sorry to hear about Joe. Never knew how..."
    - Sally Collamore
  • "I get great pleasure from Joe's paintings that I bought..."
  • "On January 2, 2016 we hosted a Celebration of Dad's life at..."
    - Laura Lasker
  • "Joe Lasker was not only a famous and talented artist, but,..."
    - Mary Pugh
  • "I have have a painted tshirt of Jesus Christ by Mr. Lasker,..."
    - christine bisceglie


Joe Lasker was the last living member of the 48 prominent realists - including Edward Hopper, John Sloan and Raphael Soyer--who wrote for Reality, the mid-Fifties polemical journal that argued against non-representational art. He died December 3 at age 96 of congestive heart failure in Norwalk, CT. "I feel that much of American art of the last 60 years has something missing, namely narrative," Lasker said in an interview. "Without narrative there would be little left of the art of the Old Masters, of 20th-century expressionism and surrealism. There would be no Guernica by Picasso." The New York Times art critic Howard DeVree wrote of Lasker, "There is a psychological warmth and penetration in the work...especially stimulating canvasses...marvelo- usly effective...a tour de force." His oil paintings and other depictions of cityscapes, landscapes, portraits, fantasies, interiors and still lifes hang in the permanent collections of the Whitney, Smithsonian, Hirshhorn, Philadelphia, Tel Aviv and other museums. He illustrated and/or wrote children's books, including American Library Association Notable Books Merry Ever After (1976) and The Boy Who Loved Music (1979) for Viking Press. His prizes include Prix de Rome and Guggenheim Fellowships and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the National Academy of Design, where he was National Academician and secretary. He is represented by Toronto's Liss Gallery (and formerly, for 60 years, New York's Kraushaar Galleries). Joseph Leon Lasker was born in New York in 1919 to Romanian immigrants. In high school, he entered the painting competition of the Treasury Department's Fine Art Section and won commissions for still-extant murals in the Calumet, MI, and Millbury, MA, post offices. At night, he studied at, and graduated from, Cooper Union art school. In WWII he served in the 1147th Engineer Combat Group. He is survived by Mildred (Jaspen), his wife of 67 years; children David, Laura and Evan, grandchildren Ryan Looney and Rebecca Looney-Tulin, and great-grandchildren Ty and Jake Looney. A celebration of his life will be held in Norwalk on Saturday, January 2; email: [email protected].

Published in The New York Times on Dec. 27, 2015
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