Museum of Art offers summer retrospective by noted painter Nicoletti


A summer exhibition examining the career of Joseph Nicoletti, one of Maine’s foremost realist painters, opens with a lecture by the artist and reception at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 12, at the Bates College Museum of Art.

Joseph Nicoletti: A Retrospective runs through Sept. 25. Located in the Olin Arts Center at Bates, 75 Russell St., the museum is open to the public at no cost. The hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, please contact 207-786-6158 or this

“Nicoletti’s images are beautiful, subtle and complex, rich with references to art history,” says museum education curator Anthony Shostak, who assembled the exhibition. “He is deeply concerned with beauty, and takes pains to make each image special.”

The 60 paintings and drawings in the exhibition come from the museum’s collection, other museums and private collections, and from Nicoletti himself. An accompanying catalog features an essay by eminent art historian Jeffrey Muller, professor of history of art and architecture at Brown University.

A lecturer in the art and visual culture department, Nicoletti has taught at Bates since 1981. The museum has shown his work previously, but this exhibition is Bates’ first retrospective dedicated to his work.

“Nicoletti is a painter’s painter,” Shostak continues. “His technical mastery is evident throughout the exhibition — with his ability to paint smoothly and seamlessly or to dig into paint films, and to harmonize subtle color shifts or create psychologically jarring compositions.

“He is equally adept at large and intimately tiny compositions, at times creating vastly deep spaces in minuscule pictures.”

Born in 1948 in Toritto, Italy, Nicoletti earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Yale University in 1972 and a bachelor’s degree from Queens College in New York.


He has exhibited internationally, and his work is in major collections including that of the Portland Museum of Art, where he participated in this year’s Objects of Wonder exhibit. He has had solo exhibitions at Chase Gallery in Boston, at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and at the Greenhut, Barridoff and Gleason galleries in Portland.

In Maine, his numerous commissions include Percent for Art projects at the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory and at Deering High School in Portland, and the official portrait of Gov. Joseph Brennan.

Nicoletti taught at Bowdoin for eight years before coming to Bates. From 2004 to 2008, he directed the summer program of the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy. In 2008, he took part in the Maryland Institute College of Art’s prestigious Klots Artist Residency program in Rocheforte-en-Terre, France.

In 1985, he received the Hassam and Speicher Purchase Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York.

View Comments