AULISIO, JOSEPH P.
painted about fifty pictures, many of which are portraits, in oil paint on canvas board and Masonite. Aulisio’s wife, Mary Heffernon Aulisio, bought him a paint-by-number set for Christmas in 1952, but he did not begin to paint until arthritis of the knee limited his physical activity. Painting seemed a viable way to spend free time; itgave him pleasure and afforded diversion from work he did not enjoy. Aulisio studied forestry management at Pennsylvania State College, but when he discovered thathe did not enjoy this work, he relied on his training as a tailor’s apprentice, received during his high school years, to open his own shop in 1929.Among Aulisio’s portraits, the one of his employee Frank Peters attests to the continuing power of portraiture as a vernacular art form in the twentieth century.Aulisio captures the nuances of Peters’ personality with sensitivity, grace, and honesty in this waist-length portrait of an elderly, white-haired man with dark-rimmedglasses and a yellow measuring tape dangling gently from his neck. By depicting Peters’ deeply furrowed brow and wrinkled cheeks and hands, suggesting years of hard work, Aulisio seems to pay homage to the worker. Among others, Aulisio also painted a portrait of American folk painter Grandma Moses (1860–1961) seatedat her kitchen table near a ruffled curtained window.In the 1960s, Aulisio won first prize in the Lackawanna County Art Show, which was sponsored by the Everhart Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. A few portraitsof family and friends, landscapes, and hunting and fishing scenes of the Susquehanna River area near Falls, Pennsylvania, hang at Lease Cleaners in Old Forge,Pennsylvania, where Aulisio lived.
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses;
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