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RIP – Joseph Nicola DeLauro – 1916 – 2006

Joe Delauro a taleneted sculptor and one of the few remaining links back to the old generation of sculptors passed away last Tuesday, July 11th at his Novi home at the age of 90.

Here’s a brief obituary from this past Saturday’s Windsor Star:

Ex-prof pioneered fine arts program
Artist’s sculptures part of cityscape

Roberta Pennington, Windsor Star
Published: Saturday, July 15, 2006

A prolific artist who founded the province’s first fine arts degree program at the University of Windsor and whose sculptures adorn several city landmarks has died.

Joseph Nicola DeLauro died Tuesday at the age of 90 in his Novi, Mich., home.

Two years earlier, DeLauro had been awarded academia’s highest honour. In 2004, the university named him a founding professor emeritus for having started the School of Visual Arts at U of W in 1960.

“I think he really gave the school a good name and influenced a lot of people,” said Ross Paul, president of the U of W. “He was very well known as a sculptor and a lot of artists in town had been his students.”

For 21 years, the earthy American with proud Italian roots had been a faculty member at the university. The first 13 of those years, DeLauro served as the director of the visual arts program, which was the first fine arts degree program in the province.

Through his leadership, he set the foundation for a hands-on, student-centred teaching philosophy at the art school, said Susan Gold/Smith, who was hired by DeLauro in 1970 and still teaches there.

“It’s a very busy, working place and we learn by doing in that school ,” said Gold/Smith, who nominated DeLauro for the emeritus status. “That’s how he started that school and that’s the way it is today. We still have that basis and work ethic.”

Tony Mosna, a 1973 graduate of the program who studied under DeLauro, described him as a memorable teacher and good friend.

“Everyone who comes after him owes him something, at least the recognition,” said Mosna, who now works at the Art Gallery of Windsor. “He loved teaching, he loved working with his hands, he loved making things.”

DeLauro completed numerous commissioned works in the Windsor and Detroit area, including sculptures for Hiram Walker & Sons, the Windsor Jewish Community Centre and the Giovanni Caboto Club.

The unveiling of the nine-foot tall bronze Giovanni Caboto sculpture in 1997 was a big to-do involving local dignitaries, said Ron Moro, the club’s general manager.

“He felt really proud about that,” Moro said. “He used to come in here all the time, come in for espresso.”

DeLauro is survived by widow Dorothy Ann, sons Robert and Greg, and daughter Kathleen.

Visitation will be held today and Sunday at the Vermeulen Funeral Home in Plymouth, Mich. A funeral mass will be held Monday at Our Lady of Good Country in Plymouth.

Some of DeLauro’s sculptures can be viewed online at www.jndelauro.com.

A similar obituary from the Detroit Free Press can be found here.

Above is DeLauro’s St. Gabriel, 8 ft. Fiberglass, 1960, St. Gabriel’s R.C. Church, Windsor, ON.

The Myth of Creation, 11 ft. Bronze, 1967, located to the rear of Hiram Walker & Sons distillery, Windsor, ON.

The plaque attached to the fountain.

The Fountain at night.

An old postcard of the gardens and the fountain.

The Artist (second from left), with Corrado Parducci at Hiram Walker’s. Photo courtesy of E.Kvaran, from the estate of C. Parducci.

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