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UPDATE [video] Centenarian Celebrates Birthday with Solo Exhibition at Manhattan Gallery

March 19, 2014

Margaret Ricciardi, December 2013 with "Calitri," 40' x 30" oil on canvas.

Margaret Ricciardi, the College of Staten Island’s (CSI) oldest active alumna will celebrate her 100th birthday this month with a retrospective solo exhibition of her painting and sculpture at the National Arts Club in Manhattan. The exhibition, organized and curated by Marianne Weil, Assistant Professor of Sculpture at The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, will run from March 31 to April 12, 2014.

Margaret Ricciardi was born in Brooklyn on March 8, 1914 to Guiseppe Della Badia and Filomena Maffucci, both immigrants from Calitri, Italy. Together with her husband Frank, they established a shoe service business that became a landmark to thousands of daily commuters in the Staten Island Ferry terminal. Margaret showcased her artistic flair when, as business expanded, she sold designer shoes, handbags, and accessories.

At the age of 67, Margaret enrolled in classes at CSI. After Frank passed away in 1983, she attended the College’s Studio Art program full-time. She received her Bachelor’s degree in 1986. Her passion for art and sculpture classes at CSI has continued for the past 32 years, and she has earned the distinction of the College’s longest continuous student.

YouTube Preview Image During this time, with her passion and artistic skill reaching new heights, she studied at the Lorenzo de Medici Art Institute in Florence, Italy. At the age of 84, she returned to Florence for another six-week course.

Honoring her Italian heritage and her husband, Margaret established the Margaret and Frank Riccciardi Scholarship fund at CSI. With her support, students travel to Florence Italy, experiencing international education as she did years before. Margaret also provides an annual award to a graduating Studio Art major.

“Ricciardi combines classical elements with an expressionist’s palette,” notes Professor Weil when discussing the exhibit. “Figurative marble pieces sit alongside canvases bright with vitality and movement. Evocative of Bonnard, these paintings convey Ricciardi’s deep study of art history.”

A reception for the artist at the National Arts Club’s Gregg Gallery, 15 Gramercy Park South, NYC, is planned for Tuesday April 1 from 5:00 to 7;00 p.m. The exhibition includes over a dozen Ricciardi oil paintings and seven stone carvings created over a period of 30 years.

The exhibit is open Monday through Friday, March 31 to April 12, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment by calling the National Arts Club at (212) 475-3424.

For more information about the artist and to view Ricciardi’s work online, visit www.ricciardigallery.com.

By Ken Bach


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