Mangravite, Peppino

(1896-1978)

In 1914, at the age of eighteen, Peppino Gino Mangravite settled in New York City with his father. The young man had already completed six years of study at the Scuole Techiniche Belle Arti in his native Italy, where coursework included the study of anatomy and Renaissance fresco techniques. Upon arrival in New York, he enrolled at Cooper Union, and by 1917 was studying under Robert Henri at the Art Students League.

Mangravite began his teaching career - one that lasted half a century - as assistant to Hans Peter Hansen at the Hansen School of Fine Arts in New York during the academic year 1918/19. He was an involved and committed teacher who worked equally well with young children and college students. For several summers in the 1920s, he ran summer art camps in the Adirondacks for children and adults. From 1926-1928 Mangravite lived in Washington D.C., where he taught at the Potomac School. The majority of his life was spent in New York where he served on the faculties of Sarah Lawrence College, Cooper Union, the Art Students League, and, most notably, Columbia University. In addition, he spent 1937-38 as head of the art department of Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and from 1940-1942 taught at the Art Institute of Chicago. Mangravite was active in professional arts and education organizations. He wrote a number of articles about art education and served as chairman of the College Art Association's Committee for the Study of the Practice of Art Courses, 1943-1944.

In addition to teaching studio courses, Mangravite was a working artist. Represented by Dudensing Gallery, and later Rehn Galleries, he exhibited widely throughout the United States, and, occasionally, abroad. He won a number of awards, including a gold medal for mural painting at the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exhibition, 1926; the American Gold Medal Purchase Prize, Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco, 1939; Alice McFadden Eyre Medal for best print, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1946; and a silver medal for mosaic design, Architectural League of New York, 1955. Mangravite was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1932 and 1935, and during that same period was commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department to paint murals for post offices in Hempstead, N.Y. and Atlantic City, N.J. Other commissions of note include a mural for the Governor's Mansion in the Virgin Islands, and a mosaic mural for the main altar of the Workers' Chapel, St. Anthony's Shrine, Boston, Mass.

Sponsored by Columbia University and with the assistance of the United States Information Agency, Mangravite met with art department heads of several European universities in 1955 to discuss Columbia University's plans for a new arts center. He also interviewed eight artists - Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Giorgio De Chirico, Marino Marini, Henry Moore, Giorgio Morandi, Georges Rouault, and Graham Southerland -recording their ideas about art, life, and education.

Peppino Mangravite died in 1978.