Michael Stoffa Retrospective Exhibit
Michael Stoffa (1923-2001) A straw hat and denim jacket were trademarks of accomplished artist Michael Stoffa. A prolific “plein air” painter, he captured the light and moods of Cape Ann and other places where he traveled, in New England, the Southwest, California, Mexico, and Slovakia. His dedication and skill gained him the title, “The King of the Street Painters” when he lived and painted in Mexico.
Born in Hlinne, Czechoslovakia, Stoffa came to this country at the age of seven. Motivated by a high school scholarship, he attended Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, the Pennsylvania Academy and the Art Students League. He was naturally drawn to teaching and became a popular teacher. He held classes and demonstrations in New Jersey for many years, both privately and at Union College. Michael was inspired by life experiences, spiritual life, and nature, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing his knowledge and humorous stories throughout his over fifty-year career. Stoffa was adept at landscape painting, marines, portraiture, figure, and still life. He was mindful of the effects of light, as well as values, perspective, and drawing; it is evident in his landscape pieces—strong, traditional, colorful, textured, atmospheric. Inviting and varied landscapes include sunlit doorways and gates, rolling countryside, stucco missions, busy harbors, boats, majestic houses, gardens, stately trees, and dappled light on a shady street.
Stoffa opened the Michael Stoffa Gallery in 1964 and became a well-established member of the art and business community in Rockport. In 1980 he married artist Dorothy Ramsey and they became a familiar sight painting on the streets and along the shores of Cape Ann and operating the gallery until his passing in 2001. The gallery remained open until 2011.
After serving as vice-president of the Rockport Art Association, Stoffa served as a two-term president of the Rockport Art Association during the 1980’s, when the Association formed a new affiliation, opening its galleries to the Rockport Chamber Music Festival concerts. He was selected One of the Top Ten Volunteers of the North Shore in 1990 and Rockport’s 1991 Small Business Person of the Year. Stoffa and Ramsey appeared on the television news magazine, Chronicle, and on the Great Country Inns segment on The Learning Channel.
In 1997 he fulfilled a life-long dream, a trip to Slovakia in preparation for the writing of his autobiography. The unique book, Michael Stoffa: Artist and Storyteller, was published in 1999, with forty color plates of his paintings. It was introduced at his art exhibition at the University Club in Washington, D.C., where a reception was followed by a Slovakia ambassador’s dinner in his honor, when he presented the Embassy with an autographed book and his painting of an ancient hilltop Slovak castle, Krasna Horka.
His memberships included: Rockport Art Association, North Shore Arts Association, (where he received a Distinguished Service Award), Artists Fellowship, Burr Artists, Cape Cod Art Association, International Society of Marine Painters, and Salmagundi Club. He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who, International Biography.. He received dozens of awards for his work, which is represented in public and private collections here and abroad, and at the Canajoharie, New York, Art Museum. His work is currently represented by Folly Cove Fine Art, Rockport.