Memorial services will be Tuesday, March 8, for Joseph Tiberino, 77, an artist and the patriarch of a family known as "the West Philly Wyeths."
Mr. Tiberino died Friday, Feb. 19, of heart failure in the Hamilton Street compound that served as his family home, his art studio, and a museum dedicated to the memory of his wife, the artist Ellen Powell Tiberino.
A graduate of the University of the Arts, Mr. Tiberino was a productive and respected painter, printmaker, muralist, and filmmaker for more than 50 years. He drew, painted in oils and watercolors, and created mixed-media murals and mosaics.
The themes were often religious, leavened with whimsy.
In an online autobiography, he described himself as "a protest painter, a member of the avant-garde, and everything in-between."
In 1967, Mr. Tiberino, an Italian American, married Ellen Powell, an African American. They thrived on their different cultures. Their children Raphael, Ellen, and Gabriele all became Philadelphia artists, working out of the family's studio. A fourth, Latif, does sales for the family business.
Ellen Tiberino died of cancer in 1992 at age 54. Seven years later, Mr. Tiberino opened the Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, which features the work of the creative family as well as 30 other local artists.
According to Inquirer columnist Clark DeLeon, the Tiberinos were given the moniker "the West Philly Wyeths" by public-television interviewers and local arts publications.
When asked about the phrase by DeLeon in 2014, Mr. Tiberino shook his head at the odd coupling of families, one from the city, the other from Chester County.
"But I did have two heartfelt conversations with Andrew Wyeth years ago about raising our children," Mr. Tiberino told DeLeon. "He hired tutors to teach them how to paint."
Son Raphael told the Philadelphia Tribune that his father was the consummate artist, whose manner of living was part of his creative process. "He didn't just talk the talk, he walked the walk in terms of everything he did from the time he was young, after college, meeting my mother, going up to New York, winning different mural grants - he always went at it with all cylinders open."
Mr. Tiberino's work has been shown in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington. There was a retrospective at the National Academy of Design in New York City. One of his early paintings, Christ in the Park, depicted Jesus at an antiwar demonstration in 1969. It hung in the Philadelphia Museum of Art next to a painting by Wyeth.
In 2013, "The Unflinching Eye," an exhibition of the works of the Tiberino family and its circle of friends, mentors, and artists, was featured at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
Mr. Tiberino also was the proprietor of the Bacchanal, a cultural gathering place at 13th and South Streets, from 1980 to 1992.
"In this structure on any given night, patrons could experience music, live poetry readings, gallery-style exhibitions, and continuous art festivals, all the while . . . feeding off the creative energy that filled the establishment," he said in the autobiography.
Mr. Tiberino kept working until close to his death. His final project was a portrait of Pope Francis created during the pontiff's visit to Philadelphia last September. The work is displayed just outside the Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum. Besides his four children, he is survived by four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A visitation starting at 9:30 will be followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 8, at St. Agatha-St. James Church, 3728 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Burial is private.