Joseph Ablow, 84, of Brookline, died at home on November 14, surrounded by his family. Ablow was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1928 and he lived, worked, and taught in the Boston area for most of his life. Educated at Harvard University, Bennington College, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Ablow also studied painting with Oskar Kokoschka and Ben Shahn.
Represented by the Pucker Gallery in Boston, Ablow's works have been exhibited nationally and internationally: from the Art Institute of Chicago to Kunstsalon Wolfsberg in Zurich, Switzerland. His paintings can be found in numerous private and public collections, including Brandeis University, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, the Boston Public Library, and the DeCordova Museum.
A passionate and deeply knowledgeable lover of classical music, Ablow recently described the concerns animating his monumental still-lifes as analogous to those of music. What was especially important to him about "abstract music," he said, is that it "can evoke and convey all sorts and levels of experience, but only by implication." His commitment to what he called the "expressive power of form," was evident in his attention to "the look of things-a shadow cast on a table top or the highlight on a bowl."
Ablow held academic positions at Amherst College, Wellesley College, Bard College, and Middlebury College, and was Professor of Art at Boston University for thirty-five years. He was a devoted and beloved teacher. He was also the author of countless essays on art.
Ablow is survived by his wife of 56 years, Roselyn Ablow; his daughter, Rachel Ablow and her partner, Ruth Mack; his grandson, Simon Ablow-Mack; his brother, Ronald Ablow and wife Judith; his sister, Rosalie Rudnick and husband Mitchell.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations in Ablow's memory may be made to Boston University College of Fine Arts, care of the Office of Development, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA, 02215. Donations will support need-based scholarships for gifted students at the School of Fine Arts.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, December 21, at 3 p.m. in the Boston University Art Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.
Arrangements by the Levine Chapels, Brookline, MA. 617-277-8300 www.levinechapel.com