WARREN, NJ – Warren Township Mayor Gary DiNardo accepted a donation of three original paintings by the artist Ralph Garafola, a longtime Warren resident, acclaimed artist, and late husband of Township Committeeperson, Carolann Garafola on Friday. The paintings depict Duderstadt barn in Warren, High Point State Park in Sussex, and Best Lake in Watchung and adds to the body of his work already in Warren.
“Ralph Garafola was a truly talented artist and these paintings bring to life these important landmarks in Warren Township, the surrounding communities, and the State of New Jersey,” DiNardo said. “We are proud to display them throughout the Warren Town Hall.”
The paintings are on display on the second floor of the Town Hall building. Ralph Garafola’s portrait of Revolutionary Warpatriot, General Joseph Warren, who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hilland of the 9/11 Memorial hang in the Susie B. Boyce Courtroom. Warren Township is named for General Warren, and Garafola designed Warren Township’s 9/11 Memorial.
Carolann Garafola, who is retiring from the Township Committee effective June 1, said her husband enjoyed painting outdoors. He loved Warren Township and the opportunity to paint throughout town. He was particularly thrilled that the Township used his design for the 911 Memorial which is located on the municipal grounds and can be seen from Mountain Boulevard.
The three pieces donated on Friday are:
- Duderstadt Barn – This was painted En Pleine Aire over 10 years ago, oil on canvas board. Ralph painted it because he liked the architectural design of the building. He set his easel up across the street from the barn, before it was boarded up. En Pleine Aire painting takes advantage of the natural light and changing shadows of a setting and what the artist transfers onto the canvas. The drawing is made on site as well as completing the painting as best as time and lighting will allow. Ralph would then take the painting back to the studio to “tickle’ it, meaning to touch it up. This is the original and only copy of this piece of artwork as there are not any giclee copies of this painting.
- High Point State Park – this is also the original and only copy of this piece of art. It was painted with the intention of it going into the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion, Drumthwacket, under the McGreevy administration, but the transaction didn’t take place and Mr. Garafola kept the painting. The house in the valley was from the American Revolution and it backs onto High Point State Park. It was owned at the time by Red Laffey, a good friend of the Garafolas.
- Best Lake – This piece of art was also painted En Pleine Aire, again oil on canvas board, and was done on site. Warren Township has received the original, but a giclee copy of this piece hangs in the Watchung Courtroom.
The 9/11 Heroes Memorial, located on the grounds of the Municipal Complex, was designed to commemorate the memory of the Emergency First Responders who perished at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Warren was among many to participate in the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York program, which allowed Municipal entities to request a piece of the World Trade Center.
Receipt of the steel was delayed for approximately two years because it was part of crime scene. The construction of the 9/11 Heroes Memorial was funded and completed with donations from residents and businesses.
As a donation to the Township, Ralph Garafola, designed the monument, using the thirty foot long I-beam supported between two solid granite pillars.
A granite boulder flanked by an additional piece of steel rests at the foot of the pillars memorializing the disaster with the date September 11, 2001; the number of heroes who perished; New York Fire Department-343, New York Police Department-23, Port Authority Police Department-37, and Emergency Medical Services-8, and the words, “We Will Never Forget”.
Ralph Garafola, 89, died in April. He will live on through his art, and Warren will never forget him.