Remembrance: Vince DiMattio

Professor Emeritus of Art and Design, 1941–2024.

If you were lucky enough to know Vincent DiMattio, you would be familiar with his strong handshake, biting sense of humor, and fierce loyalty.

You would also know that his family, students, friends, and artwork were his life. His house and his studio were equal parts dwelling, workshop, and exhibition space. Walk into his office or studio and you would have seen piles of books, papers, and folders supplementing the shelves and shelves brimming with art catalogs, travel guides, clippings and correspondences, flea market finds, and art supplies. His teaching, artistic output, and personal relationships were seamlessly linked. He was always working, always teaching, always collecting, and always a friend.

Vincent’s artwork covered many subjects, styles, and media, flowing between formal studies of shape and line to political collages to flat color paintings of sexual imagery to three-dimensional assemblages.

He drew from a multitude of influences such as Matisse, Modigliani, Miró, Klee, Puryear, Gorky, Picasso, O’Keeffe, Schwitters, and Tooker. In fall 2018, his 50-year retrospective easily filled all three galleries on Monmouth’s campus. The exhibition showcased his prolific output that included painting, drawing, sculpture, assemblage, printmaking, and collage. At times his artworks reflected a deeply personal and planned narrative. At other times, they were reactive and responsive to both the medium and his spontaneous imagination.

He also loved being around people, especially his family, and he loved telling stories—about his youth, about the TV shows he was watching, about the books he was reading. He loved to travel and took over 20 trips to Europe with his students. During a trip to London, he cautioned his students to be careful when crossing the street. “They drive on the opposite side,” he explained, “so don’t be a knucklehead and try to cross without looking both ways.” Seconds later, he drifted into the street and was hit by the rearview mirror of a passing vehicle. Immediately, a coy smile appeared on his face as he turned back to the group and said, “Like that. How lucky you all are to have me to demonstrate my lessons to you.”

Those of us who spent time with Vincent in his home, the studio, the classroom, or on a London street corner were indeed lucky. We miss Vincent immensely, but we are all a part of his oeuvre.

Like one of his assemblages, his memory and legacy are held together in a tightly composed work of art, wherein we—his family and friends—are the colors, shapes, and materials that he has brought together.

» Olivia DiMattio, Daughter; Corey Dzenko, Associate Professor of Art and Design; Scott Knauer, Director of Galleries and Collections; and Mike Richison, Associate Professor of Art and Design.