Published: May 30, 2017
QUAKERTOWN, N.J. – Well-known watercolor artist Dan Campanelli, born in 1949, passed away under hospice care at his home on May 24 after an almost two-year battle with first, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and second, acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Dan was born in the Bronx to Florence Tomasulo and Dominick Campanelli and moved with his parents to Ramsey, N.J., at the age of 4. Dan attended art school in New York, but chose not to give credit to the institution since it preferred to promote Modern art rather than the Realism for which he became recognized. Working first in pencil, then stone lithography and finally watercolor, his work was shown in numerous galleries.
Dan relocated to Warren County in 1976 with his first wife, oil painter Pauline Eblé Campanelli (1943-2001), where he restored a Colonial-era stone farmhouse. This home was featured numerous times in decorating and lifestyle magazines. Dan’s watercolor landscapes of historic sites were reproduced as fine art prints, and one, “The Daily Beggars,” was an international best seller for many years. He also co-wrote and illustrated Pagan spirituality books with his wife for Llewellyn Publications.
In 2002, he married Bronx-born Marty Anne Katz, a graphic designer and former art director of country-style decorating magazines based in New York. She had been residing in Lancaster, Penn., when they first became friends in 1992. Dan and Marty relocated to another historic stone home in 2005, this time in Hunterdon County, N.J. Dan continued with his landscape paintings, often producing limited-edition prints as fundraisers for historic sites. The couple also co-wrote books on local history for their community. He frequently gave both open- and limited-edition prints to nonprofits, enabling them to use his artwork to raise much-needed funds.
The Campanellis loved antiquing and frequently attended shows in New England, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Their prime passion was schoolgirl needlework and Dan delighted in shocking people with his knowledge of that typically female subject. In 2013 they researched and produced A Sampling of Hunterdon County Needlework: the motifs, the makers & their stories as a fundraiser for the Hunterdon Historical Society, and the book was featured in The New York Times as well as on Martha Stewart’s website. From that recognition, they were asked to co-curate “Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860” at Morven Museum & Garden in Princeton, N.J., in 2014-15. Dan and Marty enjoyed giving presentations on this fascinating topic, along with researching the needleworkers and their families. Articles by the Campanellis have appeared in many national publications.
In addition to collecting antiques, Dan loved to do woodworking, tend the couple’s vegetable garden with Marty, prune his fruit trees and take care of the small flock of Shetland sheep on their farm: Jezebel, Florabell, Tinker Bell, Liberty Belle and Adorabel will sorely miss his attention.
Unable to paint on location due to his illness, Dan undertook one last project in 2016. He made watercolor depictions of early tavern signs for A Fanciful Journey Back in Time to the Old Tavern Signs of Hunterdon County, New Jersey: A 2017-2018 Calendar. He and Marty researched and designed the calendar for the Hunterdon 300th as a fundraiser. In 2017, the couple were recipients of the Hiram Deats Award, acknowledging their community service in Franklin Township and Hunterdon County.
Dan wished to thank the nurses on 3 West at the Hunterdon Medical Center, the staff at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center and Hunterdon Hospice for taking care of him during this long and arduous journey. Burial was private and there will be a memorial service on Sunday, June 25, at 1 pm at the Quakertown Friends Meeting, 290 White Bridge Road. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dan’s name to the Hunterdon County Historical Society (www.hunterdonhistory.org) or Hunterdon Hospice (www.hunterdonhealthcare.org).
–Submitted by the family
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