Joseph Viviano, 88, worked at Enoch Pratt library...

June 08, 2000

Joseph Viviano, 88, worked at Enoch Pratt library

Joseph Viviano, a former Enoch Pratt fine arts librarian, died Friday of complications of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 88 and lived in Guilford.

In 34 years at the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Libraryfine arts department, Mr. Viviano was well known to local artists and musicians for his expertise and the time he would spend with them.

"He was extraordinarily helpful to me," said SonaJohnston, a senior curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art. "He was a gracious person who knew the whole library well."

Born in Chicago into a family of artists, Mr. Viviano was a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago and had a master's degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Urbana.

He was a master sergeant in the Army during World War II and landed at Utah Beach during the invasion of Normandy. After the war, he studied French for a year in Biarritz before returning home.

Mr. Viviano held various posts in the public library systems in Chicago, including head of the audio-visual department, and Gary, Ind.

In the 1950s, he moved to New York with his family and became a librarian at Hunter College.

At the same time, he was an associate in the studio of his sister, the Catherine Viviano Gallery on East 57th Street, which showed 20th century European and American art.

In this capacity, he met artists Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Jackson Pollack, Luciano Minguzzi, Afro (Basaldella) and his brother Mirko. The brothers signed their works with their first names. He also met composers Leonard Bernstein and Igor Stravinsky.

Mr. Viviano accompanied his sister Catherine on trips to France and Italy to arrange showings.

He arrived in Baltimore in 1959 to join the Pratt staff and appraised fine art for Baltimore collectors as part of his duties. He also played the violin and performed with small orchestral groups, including the National Youth Orchestra.

A Mass was offered Tuesday at SS. Philip and James Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore, where he was a member.

He is survived by his wife, the former Shirley Gaver, whom he married in 1966; and a sister, Margaret A. Viviano of New York City.

Ralph Darrell Pye, 64, state supervisor, manager

Ralph Darrell Pye, a retired state supervisor and manager, died Friday of cancer at Northwest Hospital Center. He was 64 and lived in Catonsville.

A state employee for 33 years, he retired in 1997 from the Department of Labor and Licensing. He handled unemployment cases.

Born in Catonsville, where he was raised on Winters Lane, he was a graduate of Booker T. Washington Junior High School and Douglass High School, where he graduated in 1954. He also graduated from the Cortez Peters Business School, and he attended what now is Morgan State University.

He was a member of the Pal O' Mine Birthday Club, a social organization of friends who traveled together.

Funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. today at Grace African Methodist Episcopal Church, 67 1/2 Winters Lane, Catonsville, where he was a trustee, member of the men's club, the senior choir and the Donald Allen Mass Choir.

He is survived by a sister, Floragenia S. Pye of Catonsville and a niece.

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