In Memoriam: Flora B. Giffuni (1919-2009)

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Sadly, I learned on Friday that Flora B. Giffuni, pastel artist, teacher and founder of The Pastel Society of America (PSA), had passed away at the age of 89. The PSA, which held its annual awards ceremony for the 37th Annual “Pastels Only” exhibition yesterday at the National Arts Club in New York City, took the opportunity to pay tribute to Flora. Here are some of the remarks made by PSA President, Rae Smith:

“We certainly would not be gathered together today if it had not been for Flora’s spirit and fortitude in forging ahead to create the Pastel Society of America. Her entire life was dedicated to promoting the pastel medium and pastel artists. Flora’s generosity and the generosity of the Giffuni family over the years funded awards and scholarships for many pastelists and students of this medium.

“She was a little lady but a giant in the world of art. How will we do without her? Flora will never really be gone. Her presence will remain with us in our studios, at our board meetings and in our hearts forever.”

The obituary, as it appeared in The New York Times reads: Giffuni — Flora Baldini. On September 10, 2009. Founder of the Pastel
Society of America. Wife of the late Joseph V. Giffuni. Survived by her
children JoAnn (Kenneth Wellner), Vincent J. (Barbara) and Cathe
Giffuni. Her lifelong passion for painting was an inspiration to many.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 2-6 and
7-9pm at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Avenue at 81st St.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Pastel Society of
America, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003.

Here at the magazine, we’ll be working on a special tribute for an upcoming issue of The Pastel Journal. If you knew Flora personally and would like to share a remembrance, please send us an email at

[pictured above] Flora B. Giffuni upon receiving the Medal of Honor from the Salmagundi Club last spring.

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