Rudolph ("Rudy") N. Colao was born in 1927 in Peekskill, New York, the eldest of the four children of Rudolph Colao and Philomena (“Minnie”) DeMaria. He attended the local schools there and was drafted into the US Army at the end of WWII. After that he attended the Art Student’s League in New York City on the GI Bill. There he studied painting under his revered teacher Frank Vincent DuMond and also formed many life-long friendships and met his future wife, Camila McRoberts.
After art school and marriage he settled in Manhattan in a landmark building commissioned by a group of artists including Frank DuMond and Childe Hassam. Rudy worked as an artist, participating in the “Village Show” in downtown Manhattan in the early years, occasionally teaching classes. At that time he painted almost exclusively florals and still-lifes.
In 1971 he left New York with his family and moved to their summer home in Canaan, New Hampshire. He had a space in one of the barns on the property converted into a studio, which he successfully used as the subject of a series of paintings.
He divorced in 1976 and moved back to his old neighborhood in New York where he used the studio in his apartment as the subject of more paintings. At that time he had his paintings featured in galleries around the country, and occasionally held workshops in the South West.
In the early 90's he moved to Rockport, MA, an art colony which he had first visited in the 1950s. He established himself there and became an integral part of the art scene. During his years in Rockport he painted landscapes and seaside scenery in addition to florals and still-lifes.
In 1999 he bought a dilapidated but historic house and had it renovated with the addition of a new studio section where he continued to work until the day he died. He went on several painting trips to Europe with local groups and kept involved with the art scene in Rockport and Gloucester, exhibiting his work in regional galleries and winning prizes in area shows.
Rudy Colao died suddenly on Saturday, October 4th 2014 while on his way home from one of his frequent walks to downtown Rockport.
Colao was a member of the Allied Artists of America, the Artists Equity Association of New York, the Hudson Valley Art Association, the Knickerbocker Artists of New York, and the Rockport Art Association.
He has been featured in magazines such as the American Artist Magazine, Southwest Art magazine, and Focus/Santa Fe. Colao has received many awards for his work, including the Grand Prize in a show of over one thousand artists in the Washington Square Art Exhibit in 1960 and the Excellence in Painting award at the Rockport Art Association in 1995. He is also listed in Who’s Who in American Art.
Rudy Colao liked to work quickly, getting a starting sketch, always working from nature. Texture as well as light is central in his work. Jill Warren of Southwest Art magazine stated, “Like all traditional realists, Colao uses value and simple shapes to show us more clearly than the camera or even the eye what his subjects look like. He achieves astonishing depth so that we can see the front, back and middle of his arrangements and bouquets, even though the canvas has no depth at all.”.