Date of Death : Apr 8, 2008
John DeStefano was an American sculptor, painter and businessman.
Born in Avellino, Italy, he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts with his family at the age of six. DeStefano studied at the North Bennett Street Industrial School and earned a scholarship to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts but was forced to drop out after two years due to a lack of funds.
In 1933, while still a student, DeStefano created a cast bronze bas-relief profile portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that is located in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and is highlighted by tour guides. Former Boston mayors James Michael Curley and John F. Fitzgerald and two local businessmen provided the funds for the bronze and for DeStefano to travel to Washington D.C. to personally present the work to Roosevelt. Many of DeStefano's future subjects were also of a civic nature.
During the Great Depression, DeStefano worked as an art teacher and on projects for the federal Works Projects Administration jobs program. Although his lifelong ambition was to be a professional artist, DeStefano felt that he could not support his family with his artwork.