Joseph McGurl has been referred to as one of the acknowledged leaders in the current American landscape school. M. Stephen Dougherty, Editor, American Artist considers him “one of the most gifted of contemporary artists.” Joseph McGurl was born in Massachusetts in 1958. He grew up working with his father, James McGurl, who was a muralist and his most influential teacher. Through him, he was exposed to a wide variety of materials and learned an appreciation of the craft of painting. Another early influence was Ralph Rosenthal, a teacher at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He subsequently graduated from Massachusetts College of Art with a dual major in painting and education. He also studied in England and Italy. After college, he worked for a period of time as a yacht captain, sailing throughout the east coast from Maine to the Caribbean. After a few years he realized that in order to improve, he must devote himself solely to painting. In search of a more solid training in drawing, he sought out Robert Cormier, a devotee of the French Academy methods and he studied figure drawing under him.