Seeking Paris in Philadelphia

Post by Martin Bromirski


Hi, Enjoying your blog. Tyler Green at modern art notes is always linking to it.

I heard from Miriam Seidel that there will be a silent auction or something at Moore College of the work of Mildred Elfman Greenberg. I can’t be there but would love to read about it or anything about Mildred on your blog.

Another Philadelphia artist who has disappeared through the cracks is Paris (aka Holy Joseph). Did you ever see him? He was an OLD homeless man who used to wander around the University of the Arts area and eventually set up semi-permanent residence on Walnut St. where the nice Cuban (Alma de Cuba?) restaurant is now.

He was a black guy, wore turbans and other fantastical homemade headgear- sometimes with crosses, and made some really amazing drawings with whatever he could find, mostly crayon on cardboard.

I know I am not the only one who bought his drawings. (John Ollman and the man that has the restaurant where Magnolia Cafe was also supported him).

[Ed. note–Paris/Holy Joseph was included in the show “Found Ground” at Moore’s Levy Gallery in Jan. 1991. See listing for more.]

A few years ago I was wondering about him and put an ad in the City Paper from which I received only one response. I would love to hear anything about him, know who else might have collected his work, or to have a photograph of him. Through the City Paper contact I was able to learn that he frequented a couple shelters and going there I asked about him and he was fondly remembered.

They even gave me a photo of him. But he stopped coming one day and they seemed to feel he was probably dead. They were never able to confirm a name or hometown for him. Do you know anything or is this something you could put on your blog? Thanks. — Painter Martin Bromirski writes from Richmond, Virginia. Contact him at