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Josephine Joy

Also Known as: Sally Hiett, Josephine Hiett Joy, Josephine H. Joy, Josephine Bradley

North River Mills, West Virginia 1869

Peoria, Illinois 1948

Active in:

  • California

Luce Artist Quote

"I love to paint in the open sitting in some beautiful garden, hillside or remote place." Josephine Joy, quoted in Harvey Jones et al., Cat and a Ball on a Waterfall: 200 Years of California Folk Painting and Sculpture, Oakland Museum of Art, 1986


Josephine Hiett Joy was born near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in 1869 and soon thereafter her family moved to Peoria, Illinois. After an early marriage that ended in divorce, she went to Chicago and subsequently married Frank Joy. She became interested in painting after they moved to San Diego. A prolific worker, she became a WPA artist in the late 1930s, which led to her first solo exhibition at the St. Etienne Gallery in New York City in 1943. Joy died in Peoria in 1948.

National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Josephine Joy was born Sally Hiett, but changed her name when she was sixteen years old. As a young woman, she lived in Chicago and Denver before settling in San Diego, California, with her husband. It was there that she began to paint, creating images of flowers and landscapes, and she particularly enjoyed sketching animals at the San Diego Zoo. During the Great Depression, Joy worked with the California Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which helped bring national attention to her work. In the spring of 1943, she held her first one-woman show at the Galerie St. Etienne in New York, which received considerable praise from critics.