Civitello graduated in 1961 from William Pater-son College and received an M.A. degree from New York University. He then spent two years in Italy as a Prix de Rome winner. On his return, Civitello—struck by the industrial quality of New York—was determined to transform the city's industrial machinery and architectural scenes into symbols of people and their environment. Blending the clarity of Charles Sheeler's Precisionism with spatial and light dislocations more typical of de Chirico, Civitello uses muted, pastel colors to soften the hard-edged geometry inherent in his subjects. The absence of people lends a surreal note to his work that is consistent with Civitello's exploration of the world of subjective reality.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)