Joel Babb graduated in Art History from Princeton in 1969, studied with George Segal and George Ortman and spent a year in Munich and Rome before going to Boston to get an MFA from the Museum School and Tufts. There his style changed from abstraction to a contemporary realism. His cityscapes are the works for which he is best known in Boston. Some are street level panoramas like the large View of Harvard Square in the Charles Hotel, Cambridge. Others are panoramas from a high prospect like the View from the Roof of 500 Boylston for Mass Financial, or the View from the Financial District at Standish, Ayer and Wood, or the View of Cincinnati done for Gradison Investments. All of the panoramas play with problems of flattening a wide angled space into a picture plane.
In 1984 he began a series of aerial views based on photos he took from a helicopter over Boston. These are often experimental perspectives like the one point perspective straight down of Copley Plunge or the View of Back Bay at Harvard Business School and the two paintings for Fidelity.
In the mid 1970’s he began building a studio and residence in Sumner, Maine which soon became a full time residence. Though he continued to paint cityscapes in the late 1980’s he began a series of large landscapes of the woods near his studio. One is The Hounds of Spring which hangs in Baker Library at Harvard Business School.
In 1996 he finished the painting recreating the first successful organ transplant in man which hangs in the Countway Library at Harvard Medical School, working with the doctors who achieved this important medical innovation.
He has had three shows at Vose Galleries and been in shows at Naga in Boston, Sherry French, Gerold Wunderlich, The National Academy in New York City, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Portland Museum of Art, the Ogunquit Museum and Frost Gully Gallery in Maine, the Arnot Art Museum, The Naples Museum of Art, Trudy Labell Fine Arts in Florida, and many other galleries and museums.