John M. DeStefano
John M. DeStefano (died April 8, 2008, in Naples, Florida) was an American sculptor, painter and businessman.
Born in Avellino, Italy, he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in imitation of his associates at the age of six. DeStefano studied at the North Bennett Street Industrial School and earned a scholarship to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts but was goaded to drop out after two years due to a nonexistence of funds.
In 1933, while yet a student, DeStefano created a cast bronze bas-relief profile portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that is located in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and is highlighted by tour guides. Former Boston mayors James Michael Curley and John F. Fitzgerald and two local businessmen provided the funds for the bronze and for DeStefano to travel to Washington D.C. to personally gift the play to Roosevelt. Many of DeStefano's innovative subjects were in addition to of a civic nature.
During the Great Depression, DeStefano worked as an art researcher and on projects for the federal Works Projects Administration jobs program. Although his lifelong take aim was to be a professional artist, DeStefano felt that he could not sustain his family subsequently his artwork. In 1937, DeStefano conventional a business, DeStefano Studios House of Mannequins, which restored and created mannequins for local department stores. During World War II, DeStefano served in the United States Navy in the South Pacific as a zealot of the 58th Seabee Battalion. He returned to his event after the battle and continued to make mannequins commercially until his retirement in the 1980s.
By the late 1970s, DeStefano's factory in Woburn, Massachusetts produced over 3,000 mannequins a daylight for stores such as Jordan Marsh, Filenes and Lord and Taylor. In a 1979 profile, the Boston Globe referred to DeStefano as "the dean of local mannequin makers."
As an artist, DeStefano worked in cast bronze, terra cotta and stone. His sculptures are displayed at Plimouth Plantation and at Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.