A native of Yonkers, New York, Joseph Leonard Abbrecia was a child who showed early promise for the visual arts and who went on to become a important landscapist.
He was a student at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He received additional training in the Army where he worked as an illustrator. Like many working artists, he made a living doing commercial art until, in 1965, he opened a school in Skokie, Illinois.
His art school, owned and operated by Joseph and his brothers Dominick and John, was dubbed the Village Art School. In addition to teaching at the school, Joseph Leonard Abbrescia was a popular lecturer. He gave workshops and demonstrations for a number of different organizations concerned with the arts.
He was named the Artist in Residence of Glacier National Park in 1998.Glacier National park was his passion. His most well-known and highly-praised paintings were created at the park. They have a soft palette, a sweeping sense of scale and a lighting technique that captures the space between the vistas. He was a Plein-Aire painter, preferring to represent on canvas these landscapes in the places where he saw and basked in them himself.