He was apprenticed in a woodcarving studio under Franz Prinoth, an academic sculptor educated in the Munich Academy, and in his twenties Josef started his own studio.
Examples of his early activity as a sculptor are the statues of the Maria Addolorata and of the Virgin Mary in the Parish Church of Urtijëi. She also took care of his farm and was active as an antiquarian. Thirty years old, with the support of Felizitas, he visited the Academy of Munich (1876–1880) to learn the art of painting after he was impressed in Vienna by the genre painting of Franz von Defregger, The Dance in the Mountains.
From 1880 to 1884 he was a pupil of Defregger.
Becoming close friends, they took many painting trips through the villages of the Trentino. In Munich Josef Moroder was influenced by the genre and historical painting of Defregger and the realistic-idealistic painting movement of Wilhelm Leibl.
From his numerous sketch books we can see how precisely he observed nature, landscape and specially the Tyrolean and alpine lifestyle in Val Gardena. Many of his paintings, watercolours and sketches of and farmhouses, huts, people and portraits are testimony of a lost alpine world which once was the 19th-century Tyrol.
The populist-romantic novelist Maria Veronika Rubatscher was well acquainted with the artist and wrote his biography in 1930, which became a popular novel.
One of his pupils was Ludwig Moroder-Lenert. Most of Josef"s children, Johann Baptist, Alfons, Josef, Otto, Hermann, became valid sculptors. A major exhibition was held in Innsbruck in 1973.
Josef Moroder"s watercolours were shown in Bolzano Italy in 1985.
In 2009 two exhibitions in Urtijëi and Bolzano with respectively 120 and 100 works. The Museum of Val Gardena in Urtijëi exhibits more than 30 of his oil paintings and watercolours.
South. Verlagsanstalt Tyrolia Innsbruck und Verlagsanstalt Athesia Bozen 2007.