Ralph Fasanella was a well-known and highly collected self-taught painter whose large, detailed works depicted hardworking union laborers and reflected energetic city life. His Father delivered ice to homes, and every night he would see him tired and worn out. Fasanella’s mother worked in a dress hip, drilling holes in buttons during the day. At night she was an anti-fascist activist and he would join her in passing out Italian transcribed newspapers.
Fasanella worked in garment factories and a was truck driver, but eventually joined the union as a machinist. During this occupation is when he began to explore his artistic talents through drawing. Has a union organizer he organize several unions at major east coast companies. After being stricken with painful arthritis, he began to paint and by 1945 was painting full time while running a service station.
Because of his career background, much of his artwork was loved by union workers and low income families. He painted real-life situations, such as urban life, union meetings, strikes, sit-ins and even baseball games. His hopes were that his artwork would be placed in union halls or buildings commonly used.
KFI was approached by Fasanella’s son, and KFI acquired and then had the painting conserved at Parma Conservation. Fasanella’s 1947 painting, “Other Side of the Tracks” was gifted to the Hudson River Museum.