Ralph Fasanella (1914–1997) celebrated the common man and tackled complex issues of postwar America in colorful, socially minded paintings. This exhibition celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of the artist’s birth and brings together key works from a career spanning fifty-two years. Fasanella was born in the Bronx and grew up in working-class neighborhoods of New York; he became a tireless advocate for laborers’ rights, first as a union organizer and later as a painter.
This major exhibition includes a selection of artworks from the American Folk Art Museum’s collection, which holds more than one hundred paintings and drawings by the artist. The Estate of Ralph Fasanella gifted many of these objects to the museum over the years, in addition to the artist’s notebooks, sketches, correspondence, personal records, photographs, publications, and films, which were donated in 2009 and 2013.
Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Tania and Tom Evans, Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. American Folk Art Fund, and Paula and Peter Lunder. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program,Treasures to Go.