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Ralph Fasanella

Ralph Fasanella (September 2, 1914 – December 16, 1997) was a self-taught painter whose large, detailed works depicted urban working life and critiqued post-World War II America. Born in the Bronx, New York, Ralph quit school when he was around fourteen and went to work. Behavioural problems after his father abandoned the family in the early 1920s and went back to Italy saw Ralph spending time in a Catholic reform school on three separate occasions before he was fifteen. After a series of working class jobs from the time he gave up school, and considerable union activism, in his 30s Fasanella began to teach himself how to paint and continued for the next 50 years. He exhibited his work, but did not become well known until 1972 when, after painting for 30 years, a story about him suddenly appeared on the cover of a New York magazine.

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