Painting overtook Ralph Fasanella like stigmata. In 1944, at the age of 30, having never given art a second thought, he felt his hands begin to "tingle." "They were itchy," he said. "Something was wrong with them. They ached." Thinking it was arthritis, he went to a doctor, who gave him a shot. Six months later, this child of Italian immigrants, who grew up in a Sullivan Street tenement, worked with his father delivering ice, and spent time in reform school, where he was "used as a girl" by the prieststhis machinist, truck driver, and union organizer, who would later be blacklisted during the McCarthy erabegan to paint. "I always felt embarrassed by the whole goddamn thing," he said, "but I... More >>>
By photo: Robin Holland
"I may paint flat, but I don't think flat": a large detail of American Tragedy (1964).