Former union organizer and famed artist Ralph Fasanella (1914-1997) painted hundreds of canvases depicting urban working life during the post World War II America. Fasanella was born in the Bronx and grew up in the working-class neighborhoods of New York. As an organizer he advocated for worker’s rights. His passion for social justice showed through his colorful and vibrant paintings.
On May 18, 2015 the Labor Heritage Foundation’s Fasanella Public Domain Project will donate the “Corner Butcher” — an iconic painting depicting the skilled craftsman clad in a heavy flannel shirt and apron, with his Union Shop Card hanging on the wall behind him — to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to be displayed in the Folk Art Galleries.
The Foundation is donating the gift in memory of David Gelios, who rose from working as a butcher in an Ohio meatpacking plant to become chief officer of the UFCW Local 911.
The donation was made possible through labor union funding and the sale of “Corner Butcher” posters. The reception is sponsored by ULLICO Inc.
The Foundation will hold the dedication and reception on May 18, from 12:30-1:30 at the Museum’s Folk art Galleries, West Side (South End), First Floor. The Smithsonian American Art Museum is located at F and 8th Streets, NW near the Gallery Place/ Chinatown Metro Station.
In addition to the donation of the “Corner Butcher” Fasanella’s “Iceman Crucified” will also be on display.