Ralph Fasanella
Meeting at the Commons—Lawrence 1912, 1977
Oil on canvas, 50 x 120 inches

The 1912 Bread and Roses strike fascinated Fasanella—who was looking to depict elements of working class history that could engender pride. The artist spent months in Lawrence, interviewing people about the strike and visiting textile mill buildings. Historian Paul D’Ambrosio calls the series of paintings about the strike “one of the most important and visually powerful bodies of historical painting produced by a twentieth-century American artist.”

“These paintings effectively communicate the physical environment of early twentieth-century mill towns, accurately portray the details of the labor performed in that environment, and direct the viewer to understand the collision of opposing economic and social interests in the strike. They are not objective history, of course, but they present a historical argument with uncommon sophistication and eloquence.”