Ralph Fasanella
The Rosenberg’s Grey Day, 1963
Oil on canvas, 42 x 72 inches

Garden Party, Fasanella’s first painting about the Rosenberg execution, was emotional—but nearly ten years later this painting, according to historian Paul D’Ambrosio, was well thought out, presenting symbols the American People could understand. “The large “A” therefore stands for “Atom,” the sinister energy behind the Cold War tensions that led to the Rosenberg execution. To convey the destructive power of the atom, Fasanella places a menacing masklike image at the apex of the A, painted in lurid dark red, purple and black. … In the uppermost section are the prosecutors, military and business leaders, and opportunistic finger pointers… The middle level shows the Rosenbergs at home, holding hands while seated in a large stained-glass chair (eerily reminiscent of the electric chair ornamented with a menorah. The lowest level of the A is a narrow strip along the bottom center of the canvas that shows a row of jail cells.”