Ralph Fasanella

Dress Shop, 1972

Oil on Canvas, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y.

Dress Shop is a joyful and powerful tribute to the working class as personified by friends and family, particularly Fasanella’s mother. In this work Fasanella depicts a large garment factory with a cutaway front to show the entire interior teeming with workers. The shop itself was inspired by a lifetime of experience in the garment industry, dating back to Fasanella’s childhood when his mother brought him to her Chatham Square dress shop so that she could keep an eye on him while she worked. The rhythm and process of work expressed in Dress Shop clearly indicates an intimate knowledge of the subject. The windows of the shop carry headlines and images of the major news stories of the 1960s to show that the workers were aware of the events and issues of their time.

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