Family Supper, 1972
Oil on Canvas, National Park Service, Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Family Supper focuses on the artist’s family, and particularly on his mother, Ginevra. Shown in their Sullivan Street apartment, the members of the family are gathered around a table set with fruit, espresso and Italian pastries. Ginevra Fasanella is shown seated at the head of the table, clothed in a white robe of purity. She is a vision of the gentle, nurturing spirit of the family, to whom the others cling for spiritual and emotional sustenance. Fasanella memorializes his mother’s sacrifices by placing her on a cross directly above the family group. His father appears as an illustration on a calendar on the wall at the right. The remainder of the canvas is an encyclopedia of the familiar, including a gas meter which dispenses light for a quarter, a flour sack used as a dish towel, an old Singer sewing machine, a trunk from Italy and numerous other details that show the artist’s intimate knowledge of tenement life.
For those with working-class roots, the remainder of the canvas is an encyclopedia of the familiar. Fasanella includes a gas meter that dispenses light for a quarter, a flour sack used as a dish towel, an old Singer sewing machine, a trunk from Italy, and numerous other details that show his intimate knowledge of tenement life.