Saturday, October 13, 2012
1930s America's Great Depression - Daniel Ralph Celentano 1902–1980
Daniel R. Celentano was born in lower Manhattan’s Little Italy district, where he lived with his parents, Marie & Vito Celentano, and fourteen siblings. The artist's father worked in a factory.
Demonstrating an early aptitude for art, he began his formal training at the age of 12, becoming the 1st & youngest pupil of Thomas Hart Benton.
At the age of 17, Celentano went to the Cape Cod School of Art to work with Charles Hawthorne in 1918. When he returned to the city, he studied at the New York School of Fine & Applied Art with Howard Giles. He continued his studies at the National Academy of Design, the Parsons School of Design. He studied with Ivan Olinsky.
By 1930, Celentano was living in Manhattan with his wife Ida and his one month old daughter Lucy. His neighbors were relatives. Celentano often focused on the Italian neighborhood of New York City, where he was born and raised, as the subject matter of his drawings, paintings and murals.
Celentano began exhibiting his paintings in New York City in 1930. Shortly thereafter, he participated in the mural program of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Later in his career, Celentano took his artistic inspiration from the daily activities of his friends & neighbors in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Italian Harlem, where he later resided.
He enjoyed an active career, exhibiting at major museums as an accomplished American Scene painter during the WPA & WWII era.
His first one-man show was held in 1939 at the Walker Art Galleries, but the artist was entering his works in gallery & museum shows from the beginning of the Great Depression.
At the start of WWII, Celentano went to work at the Grumman Aircraft Plant, now the Cradle of Aviation Museum, painting a mural on The Story of Flight in Bethpage, Long Island. He also painted murals at the library in Flushing, New York, in 1936; at Public School 150 in NYC; and at the US Post Office in Vadalia, Georgia, in 1938.