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To an artist, every lively ball game is a challenge. His discerning senses pick up the grace of quick movement, the flash of fleeting color combinations, the vigorous atmosphere of a ball park or sandlot. One of these to whom a ball game is a thing of beauty is New Yorker Ralph Fasanella, born in the city and a baseball buff and player since early childhood. In the Italian neighborhoods where he lived, Fasanella, the son of the local iceman, played the city boy's version of baseball—stickball in the often-crowded streets. He loped around acres of vacant lots and grew up dreaming of becoming a ballplayer. Sidelined by an injury, however, Fasanella instead turned 10 years ago to painting his favorite sport. Completely untrained in art, his work shines with honesty and good humor, uncluttered and unclouded by sophistry. A machinist by trade, Fasanella puts down what he sees and feels without affectation, painting with naive and primitive charm the big stadium, the crowded city streets and the sandlots that are his baseball world.


POLO GROUNDS: Ralph Fasanella's version of a big league game looks like a colorful tapestry. Players' sizes vary with their importance in the game.


SANDLOT IN THE BRONX: With fond memory, Fasanella paints a game showing his father's wagon in front.


SUNDAY AFTERNOON: With an almost incredible use of color, Ralph Fasanella has painted a stick-ball game on a city street played under the watchful eyes, of the neighbors.