Give to Cenedella (1978) is actually a painting about Cenedella's stepfather, Robert Cenedella Sr. Robert Cenedella Sr. was a successful writer for radio scripts, and worked exclusively with the legendary Broadway star, Helen Hayes, in the 1940s-50s; however, in 1953, Robert Cenedella Sr. was blacklisted and accused of being a Communist by Senator Joseph McCarthy (R, WI) during the infamous McCarthy Hearings. Cenedella Sr. refused to take the oath under general principal, and as he stated "I am an American, I do not have to answer your question." Unfortunately, that left Cenedella Sr. in financial straits for several decades, and as the Artist depicts in this painting, it lasted well into 1978.
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As a New Yorker, Cenedella has seen it all (and then painted it). From subway paintings, street scenes, famous landmarks, and Broadway shows, Bob managed to freeze moments in time and preserve them for our viewing pleasure.
Commissioned by the infamous restauranteur, Sirio Maccioni (1932-2020), Cenedella's Oil on Canvas depicts the elegance and spirit of one of the world’s most preeminent restaurants in its original setting. It is a visual feast, a family portrait including more than 100 celebrities and political habitués over the years such as Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Philip Roth, Paul Newman, Tony Randall, Sophia Loren, and Barbara Walters.
“Yes Art!” was Cenedella’s farewell to art when he decided to join an advertising agency to escape the commercialism of the art world. Predicting that this gimmick-filled show would draw more attention than any other show that year, “Yes Art!” was exhibited in 1965 at the Fitzgerald Gallery. “Yes Art!” was subsequently taken seriously and imitated by many artists, yet without the humor and commentary present in Cenedella’s work.