Robert Cenedella's painting, The Presence of Man (1988), is one of his most widely publicized works because the imagery portrays Santa Claus nailed to the cross. Creating controversy both nationally and internationally, it has opened up a passionate dialogue on Christmas and the over-commercialization of one of the world's most sacred symbols.
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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.