If you've been following my previous posts (along with my friend Laura Ruberto's) on the case of the missing Ralph Fasanella painting, "Welcome Home, Boys," owned by the City of Oakland, you'll be pleased to know that the Cultural Arts Office has overseen a reinstallation of the painting to a more public area within the African American Museum and Library of Oakland (AAMLO). The manager of the Cultural Arts Office, Steve Huss, sent me the photos you see on this page.
It looks as if the painting is now in a public reading room that houses other exhibits, which is good. And it's over a mantel, which protects it from any incidental bumping that could cause damage. So I have to admit that the City is taking this matter seriously and is doing what they can to protect and present this great work to the public.
What remains is context. I'm going to write a piece about "Welcome Home, Boys" for the City and Library staff to consider taking into account in their presentation. If there are connections that can be made to the painting's surroundings in AAMLO that would obviously strengthen the experience of seeing the work and would make it a more compelling destination than it was in the Public Library.
One other matter of interest. Mr. Huss noticed that there are two signatures. Both are dated 1953, but in one the artist's name is misspelled "Fasanlla." It was not unusual for Ralph to sign a work more than once, and it was also not unheard of for him, when signing in a hurry (his norm) to drop a letter or two. At first glance, both of these signatures look authentic. I guess we can take this as an emphatic statement of creative ownership that, by all appearances, is once again before the people of Oakland.