Robert Cenedella is a master of pictorial satire and fantasy, justly celebrated for his paintings revealing all aspects of big-city life. As part of New York’s art community for over four decades, he paints everything and everybody, from cameo likenesses of celebrities to those of the common man. His pictures of subways, symphonies, sports arenas, street scenes, and drinking establishments are quintessentially New York.
M. K. Flavell, in George Grosz: A Biography, said of Mr. Cenedella that “no other artist chronicles the everyday life and the changing rituals and mythologies—of sex, sport, art, politics, money-making in contemporary America—with his combination of imaginative vitality, precision, and humor.” Massachusetts-born, the artist has lived most of his life in New York. At an early age, he began studying with George Grosz at the Art Students League of New York, and then with Marshall Glasier.
Mr. Cenedella has had one-man shows throughout the United States and Europe. His first Berlin exhibition, In Search of DADA, was in 1994, and coincided with the George Grosz Centennial Exhibition at the National Galerie in Berlin. He returned to Germany in October 2006 for a one-man retrospective at the Otto-Nagel Galerie, also in Berlin. His renowned mural of the original Le Cirque restaurant in New York City, Le Cirque, the 1st Generation, is currently installed at the restaurant’s new location on East 58th Street. Other notable murals include Mi Casa, Su Casa for Bacardi International; Tony’s World, commissioned by the late Tony Randall for former League model Heather Randall; and his Absolut Cenedella commissions.
Mr. Cenedella feels that drawing is the most demanding and most disciplined endeavor for any student to undertake, but also the most rewarding. He trains each student to acquire a basic skill in drawing the human figure, no matter what the eventual style or mode of expression may be. Mr. Cenedella believes the ultimate goal is to be able to “think” with the hand. He continues the large format concept of drawing passed down from Mr. Grosz.
Mr. Cenedella is also the subject of a documentary, Art Bastard, which focuses on his career as an artist and his often challenging relationship with the art world. After showing in various film festivals throughout the United States and Europe, Art Bastard was released in spring 2016.