Last Friday I started my research on the painting “Empire State Building, N.Y.C.” by Victor Perelli. I was planning to just focus on the Works Progress Administration but when I went deeper into my research I found a lot of interesting things about Victor Perelli.
He is truly an admirable person. He was born in Argentina in September of 1899.His parents were actually American citizens so he was considered American as well. He went to school at the National Academy of Design, and he also studied in New York at the New York Evening School of the Arts. During the Great Depression he lived in Astoria, Queens with seven other people, including three kids. Most of the income came from him.
During this time, Franklin D. Roosevelt started the New Deal and one of the programs was the Works Progress Administration. This program put skilled and unskilled people to work. Artists were hired to paint and their works were loaned or sold to public offices and museums. Perelli was one of the artists that was hired by the Works Progress Administration, and in 1940 he created the painting “Empire State Building, N.Y.C.”. The painting was acquired by the New-York Historical Society in 1940.
In the painting, Perelli exaggerated the size of the Empire State Building by making it so big that it reaches the clouds, as high as the airplanes go. The interpretation of the painting is that even though the city and the nation were going through really tough times, the city hadn’t tumbled down. Perelli used the Empire State Building as a symbol to represent New York and its people. New Yorkers didn’t see the Great Depression as an obstacle; they saw it as a way to do better. Many people tried to improve during the Great Depression and one of them people was Victor Perelli. He worked very hard trying to support his family and was able to do it by doing what he loved. Another one of his famous paintings is “Fishing Station, at Long Island Sound” which is now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. One of the things that I really like about Perelli is that he focused on New York in his paintings. He is truly a New Yorker to me and he makes me proud to be a New Yorker. -Ilcy Hernandez