Artist of the moment…..Ben Shahn

Ben Shahn was born in Kovno or Kaunas, Russia in the year 1898. This region is now the country of Lithuania. Shahn was an  artist renown for his printmaking and painting skills. Shahn was a teacher, painter, and photographer. His family came to the Unites States in 1906 after his father was exiled to Siberia and fled the region entirely. As a fifteen year old boy he was able to be an apprentice to an lithographer. For his collegiate studies Shahn attended the National Academy of design briefly and the City College of New York.

Shahn also enjoyed painting his political views. He often made paintings that symbolized his anger at going to war.

price range information: Shahn was a prolific artist making prints and originals found for $500 to $150,000.

Part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

In this clip we visit a fantastic mural painted by Ben Shahn titled “The Meaning of Social Security.” This was a fresco painting done in 1942 at the William Cohan Building in Fairfax, Virginia.

In 1933 worked on murals with famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

An interview with Ben Shahn produced by CBS news.

And finally in this clip a great montage of works by Ben Shahn. What stood out to myself was his grasp and great use of color to depict mood. Through exaggerated body movements just from a quick glace at his work we can feel the emotion of his characters. Very similar to the last Inuit artist I just posted about Silas Kayakjuak. Some of his elder carvings used the mustache of the characters beard to help express emotion.

Ben Shahn passed away in 1969 at 70 years of age.


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