Shahn, Ben

▪ American artist
byname of  Benjamin Shahn  
born September 12, 1898, Kaunas, Russia [now in Lithuania]
died March 14, 1969, New York, New York, U.S.
 American painter and graphic artist whose work, displaying a combination of realism and abstraction, addressed various social and political causes.

      Shahn immigrated with his family to New York City in 1906. In 1913–17 he worked as a lithographer's apprentice while attending high school at night. He later attended New York University, City College of New York, and the National Academy of Design in New York. During travels to Europe in 1925 and 1927 he saw the works of the Old Masters.

      In 1931–32 Shahn began his first major work, a series of paintings on the trial of the anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (Sacco-Vanzetti case). Shahn expressed his sympathy for the defendants with great emotional power and satiric bite, and the series brought him fame. He explored another famous trial, that of the labour leader Tom Mooney (Mooney, Tom), in a work of 1932–33. In 1933 Shahn enrolled in the New York City Public Works Art Project and executed a series of works on the Prohibition era. From 1935 to 1938 he worked for the Farm Security Administration as an artist and photographer.

      Shahn and his wife, Bernarda Brysen, executed a series of panels for the lobby of the Bronx post office in New York in 1938–39, a project that took the form of a geographic panorama of American life. The year 1939 was particularly fruitful for Shahn, as he created three of his best-known pictures: Seurat's Lunch, Handball, and Vacant Lot. Shahn also created widely reproduced graphic works, in which he developed an original and distinctive use of line. Beginning in the mid-1950s, his work became more reflective and less concerned with social criticism.

Additional Reading
Frances K. Pohl, Ben Shahn (1993); Susan Cherlowe et al., Common Man, Mythic Vision: The Paintings of Ben Shahn (1998); Howard Greenfeld, Ben Shahn: An Artist's Life (1998).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SHAHN, BEN — (1898–1969), U.S. painter and printmaker. Born in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania, he was taken to the United States at the age of eight. He studied lithography and for many years supported himself and his family by means of commercial lithography. A… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Shahn, Ben — (1898 1969)    Born in Lithuania, Ben Shahn immigrated to the United States with his family in 1906 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. He trained as a typographer and studied at New York University from 1919 to 1921, City College of New York in… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Shahn, Ben — (1898–1969)    US artist. Shahn was brought to the United States from Lithuania as a child. He became a leading American painter, muralist, li thographer and illustrator. His work has strong overtones of left wing politics and social satire. He… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Shahn, Ben — (1898 1969)    American painter and graphic artist. He was born in Kovno, Lithuania. He settled in the US, but later travelled to Europe and North Africa. He made an early series of paintings based on the Dreyfus Affair. His later works include… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Shahn, Ben — ► (1898 1969) Pintor estadounidense. Autor de Mujeres de mineros …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Shahn, Ben(jamin) — born Sept. 12, 1898, Kaunas, Russia died March 14, 1969, New York, N.Y., U.S. Lithuanian born U.S. painter and graphic artist. His family immigrated to New York City in 1906. As a youth he worked as a lithographer s apprentice; he later attended… …   Universalium

  • Shahn, Ben(jamin) — (12 sep. 1898, Kaunas, Rusia–14 mar. 1969, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.). Pintor y artista gráfico estadounidense de origen lituano. Su familia emigró a la ciudad de Nueva York en 1906. De joven, trabajó como aprendiz de litógrafo y posteriormente… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Shahn — Shahn, Ben …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Shahn — Ben Shahn (* 12. September 1898 in Kaunas, Litauen; † 14. März 1969 in New York City, New York) war ein US amerikanischer Maler und Grafiker und gilt als ein Vertreter des sozialen Realismus, einer Richtung des Amerikanischen Realismus. Er trat… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ben Shahn — Infobox Artist bgcolour = #6495ED name = Ben Shahn imagesize = 200px caption = Ben Shahn, poster for the US Department of War Information, 1943 birthname = Benjamin Shahn birthdate = September 12, 1898 location = Kovno, Lithuania deathdate =… …   Wikipedia

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