SHAHN, BEN

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 liberal in outlook, Shahn attracted attention through his gouache paintings on the Sacco-Vanzetti case and the case of labor leader Tom Mooney. The Mexican artist Diego Rivera, also a liberal, hired Shahn as his assistant in painting the fresco Man at the Crossroads, for the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center, New York. This controversial fresco was finally removed to Mexico City. During the Depression Shahn was commissioned by the government to paint several murals for public buildings. He helped form the Artists' Union and the American Artists' Congress. During World War II, Shahn designed posters for the Office of War Information. He taught at several universities and museum art schools, had many one-man shows, and was represented at international shows such as the biennial exhibitions at Venice and São Paulo. In the winter of 1956–57 he gave a series of lectures at Harvard University, published under the title The Shape of Content (1957). Shahn often dealt with Jewish subject matter. He made drawings for the production of a play, The World of Sholom Aleichem (1953), and designed windows for Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, New York (1965). As a calligrapher, he repeatedly made use of the Hebrew alphabet, especially in the books Alphabet of Creation (1954) and Love and Joy about Letters (1963; for which he also wrote texts), and in a series of de luxe editions of the Haggadah (1965). Drawings of the Haggadah had been executed about 1930 and all but one of these were bought for the Jewish Museum, New York, and are now one of its most prized possessions. The Oriental touch in some of these drawings is due to Shahn's acquaintance with the Jews of djerba , where he spent almost a year. When he was seventy, several retrospective exhibitions of his works were held. Shahn raised the aesthetic level of graphic art in the United States. As a draftsman, he was often a commentator on the social scene, always outraged at injustice, but also amused by humanity's foibles and weakness.   -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Rodman, Portrait of the Artist as an American (1951); J.T. Soby, Ben Shahn, 2 vols. (Eng., 1963). (Alfred Werner)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   Universalium

  • 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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