Baskin, Leonard, 1922–2000, American sculptor, graphic artist, and teacher, b. New Brunswick, N.J. In sculptural and graphic works that are figurative in style, Baskin's images of a corrupt, bloated humanity often have an element of sardonic humor. He frequently treated biblical or mythological themes and explored both human and animal figures. His woodcuts are celebrated for their power and expressiveness. Among his notable prints are Mid-century Monster and The Poet Laureate; his sculpture Man with a Dead Bird is in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. Baskin taught sculpture and printmaking at Smith College for 20 years (1953–73) and at Hampshire College for ten (1984–94). His works, often reproduced, are represented in many of the world's major museums. Baskin founded (1942) the Gehenna Press, noted for its fine typography and superbly illustrated limited-edition books, in Northampton, Mass., and operated it for more than 25 years. Baskin's bas-relief Funeral Cortege was installed at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, D.C., in 1997.
See his Sculpture, Drawings and Prints (1970); I. Jaffe, The Sculpture of Leonard Baskin (1980); A. Fern and J. O'Sullivan, The Complete Prints of Leonard Baskin (1984).
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Baskin, Leonard(1922– ) graphic artist, sculptor; born in New Brunswick, N.J. He studied at New York University School of Architecture and Allied Arts (1939–41), Yale School of Art, New Haven (1941–43), and in France (1950) and Italy (1951). His sculptures, begun in the 1950s, show his dedication to social humanism, as seen in the wood, bronze, and stone series Dead Men, Birdmen, and Oppressed Men. His etchings, woodblocks, and graphics exhibit his elegiac and technically sophisticated approach, as seen in Man of Peace (1952) and Angel of Death (1959). He taught at Smith College, Northampton, Mass. (1953–74). Based in Leeds, Mass., in 1990 he undertook his major work, the long-delayed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial for Washington, D.C.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.