Ben Shahn

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shahn, Ben


Born Sept. 12, 1898, in Kaunas, Lithuania; died Mar. 14, 1969, in New York City. American painter and graphic artist.

In 1906, Shahn was brought by his family to the USA. He studied at New York University, the College of the City of New York, and the National Academy of Design. Shahn’s work dealt with acute social problems, such as the injustice of the bourgeois world, the loneliness of urban man, and the strivings of simple people for peace. He expressed these themes in subjective, dramatic images closely related to the style of expressionism (The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, 1931–32, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York). Shahn was a master of fresco work (mural in the Bronx County Post Office, New York, 1938–39) and poster art.


Brysen, B. Ben Shahn. New York, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pohl, Ben Shahn, with Ben Shahn's Writings (San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1993), 82.
The very brief discussion of Wallace Berman (tacked on to the chapter on Ben Shahn) seems somewhat beside the point as it is dismissive of the artist as someone, who, while he appropriated Hebrew letters and was apparently fascinated by their forms, did not use Jewish images from the point of view Baigell has taken in his book.
11, explores what realism means in works by Ben Shahn, William Gropper, Philip Pearlstein, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and others; and it runs through Feb.
52-55) and surrounding sections, Levin describes the rivalry between politically conservative and left-wing Americanists, carefully placing Thomas Hart Benton, Diego Rivera, Paul Rosenfeld, Ben Shahn, Alfred Stieglitz, and others in the political landscape, illustrating their diverse approaches to art, and explaining their relationship to Copland.
On the cover of his book (see below) is an illustration by Ben Shahn called Sunday Painting, and that points toward Berry's weekly ritual: a solitary meditation on the way of life that he has created in this landscape, stray thoughts elevated to the level of formal poetry.
Bush, Ben Shahn: The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti (Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1968).
Many artists, such as Thomas Hart Benton, Norman Rockwell, Ben Shahn, and Grant Wood, created overtly propagandistic posters, illustrations, and paintings.
The Met does not sneak a Ben Shahn from the Whitney into its American Wing catalogue just because it does not have a good one.
This first release of FSA-OWI photographs also includes work by Ben Shahn, Gordon Parks, Marion Post Wolcott, Carl Mydans, John Vachon, Jack Delano, John Collier, and others.
The critical judgements that are made tend to be obvious - that a muted background will accentuate the subject, or that the painter uses |soft, lyrical color to evoke subtle emotion', or that in Miners' Wives Ben Shahn uses space 'to create psychological effects'.
Throughout his life, Ben Shahn paid close attention to the human heart; for those who know his art, the heart beats a little steadier.