Ben Messick (1901 - 1981)
Painter and printmaker Ben Messick was born and raised in Strafford, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917, and served in the Allied Expeditionary Force. Returning to America, Messick moved to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career in the arts, studying at the Chouinard Art Institute. He is best known for paintings and lithographs that captured southern California in the inter-war years when the film industry and industrial expansion transformed Los Angeles from sleepy backwater to cultural and commercial powerhouse. He captured the passing scene of vagrants, panhandlers, and prostitutes with bemused warmth, and was an especially devoted student of the circus and its quirky, colorful ways.
Messick worked on several WPA murals, most of them in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and three at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. He worked at Disney Studios and MGM while also teaching art at Chouinard. His work was widely exhibited and is held by numerous institutions and private collections. He died in Los Angeles.
Lithograph, ca 1940; edition unknown. Image size 8-1/8” x 11-7/8”; sheet size 8½” x 13¼”. Signed by Messick in the stone. A bold image with strong contrasts in overall fine condition. The sheet has likely been trimmed to its present size.