Ben Shahn (1898 - 1969)
Ben Shahn was born in Lithuania in 1898 into a family of Jewish craftsmen. His father’s anti-czarist activities forced the family to emigrate to the United States in 1906. Shahn grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn. He became an apprentice in a Manhattan lithographic firm, finishing high school at night and later taking classes at New York University, City College of New York, and the National Academy of Design.
Shahn saw his art as a means to combat injustice and raise social awareness, using satirical depictions of social types. He had his first solo exhibition in 1930, and his series of paintings of the trial and execution of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti established his reputation and led to further such work. Shahn painted murals for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, notably those in the Bronx Central Annex Post Office and the Federal Security Building in Washington, D.C. He was also a painter and photographer for the Farm Security Administration from 1935 to 1938, and later became well known for his illustrations and prints. He died in New York in 1969.
Wood engraving, 1960; edition of 300. Image size 6” x 4-3/4”; overall size 10-3/4” x 10”. The original drawing was engraved in wood by Stefan Martin including Ben Shahn's signature. The edition was then signed in red by Ben Shahn and titled, numbered 83/300, and signed in pencil by Stefan Martin. A powerful image in very good overall condition.