Ben Shahn Paintings

Ben Shahn Paintings

Ben Shahn Paintings

Ben Shahn Paintings

Excerpt

Ben Shahn's long and distinguished career has been marked by a number of turning points. Perhaps the first of importance occurred in 1929. He had just returned to America from two extended trips abroad which took him to France, Italy, Spain, and North Africa. He had been exposed to many of the most advanced developments in European painting of our century, and had been especially impressed by the separate talents of Rouault and Dufy. Yet one suspects that even during his excited travels he was troubled by the prevailing estheticism of the school of Paris. His own background tended to lead him in an opposite direction. Born in Kovno, Russia ( Lithuania), in 1898, he had come to Brooklyn, New York, in 1906 and grown up with his Jewish family in rather impoverished circumstances. As a very young child in Russia he had drawn incessantly, and in Brooklyn he was often forced by local toughs to make sidewalk chalk sketches of various heroes of the sports world of the day. It is safe to assume that the drawings were not made entirely under duress. Shahn has always had a profound interest in flamboyant, contemporary personalities and in recording them with imaginative rather than literal precision.

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