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Ben Shahn

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Ben Shahn

Information taken from the George Krevsky Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Ben Shahn emigrated with his family at age eight from Lithuania to New York in 1906.
His apprenticeship to a commercial lithographer defined his artistic direction and style.
Shahn's initation consisted of 4 years of grinding stones and "making letters - thousands and thousands of letters until I should know to perfection every curve, every serif, every thick element of a letter and every thin one". Although he was employed to learn the trade of commercial printmaking, Shahn later wrote, "If learning the craft was my ostensible reason and purpose, my private one was to learn to draw - and to draw always better and better."
Shahn pushed the boundaries of printmaking, trying many different and novel methods.
He produced color lithographs, serigraphs and even several photo-offset posters for the Office of War Information during WWII. He also experimented with hand coloring, applied gold leaf, and printed text, in both English and Hebrew.
Shahn's late work was often less politically confrontational and more personal and spiritual.
In addition to his art, Shahn was also a prominent writer, lecturer and teacher. He disliked labels and most likely would have rejected any of these titles. He stated, "I believe that if it were left to the artist to choose their own labels, most would choose none". Ben Shahn died in 1968 in New York and his works can be found in nearly every major American museum including the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institute, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

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