September 12, 2018
Anger, Ben Shawn, 1953. Watercolor and Ink on Board, 25×21 inches.
Today is the birthday of painter Ben Shahn, born 1898, died 1969. American Painting 1930s and 1940s? He’s your man.
Sure, there’s Beckmann but Beckmann never stopped being German in the way that Shahn stopped being Lithuanian and became American. Shaun became early midcentury American Painting, and his drawings, book covers and posters, and portfolios made him the illustrator and soul of that period’s off-kilter struggling urban American angst. Work shoes and a cigarette. Before Abstract Expressionism.