Ben Shahn An Artist's Life

Ben Shahn An Artist's Life

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Beginning in the thirties, he created bold and powerful paintings of often controversial subjects, and in particular his portraits of Sacco and Vanzetti caused a storm whenever they were exhibited. After working as an assistant to Diego Rivera on the ill-fated Rockefeller Center mural, he began creating his own arresting murals--in Washington, New York, and New Jersey--which are among the finest such works ever painted in this country. He also excelled as a photographer as one of the distinguished group known as the FSA photographers, which included Dorothea Lange and his close friend Walker Evans. His life  crossed the paths of many others, too, including Albert Einstein, Alexander Calder, William Carlos Williams, Archibald MacLeish, and S. J. Perelman.

During World War II, he produced some of the most striking and effective propaganda posters, before returning again to painting, always choosing subjects that touched a nerve and were just as often politically powerful.
   
Shahn also entered the world of advertising, but completely on his own terms, and was respected for it. His life was always involved directly with his times, and he was a member of the intellectual community throughout his career, as well as a courageous political activist. His unique, unforgettable work won him shows in museums all over America, including the Museum of Modern  Art.