Ben Shahn

Lithuanian/American , 1898 - 1969

Printmaker, painter and muralist Ben Shahn was born in Kovno, Lithuania I 1898. He arrived in the United States in 1908 with his family and settled in Brooklyn. He was apprenticed to a lithographer after finishing elementary school at the age of fourteen. As an apprentice, he spent long hours grinding stones and lettering stones. He once stated that he made “thousands and thousands of letters.” It is fortunate that he liked the history of alphabets because he would use them throughout his artistic career. Throughout his life, he loved to draw, paint and make prints. Often the subject of a drawing became a print and/or a painting. Shahn believed in hard work and craftsmanship qualities that would stay with him throughout his career.

Shahn’s first individual print was produced in 1936 and his first published lithographs in 1931 were in portfolios. He also produced posters for the Depression, WWII, his exhibitions and movements that interested him. Not including the images published posthumously in 1969- 1971, he produced over 249 prints and posters.
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