An internationally acclaimed sculptor, printmaker, painter, calligrapher, essayist, book designer, and poet, Leonard Baskin (American, 1922 – 2000) was a major figure in 20th-century American art. In the 1940s and 1950s when movements such as abstract expressionism all but eliminated the human form in painting and sculpture, Baskin championed it. Through figuration, his overarching concern was to express the power and depth of the human condition at its most primal. This exhibition of works on paper, selected from the Museum’s holdings as well as a private collection, highlights images of humanity. The poignancy of Baskin’s artistic legacy is the common consciousness of humankind.
Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Baskin grew up in Brooklyn under the strict tutelage of his rabbi father, which gave him a rich classical education. After studying with sculptor Maurice Glickman, and attending several universities, Baskin taught himself the art of printmaking at Yale University, which he attended on a scholarship. There, in 1942, he founded the Gehenna Press, a private fine art press that published more than 100 handcrafted artist books and portfolios during his lifetime. Primarily known as a sculptor, Baskin rapidly gained international recognition as a printmaker and book designer. He worked as professor at Smith College in North Hampton, Massachusetts from 1953 to 1974.
Leonard Baskin: Works on paper is currently on view in the Millner Gallery through November 11th.