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Found 327 Resources

Ben Shahn

National Portrait Gallery
Calder here portrays Ben Shahn as a person of tenacious resolve, ready to do battle for various political causes. The relationship between Calder and the social realist painter may seem highly improbable: while Shahn devoted his life and his art to liberal causes, Calder generally eschewed political issues in his art. However, along with his wife Louisa, Calder was deeply committed to liberal politics. With the rapid escalation of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Calder and Shahn together advocated for an activist group called SANE (Sane Nuclear Policy), and both contributed posters and money for countless liberal and humanitarian organizations. As revealed through their lively correspondence, they also greatly enjoyed one another's company.

Rico Lebrun

National Portrait Gallery
In a tribute he wrote soon after Rico Lebrun's death, Leonard Baskin noted of his teacher, mentor, and friend, "Nothing human was alien to Lebrun's vision." That sustained passion for the human figure in Lebrun's art during an era dominated by abstract expressionism profoundly influenced Baskin. In this deeply felt posthumous portrait, Baskin captures the fine line between representation and suggestion. Connecting the profile to the background through slender threads of ink-possibly representing breath, speech, or aura-he creates the impression of a remembered face, suggesting the gulf between absence and presence, memory and reality. At Lebrun's death in 1964, Baskin felt very much alone. But at the time of this 1968 drawing, he was earning international acclaim as the art world began to rediscover what he and Lebrun had always known-the profound potential of the human figure.

Robert Frederick Blum

National Portrait Gallery
In 1893, when a young art editor at Harper's designed a poster in the decorative style of the European poster craze to announce an upcoming issue, the results launched a competition for stylish magazine advertising in America. William Sergeant Kendall made three monthly placards for Scribner's, including this January 1895 image of the painter Robert Blum. Kendall's use of an angled viewpoint and heavy, dark contours suggests the influence of Japanese prints. The effect was noted by a contemporary critic, who wrote in 1895 that Kendall's portraits were "a telegraph utterance, short, nervous, incisive, spoken with a dash and go which seem to imply 'I have not time to linger on the curves of those lips, on the turn of that eyebrow, and neither do you. . . . I have uttered the essential thought; you may fill in the rest.'" Instead of using the magazine's masthead, Kendall hand-lettered the text himself, balancing the off-center composition.

George Biddle

National Portrait Gallery
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia-born social realist artist George Biddle was a strong advocate of government support for the arts. With the backing of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a former classmate at Groton School, Biddle helped organize the Public Works of Art Project, which led to the formation of the Federal Art Project, a program of the Works Progress Administration. Among the thousands of artworks the program produced was Biddle’s own mural, The Tenement, which he completed for the U.S. Department of Justice’s building in Washington. During World War II, Biddle presided as chairman over the War Department’s Art Advisory Committee, and in 1950 he was appointed to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. These portraits of Biddle and his wife, Belgian-born sculptor Hélène Sardeau, were drawn by their close friend Marguerite Zorach shortly after their 1931 marriage. They are a gift from the Biddles’ son.

Thomas Hart Benton Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Hart Benton 1889-1975

In this lithograph and the painting on which he based it, leading regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton showed himself as "Grandaddy [sic] Benton." For the feisty painter of the American scene who fearlessly traveled back roads to find subjects for his works, it was not easy to admit that he was aging. Yet he delighted in such visual play as likening the wrinkles of his neck to the folds of the jacket that hung over his skinny arms. He vigorously scratched on the lithographic stone to highlight the bulging belly that strained his belt. In a 1973 interview with Mike Wallace, Benton boasted that he still drank and painted. In fact, he said, "I think I paint better than ever." In this proud old-age self-portrait with brushes firmly in hand, Benton asserted the truth of that statement.

Boardman Robinson Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Diego Rivera, from the portfolio "Portraiture"

Smithsonian American Art Museum

David Siqueiros Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Ben Shahn

National Portrait Gallery

Edwin Austin Abbey

National Portrait Gallery

Peter Hurd

National Portrait Gallery

Boardman Robinson

National Portrait Gallery

Howard Chandler Christy

National Portrait Gallery

Austin Purves

Catalog of American Portraits

Howard Chandler Christy

National Portrait Gallery

Howard Chandler Christy

National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Hart Benton

National Portrait Gallery

John Steuart Curry Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Ben Shahn

National Portrait Gallery

Ben Shahn

National Portrait Gallery

Jean Charlot

National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Hart Benton Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

William Morris Hunt

National Portrait Gallery

Carl Wimar Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery
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