Leonard Baskin

Portrait of Peter Breughel (9/50), c.1960
Original etching, signed in pencil
17.50 x 17.50 in
SKU: 11156c
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 is an original etching by American artist Leonard Baskin. Here, he presents a portrait of the Flemish Renaissance artist Peter Breughel the Elder in profile, executed after the engraving by Johannes Wierix published in 1572 by Volcxken Diericx and Hieronymus Cock. In the portrait, Baskin displays a love of line and texture, using the etching technique to exaggerate and draw attention to the wrinkles of the face, while leaving the hair and clothing like a study or sketch. Like in the work of contemporary artist Claude Weisbuch, the result for Baskin is an image that recalls the old masters and displays the mastery of contemporary printmakers, but that also places mid-century formal concerns at the forefront of portraiture and figuration. 

Artwork Size: 17 1/2" x 17 1/2"
Paper Size: 29 3/4" x 22"
Frame Size: 33 1/2" x 25 7/8"

Entitled "Breughel" in pencil, lower left
Edition 9/50 in pencil, lower center
Signed in pencil, lower right
"PB" in the plate, upper left
"PB" in the plate, upper right (faint)

Framed behind glass in a distressed cassetta-style moulding
Artwork in overall good condition; general toning to the paper; some scattered foxing; frame in good condition with some losses to finished surface revealing white ground

Artist Bio:

Born in 1922 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Baskin was reared in Brooklyn, New York. The son of a Rabbi, Baskin was educated at a yeshiva (Jewish religious college), which had a profound effect on his aesthetic. Committed to art at an early age, Baskin had his first exhibition. of sculpture, at the Glickman Studio Gallery, New York, at the age of seventeen. He studied at Yale University from 1941 to 1943 and received his B.A. at the New School for Social Research in 1949. Baskin spent 1950 and 1951 abroad, studying in Paris and Florence. In 1953 he began teaching printmaking and sculpture at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he remained until 1974. It was while he was at Smith College that he founded Gehenna Press, a small private press specializing in fine book production. He moved to England in 1974 and stayed till 1983 when he returned to America.. These nine years were enormously productive and besides sculptures he created a fine selection of prints and paintings. Baskin became intrigued by Greek history, philosophy and mythology at an early age and this study inspired many of his sculptures and paintings. Other influences were early 20th century sculptors, notably Ernst Barlach

Leonard Baskin was one of the universal artists of the 20th century. He was a sculptor of renown. He was a writer and illustrator of books ranging from the bible to children's' stories and natural history. He was a talented water-colourist and a superb, prolific print-maker. His prints ranged from woodcuts through lithography and etching; his subjects covered portraits, flower studies, biblical, classical and mythological scenes. Baskin’s sculpture, watercolors, and prints are in the permanent collections of most of the world's major art galleries and museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vatican Museum, the Smithsonian Institute and the Tate Gallery in London. Among Baskin's many commissions are a bas relief he made for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial statue erected on the site of the first Jewish cemetery in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Baskin won many awards including the Gold Medal of the National Academy of Arts and Letters, the Special Medal of Merit of the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Gold Medal of the National Academy of Design.