The Old Print Shop

Leonard Baskin


A highly known draftsman, printmaker and sculptor, Leonard Baskin had the ability to depict, in an abstract style, man and his relation to the world. Whether working with bronze, wood or two-dimensional mediums, his focus remained on large heroic but flawed human beings who, at times, recall photographic images of concentration-camp victims or birds with human bodies that suggest mythological forms.

Born in 1922 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Baskin studied sculpture with Maurice Glickman at the Educational Alliance in New York City from 1937 to 1943. He had many influences at that time including Ossip Zadkine, Henri Laurens, and Alexander Archipenko. In 1949, he began to make wood engravings, and his attitude toward the nature of man grew more generalized, but no less moralistic or didactic. In style these works are closest to German Die Brucke prints. At this time he studied abroad at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris, and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence. For many years, he was a professor of sculpture at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. During Baskin’s career he executed etchings, lithographs, and woodcuts of artists that he felt an affinity toward, which included Albrecht Altdorfer, Andrea Mantegna, Geoge Stubbs, Francisco de Goya and many others.

His works are part of the permanent collections at many of the world’s leading galleries and museums, including the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Sculpture Gardens, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, British Museum and Vatican Museum.