The Old Print Shop

Ben Shahn


Printmaker, painter and muralist, Ben Shahn was born in Kovno, Lithuania in 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 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. He believed in hard work and craftsmanship qualities that would stay with him throughout his career.

Shahn’s first lithographs were published in a portfolio in 1931. His first individual print was produced in 1936. Shahn also produced posters for the Depression and WWII. Ben Shahn produced over 249 prints and posters. -IFPDA