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Exhibitions

Ben Shahn: Selections from For the Sake of a Single Verse

June 08 through August 18, 2019

On view in Hughes and Wilson Galleries

 

Painter, photographer, and printmaker Ben Shahn (American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969), often used his art as a form of social commentary. Extensively trained in lithography, his narrative works are defined by his use of line.

One of the last projects completed by Shahn before his death is the portfolio of lithographs, For the Sake of a Single Verse, 1968 (commonly known as The Rilke Portfolio). Each of the 23 prints Shahn created illustrates a particular phrase in one of his favorite passages from Rainer Maria Rilke’s autobiographical novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

As seen in the selection on view, Shahn often distorts scale and perspective in his spare compositions that focus on either the landscape or universal human actions, interactions, or emotions.

Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama. Images are © Estate of Ben Shahn / VAGA.

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Exhibition preview

 

Ben Shahn (American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969), The Gestures of the Little Flowers, 1968, from the portfolio, For the Sake of a Single Verse…(The Rilke Portfolio), color lithograph on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Lawrence A. Fleischman, 1993.7.10.1, © 2019 Estate of Ben Shahn / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

 

Ben Shahn (American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969), Many Men, 1968, from the portfolio, For the Sake of a Single Verse…(The Rilke Portfolio), lithograph on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Lawrence A. Fleischman, 1993.7.6.1, © 2019 Estate of Ben Shahn / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

 

Ben Shahn (American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969), The Sea Itself, 1968, from the portfolio, For the Sake of a Single Verse…(The Rilke Portfolio), color lithograph on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Lawrence A. Fleischman, 1993.7.19.1, © 2019 Estate of Ben Shahn / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Featured cover image:

Ben Shahn (American, born Lithuania, 1898–1969), To Roads in Unknown Regions, 1968, from the portfolio, For the Sake of a Single Verse...(The Rilke Portfolio), color lithograph on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Lawrence A. Fleischman, 1993.7.11.1, © 2019 Estate of Ben Shahn / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY