Bernarda Bryson Shahn

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Bernarda Bryson Shahn
Born (1903-03-07)March 7, 1903
Athens, Ohio, United States
Died December 12, 2004(2004-12-12) (aged 101)
Roosevelt, New Jersey, United States
Known for Painting, lithography
Spouse(s) Ben Shahn (m. 1935; 3 children)
Resettlement Administration poster by Bernarda Bryson Shahn, between 1935 and 1937

Bernarda Bryson Shahn (March 7, 1903 – December 12, 2004)[1] was an American painter and lithographer. She also wrote and illustrated children's books including The Zoo of Zeus and Gilgamesh. The renowned artist Ben Shahn was her "life companion" and they married in 1969.[1]

Bernarda Bryson was born in Athens, Ohio, where her father owned the Athens Morning Journal. In Ohio she studied at several schools including the Cleveland School of Art, married (ended in divorce), and worked for a newspaper.[1] She met her future husband during a trip to New York in 1932 (or 1933)[1] she took to interview Diego Rivera, whom Shahn was assisting in the production of his Rockefeller Center murals.[2] Both of them worked for the Depression-era Resettlement Administration, later part of the Farm Security Administration. In 1939, they produced a set of 13 murals inspired by Walt Whitman's poem I See America Working and installed at the United States Post Office-Bronx Central Annex.[3] She continued painting throughout her life, and hosted gallery exhibits from the time her husband died in 1969, to well in her 90s. She died at her home in Roosevelt, New Jersey at the age of 101 on December 12, 2004.[1]

See also[edit]

  • The Vanishing American Frontier: Bernarda Bryson Shahn and her historical lithographs created for the Resettlement Administration of FDR, a catalog of the artist's lithographs, drawings, and poster published on the occasion of a traveling exhibition curated by Jake Milgram Wien, 1995, OCLC 32854494


  1. ^ a b c d e Fox, Margalit (December 16, 2004). "Bernarda Bryson Shahn, Painter, Dies at 101". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ Fitzgerald, Jean. "A Finding Aid to the Bernarda Bryson Shahn Papers, 1872-2004". Archives of American Art. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ Donald J. Framberger; Joan R. Olshansky & Elizabeth Spencer-Ralph (September 1979). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Bronx Central Annex-U.S. Post Office". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 

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