Leonard Baskin

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Leonard Baskin
Born (1922-08-15)August 15, 1922
New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Died June 3, 2000(2000-06-03) (aged 77)
Northampton, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Known for Sculpture, book illustration, printmaking, graphic design

Leonard Baskin (August 15, 1922 – June 3, 2000) was an American sculptor, illustrator, wood-engraver, printmaker, graphic artist, writer and teacher.

Life and work[edit]

Baskin was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey.[1] While he was a student at Yale University, he founded Gehenna Press, a small private press specializing in fine book production. From 1953 until 1974, he taught printmaking and sculpture at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.[2] Subsequently Baskin also taught at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

He lived most of his life in the U.S., but spent nine years in Devon at Lurley Manor, Lurley, near Tiverton, close to his friend Ted Hughes, for whom he illustrated Crow. Sylvia Plath dedicated "Sculptor" to Leonard Baskin in her famous work, The Colossus and Other Poems (1960).

The Funeral Contege (1997) bronze, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, D.C.

His public commissions include a bas relief for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and a bronze statue of a seated figure, erected in 1994 for the Holocaust Memorial in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

His works are owned by many major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art and the Vatican Museums. The archive of his work at the Gehenna Press was acquired by the Bodleian Library at Oxford, England, in 2009. The McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton, Ontario owns over 200 of his works, most of which were donated by his brother Rabbi Bernard Baskin.[3]

In 1955, he was one of eleven New York artists featured in the opening exhibition at the Terrain Gallery. In 1966 he was featured in the documentary, "Images of Leonard Baskin" by American filmmaker Warren Forma.

Leonard Baskin was a first cousin of American modern dancer and choreographer Sophie Maslow. He died at age 77 on June 3, 2000, in Northampton, where he resided.[1] The Art Institute of Portland has a memorial to him.

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b LCCN n79--89695 cites an obituary in The New York Times, June 6, 2000.
  2. ^ Opitz, Glenn B., Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, Apollo Books, Poughkeepsie, NY, 1988
  3. ^ http://emuseum.mcmaster.ca/emuseum/objects/viewcollections
  4. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lance Hidy, "My Studies at the Free Academy of Gehenna", in Parenthesis; 21 (2011 Autumn), p. 5–11.
  • Barbara Blumenthal, "Arno Werner, Leonard Baskin, Harold P. McGrath and the Tradition of Book Arts in Massachusetts", in Parenthesis; 21 (2011 Autumn), p. 17–20.
  • Sidney Berger, "Leonard Baskin and the Art of Printing (The Ego and the Ecstasy)", in Parenthesis; 17 (2009 Autumn), pp. 13–19.
  • Bruce Chandler, Lance Hidy, Barry Moser, In the School of Baskin (2008. Society of Printers, Boston, USA)
  • Lisa Unger Baskin, The Gehenna Press: The Work of Fifty Years, 1942–1992 [exhibition catalogue].
  • Central Conference of American Rabbis, A Passover Haggadah: The New Union Haggadah with drawings by Leonard Baskin, New York: Viking Press, 1982.
  • Jaffe, Irma B., The Sculpture of Leonard Baskin, New York, Viking Press, 1980.

External links[edit]