Leonard Baskin: Baskin at 100

2022 marks the one hundreth anniversary of Leonard Baskin’s birth, born August 15, 1922.  The century since his birth and the twenty two years since his death has been rife with political strife and  XXXXXX, circumstances that Baskin never shied away from.  though his works often teeter with ambiguity, Baskin was never unclear about his purpose.  He stated in 1959:

“. . . The forging of works of art is one of man’s remaining semblances to divinity.  Man has been incapable of love, wanting in charity, and despairing of hope. He has not molded a life of abundance and peace and he has charred the earth and befouled the heavens more wantonly than every before. He has made of Arden a landscape of death. In this garden I dwell, and in linming the horror, the degradation and the filth, I hold the cracked mirror up to man. All previous art makes this course inevitable.”

FDR Presidential Memorial


text text blah blah 25 years, blah blah

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Funeral Cortege Maquette, 12 x 58 in, bronze relief

 

Watercolors and Prints

Early Political Works


text text, young communist, blah blah, Marxist works, blah blah, pele the conquerer, blah blah.

 

The Miner’s Children, 13.5 x 46 in, woodcut, 1950

 

Pelle the Conqueror, 18 in, wood, Front View

One of Baskin’s very earliest extant carvings, Pelle the Conqueror depicts the eponymous protagonist of Martin Anderson Nexø’s great proletarian novel from Denmark, a work that Baskin found profoundly moving. In the midst of his fascination with Communist ideas, Baskin is also attracted to Pelle’s individualism, chafing at the confines of the ideology he is simultaneously embracing.

 

Racial Equality


Native Americans

text text text  custer battlefield, blah blah

Chief With Peace Medal
30×14.75×8.75 in

 

 

 

African American

text text text .  Sid Kaplan blah blah UMASS African American blah blah

Between 1970 and 1975, Baskin collaborated with University of Massachusetts professor Sidney Kaplan to produce a series of books called the Gehenna Tracts.  This was an attempt to make available important but difficult to attain early writings. These included works by early American abolitionists and womens rights advocates.  In the 1992 catalog of the press Baskin remarked on the book

“The Woolman was the third & last of The Gehenna Tracts. It serves, as do its predecessors, in making available {especially as this text was popularly reprinted from our edition} works which are difficult to readily obtain. This was Gehenna’s second Woolman text; earlier it had issued a large broadside of a nightmare of Woolman’s entitled ‘The Fox and the Cat’; the press’ edito rescued it from the obscurity of earlier Quaker journals.”

This edition has a hand-watercolored title page signed by Baskin and includes the original ink drawing reproduced within.

Two Essays on Slavery by John Woolman
Fine Press Book.

 

John Woolman
Ink, 6×4 in

text text text  lynchings, blah blah

Text text text

Aniti War

text text,

 

 

Well Death, Have You Devoured Enough of Our Children?, Woodcut, 1998  55×35.5 in
Pink Death, Watercolor, 40×26.75 in

The Women


text text text Mothers de la playa de Mayo, blah blah blah.  suffer the brunt of the horrors of war. blah blah

 

Aristotle’s Politics and Poetics


text text blah blah