Very early in his nearly six-decade career, Baskin came to the conclusion that sculpture was the medium best suited to expressing fundamental human states such as grief, love, hope, and dignity. Its very monumentality makes it an art of witness and resistance to oppression. Baskin’s relentless pursuit of his themes has been so encompassing that to call a work in any of the mediums he mastered “Baskin-like” conveys an unsentimental confrontation with mortality and the political forces of the time. His vision is often a dark one, but it is the brilliance of our fight, our survival against the odds, our attempts at communication and understanding, that constitute the glory of humanity and exist, always, at the core of Baskin’s art.
The decade of the 40’s were formative for Baskin. He had finished his influential apprenticeship with Maurice Glickman in 1939 and moved through a number of schools, NYU, Yale, and the New School for Social Research. Most influential during this time were the Marxist ideas that Glickman had turned him on to. Early woodcuts depicting proletarian workers an viscous capitalists eagles pervade this era. Early sculptures show the formation of his mature style and his mastery of the media.