Leonard Baskin (American, 1922-2000)

Baskin specialized in sculpture, drawings, and prints. Known for his Expressionist renderings and historical subjects, Baskin typically exaggerated his subjects’ features. In his portrait of Rodolphe Bresdin, for instance, he used a bright green to depict the printmaker’s hat. The fluffy texture of the subject’s hair and beard is created through dots, while the hat is rendered with dense vertical hatching and the clothes are drawn with curvilinear, economical lines. The difference in the lines make the texture of each part distinctive from each other. One of Bresdin’s eyes is higher than the other, which is upside down. This sketchy, somewhat surreal quality adds uniqueness to Baskin’s depictions of famous artists from past eras and unearths qualities beyond realistic physical likenesses.
Baskin attended many institutions, including New York University, Yale University, the Academie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, the Accademia di Belle Arte in Florence, and the New School. He taught at Smith College and Hampshire College. His works are collected by many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.