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Artists Leon Golub

Leon Golub

American Painter

Leon Golub Photo
Movement: Neo-Expressionism

Born: January 23, 1922 - Chicago, Illinois

Died: August 8, 2004 - New York, New York


Leon Golub carried within an unfailing love of people despite his ongoing exploration of the most monstrous scenes of humanity. Still strikingly relevant today, his paintings explore themes of struggle, conflict, and perverse power relations especially in times of war. He was inspired by ancient and contemporary source material alike; a gleaner of information of news stories from popular media, but also a learned classical art historian. Intrigued by the individual, he made portraits of significant personalities, yet simultaneously Golub rejected self-involvement to instead inspire engagement, collaboration, and to situate his art as a call for active resistance against all injustice.

Living in Paris during the early 1960s, Golub and his partner Nancy Spero were confronted by the haunting remnants of the Holocaust. They returned to the United States with an unflinching willingness to confront cultural darkness, only to be eerily greeted by the onset of the Vietnam War. Golub's understanding of the human condition penetrated so deeply that he successfully broke down barriers and transcended boundaries during his own lifetime, for example he was one of only a few white artists invited to be included in the exhibition Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art (1994).

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