Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Irving Amen – woodcuts

Born in New York City in 1918, Irving Amen was drawing at the age of four. A scholarship to the Pratt Institute was awarded to him when he was fourteen years old. With Michelangelo as his idol, he spent seven years in life classes perfecting his drawing.

From 1942 to 1945 he served with the Armed Forces. He headed a mural project and executed murals in the United States and Belgium. His first exhibition in woodcut was held at the New School for Social Research and his second at the Smithsonian Institute in 1949, and in 1949 he travelled to Paris to study for a year. On his return to the United States he had one man shows in New York and Washington DC.

In 1953, Amen travelled throughout Italy. This resulted in a series of eleven woodcuts, eight etchings and a number of oil paintings. One of these woodcuts, Piazza San Marco #4 and its four woodblocks constitute a permanent exhibit of block printing in colour at the Smithsonian Institution. Travel in Israel, Greece and Turkey in 1960 led to a retrospective show at the Artist's House in Jerusalem.

Piazza San Marco #4
40.6 x 61 cm

Irving Amen has taught at Pratt Institute and at the University of Notre Dame. He had a show of woodcuts at the Artists Studio in NYC. Commissions include a Peace Medal in honour of the Vietnam War. He created designs for 12 stained glass windows 16 feet high depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel, commissioned by Agudas Achim Synagogue in Columbus, Ohio. He is listed in Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers and the Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists by Paul Cummings. He was elected member of Accademia Fiorentina Delle Arti Del Disegno, an organisation to which Michelangelo belonged.


1948 Promenade
woodcut

1950 Times Square #4
woodcut

1954 Piazza San Marco
woodcut

1954 Rialto and Bridge of Sighs
woodcut

1954 Slaughtered Houses
woodcut

1974 Flight
woodcut

Babylon
woodcut

Bird Watcher
woodcut

Florence, Italy
woodcut

1975c Playmates
woodcut 25.4 x 17.8 cm

Girl with a Ball
woodcut

In My Father's House Are Many Mansions
woodcut

Italian Landscape
woodcut

1970c Many Children Dwell in My Father's House
woodcut 40.6 x 53.3 cm

1970c Many Children Dwell in My Father's House
(variation)
woodcut 40.6 x 53.3 cm

Miner
woodcut

Palazzo Vecchio
woodcut

Pensive Girl #6
woodcut

Piazza San Marco #1
woodcut

1955c Shelley
woodcut 42.9 x 30.5 cm

The Basket Offering
woodcut
1965 Afternoon Sun
woodcut 64.8 x 49.3 cm
1976 Musician
woodcut 40.6 x 52.1 cm
1977 Chess Players
woodcut 50.8 x 66 cm
Don Quixote
woodcut 53.3 x 34.3
1960 Student
woodcut
The Open Book
woodcut

Three Graces

Chess Players
woodcut

Chess Players
woodcut




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