Ben Shahn: Two Vintage Christmas Books
American Modern Art Master Ben Shahn is well-known for his often controversial Social Realism paintings and murals, created from the ... more American Modern Art Master Ben Shahn is well-known for his often controversial Social Realism paintings and murals, created from the 1930s-'50s. But here are two rare MidCentury Christmas Song books,illustrated by him, and published in the 1960s. The first is the bold orange & green softcover, "A Partridge In A Pear Tree,' published in 1964 by the Crafton Graphic Company for The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). First printed in 1949 by collector/gallery-owner Curt Valentin, and revised in 1951 by MOMA, this is a First Edition of the Revised 1964 book. It features Shahn's stunning black-and-white graphics of each verse of the '12 Days of Christma' song, combining the lyric text with striking black-and-white images. The last page of the book features Shahn's wry social commentary on the meaning of the Song. The second Shahn book is a small hardcover, 'Sweet Was The Song'. Housed in a colorful, clipped dust-jacket, this First Edition was published in 1965 by The Odyssey Press, New York. Here is another Shahn interpretation of an old English Christmas carol, but this time his black-and-white drawings are awash in lilting colors. Together, these two Shahn books make an impressive artistic statement about his enduring style., which extended, here, to the Spiritual. Both books are in very good, clean condition internally - unpaginated, There is some wear to their covers, along the edges. As collectors of modern art and art books, we rarely find Christmas books illustrated by artists as esteemed and as experienced as Shahn. Books illustrated by Shahn are treasures! Strongly influenced by his early training in lithography, Shahn also was influenced by Diego Rivera (which whom he worked) and his fellow photographer, Walker Evans. These two scarce Christmas song books also show another, perhaps softer side of this artist. Of interest to Shahn collectors, as well as those seeking uncommon vintage and MidCentury Christmas books. less
- 8.5ʺW × 0.6ʺD × 7.25ʺH
- Excellent Minor wear consistent with age and history
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