NP: NP, 1972. Artist's Proof. Framed. Striking original colored woodcut depicting a young Jewish boy and girl reading and working under a tree. Three people are seen working in the background, while an Israeli flag is proudly flying under a rainbow. The lower portion of the artwork features a Sabbath candelabra, two birds, and the NFTY initials (National Federation of Temple Youth), a Reform Jewish community for high school students which commissioned Irving Amen for this work. The matted woodcut measures 17" X 12", and is titled and signed in pencil at lower margin. The wooden frame measures 25 2/8" x 20". A certificate of authenticity from Collier Art Corporation is pasted at verso of frame. Some water-staining along left side of mat (not affecting the artwork). Moderate and sporadic rubbing along edges of wooden frame. Frame in overall good, mat in fair, woodcut in fine condition. g to vg. Item #38592
About the artist: Irving Amen (1918-2011) was a painter, printmaker and sculptor often referenced as one of the most important printmakers in the United States. Born in New York City in 1918, he began 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. 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 Institution in 1949 and also exhibited at the Artists House in Jerusalem, the Library of Congress, and the National Academy of Design. Amen studied in Paris in 1950. Upon his return to the United States, he had one man shows in New York and Washington DC. In 1953, Amen traveled 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 color at the Smithsonian Institution. Travel in Israel, Greece and Turkey in 1960 led to a retrospective show at the Artist's House in Jerusalem. His art is widely owned and loved. 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. In 1974 he illustrated The Epic of Gilgamesh in linocuts and woodcuts for the Limited Editions Club. He designed a set of stained glass windows depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel for Agudas Achim Synagogue in Bexley, Ohio. His work often depicts themes of Judaism, chess, people, music, Italy and Don Quixote. In his later years he lived and worked in Boca Raton, Florida. Commissions include a Peace Medal in honor 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 organization to which Michelangelo belonged.