constitute the tiniest lunatic fringe in the nation.”
from Jewish Artists of the Early and Late Renaissance
A Book of Etchings and Words. Gehenna Press, 1993.
'The enigmatic, humorous Jewish Artists of the Early & Late Renaissance, is written from the point of view of an imagined art historian, who acts as our guide through esoteric biographical details. This humorous work is in fact a fanciful pantheon of Jewish artists who might have flourished during the Renaissance, but didn’t.'
intelligently defined as a religion. I, a believing atheist, proudly
declare my jewishness. It is to Yiddish that my spirit warms;
to that heritage of persecution and sensual denial, that Yiddish
so richly expresses. Not religion, but religious texts: not beliefs
or superstition, fear or malignant custom, but the literacy, artistic,
cultural and human relics of that religion."
Baskin produced many of the prints for the more than 100 books that have been published in limited edition runs by Gehenna since it began. The above sampling seems a fair representation of the themes that run through Baskin's work: dark/nightmare images; natural history, people and more people and with a background and sometimes foreground vein from his Jewish heritage.
All the major art institutions and libraries of the world have works by Baskin who received countless awards for his books, prints and sculptures - which includes a bas relief (detail) for the FD Roosevelt Memorial and a bronze statue for the Michigan Holocaust Memorial. My understanding is that Gehenna Press is still operating in Massachusetts but they don't appear to have a devoted website.
- The images here come from Artifex: Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press, a great exhibition from a few years ago at Cornell University.
- R Michelson Galleries: Leonard Baskin - Sculpture, Watercolors and Fine Art Prints.
- Davidson Gallery selection of artworks - horizontal scroll.
- Leonard Baskin in memoriam by Michael Kuch.
- Biography and selection of graphics at Wolman Prints.