Pedestrians by Jacob Kainen

Pedestrians by Jacob Kainen

Pedestrians

Jacob Kainen

Please call us at 707-546-7352 to purchase this item.
Title

Pedestrians

 
Artist

Jacob Kainen

  1909 - 2001 (biography)
Year
1955  
Technique
drypoint 
Image Size
7 7/8 x 6" platemark 
Signature
pencil, lower right margin 
Edition Size
35 
Annotations
dated after the signature; titled at lower sheet edge 
Reference
Flint 91 
Paper
antique-white wove Fabriano 
State
published 
Publisher
 
Inventory ID
JK110 
Price
$1,000.00 
Description

Balanced somewhere between surrealism, cubism, and symbolism, this small-format drypoint packs a mysterious narrative into a small, urban window. At first glance, it’s just a street scene: people stroll up a street with their late-afternoon shadows stretched alongside them. Closer inspection reveals buildings slightly askew, top heavy, taking on warped angles as if seen through a kaleidoscope. Floating throughout are symbols of unknown origin, and above, a looming jumble of dark clouds.

Throughout the piece, however, Kainen’s deliberate hand reigns in the chaos. Despite the cerebral cacophony of his composition, his elegant, deft style remains.

In 1927, Kainen entered Pratt as a painting student but he was so rebellious and impatient that his various antics gave cause for the administration to expel him three weeks before graduation in 1930. Kainen joined the John Reed Club and at the club’s meetings he met Diego Rivera, Henry Glintenkamp, George Ault, Hilaire Hiler, and Stuart Davis. In 1934, he had his first chance to exhibit at the American Artists School.

When the government sponsored Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project was inaugurated in 1935, Kainen registered for the graphics project. That same year he became a contributor to Art Front, the journal of the Artist’s Union and later served on its board. He also had his submissions accepted by The Daily Worker and The New Masses. In 1940, Kainen had his first solo exhibition mounted at the A.C.A. gallery.

In 1942, Kainen was hired as an aide in the Division of Graphic Arts at the U.S. National Museum (now the National Museum of American History) in Washington, D.C. and, in 1944, his job became permanent. Two years later he was appointed curator of the Division of Graphic Arts. The collection was in dire need of direction, growth, and conservation and Kainen flourished as its curator mounting monthly print exhibitions and acquiring works.

Jacob Kainen also worked as curator of prints and drawings for six years at the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) and he retired from the Smithsonian in 1970.

 

Please call us at 707-546-7352 to purchase this item.