Jacob Landau (1917 - 2001 )

Jacob Landau, a resident of Roosevelt, New Jersey in his later years, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 17, 1917. Landau was a distinguished painter and printmaker who received his diploma in illustration at the age of twenty-one from the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now known as The University of the Arts).(1) In 1943, at the age of twenty-six, Landau served the U.S. Army in World War II. While stationed in Italy, he created maps to show the positioning and routes of American troops.

After moving back to the United States in 1946, Landau decided to continue his education in the arts in Greenwich Village's New School for Social Research, now known simply as The New School. While living in New York, Landau worked as a graphic artist for the magazine At Ease. After completing his studies at The New School, he moved to Paris, France where he studied at the Academie de Grande Chaumiere for an additional four years.

Abstract Human Figures

Abstract Human Figures, n.d., watercolor on paper. Art © Estate of Jacob Landau/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

After his studies in Paris, Landau returned to New York. He would go on to become a Professor in the Graphic Arts Department at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Just ten miles away in Flushing, New York, he and his wife Frances raised their two boys, Jonas and Stefan.(2) Later in life, Landau moved to Roosevelt, New Jersey, where he lived until his death on November 24, 2001, at the age of 85. The artist is buried in the tiny Roosevelt Cemetery in Western Monmouth County near his friends and fellow artists Ben Shahn and Gregorio Prestopino.(3)

As an artist, Landau was nothing less than a success. In 1963, he won the Watercolor Prize. At the end of his term at Pratt Institute in 1980, he received the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Often characterized as a "mid-career" award, the Guggenheim Fellowship is intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.(4) Landau's work was shown worldwide in over 30 one-man shows and 200 group exhibitions. His work remains in the permanent collections of museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum.(5) Two of Landau's most famous lithograph prints, Boxer (1960) and Earth Mother (1969), were commissioned pieces for NBC and Associated American Artists of New York.(2)

(Daniel Moran, Spring 2009)


(1) Ask Art website (see link below).

(2,3) Linda Denicola. "Artist Jacob Landau gone, but his work survives 85-year-old Roosevelt." News Transcript 9 (Jan. 2002). See link below.

(4) Guggenheim Foundation website:

(5) Jacob Landau website:

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