Jonathan Shahn (b.1938 )

The son of world-renowned artist Ben Shahn, Jonathan Shahn followed his father's footsteps into the world of art. Since the early 1960s, Jonathan Shahn has been taking the human figure and turning it into sculptures, paintings, and drawings. Shahn uses wood as the material for many of his sculptures because, as he says, it is a “slower, more resistant material” than many.

Shahn’s work calls to mind the sculptures of Giacometti, Marini, and Picasso. He has exhibited his work regularly in the United States and in Europe. Recent one-man shows of his work have been held at Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, in 2001 and at O’Hara Gallery, New York, in 1999. Shahn has also taught sculpture and drawing at such schools as the Tyler School in Rome, Boston University, and the Maryland Institute. He lives and works in Roosevelt, New Jersey. (CPN)

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Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1961-1962, bronze, 5 feet tall. Roosevelt Elementary School, Roosevelt (Monmouth County). Photograph © Douglas Petersen.

One of Jonathan Shahn’s best known sculptures is his massive bronze bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Jersey City (shown above). A simplified image depicting only a head, it is typical of much of Shahn's work. The head of Roosevelt is approximately 5 feet high.

Shahn, now in his sixties, recently completed a major project for the New Jersey Transit Authority in Jersey City, New Jersey. This project was to commemorate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the two pieces making up this piece of art is a masterfully sculpted bronze head of Martin Luther King, Jr. resting on a seven foot granite base. The second piece, placed several feet away, shows several famous quotations from the civil rights movement along with stories of the civil rights struggle. (CPN)

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