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Richard I. Cohen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190912628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190912628.001.0001

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Diana L. Linden, Ben Shahn’s New Deal Murals: Jewish Identity in the American Scene. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015. xi + 170 pp.

Diana L. Linden, Ben Shahn’s New Deal Murals: Jewish Identity in the American Scene. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015. xi + 170 pp.

Chapter:
Diana L. Linden, Ben Shahn’s New Deal Murals: Jewish Identity in the American Scene. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015. xi + 170 pp.
Source:
Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society
Author(s):
Richard I. Cohen
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190912628.003.0027

This chapter reviews the book Ben Shahn’s New Deal Murals: Jewish Identity in the American Scene (2015), by Diana L. Linden. Ben Shahn’s New Deal Murals is about Ben Shahn, whom Linden considers an American Jew rather than a Jewish American. Linden studies a few of Shahn’s murals and a related easel painting, all conceived or completed between 1933 and 1943. She focuses on four large projects (one unrealized) from the vantage point of Shahn’s Jewish identity and leftist politics, contextualizing the art alongside the history of the American Jewish experience. Working first and foremost as an art historian, she explores Shahn’s iconography and the desires of his patrons. According to Linden, Shahn’s art is “neither solely American nor solely Jewish but rather an alchemic combination of the two.”

Keywords:   Diana L. Linden, Ben Shahn’s New Deal Murals, iconography, New Deal, Ben Shahn, murals, Jewish identity, leftist politics

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