Michael Lenson [1903-1971] American Realist Genre painting of Woman from Shulem circa 1940

Michael Lenson [1903-1971] American Realist Genre painting of Woman from Shulem circa 1940

$4,200

Out of stock

Weight 25 lbs
Dimensions 35 × 8 × 48 in
 oil on canvas
36 inches x 24 inches
untouched condition
period  Frame made by artist
titled on the back “Return ,Return, O Shulemite”

Michael Lenson (1903-1971) has gained widespread recognition as one of America’s most important realist painters.Born in Russia, Lenson emigrated to America in 1911. While a student at the National Academy of Design in 1928, he won the coveted $10,000 Chaloner Paris Prize which paid for four years of study in London (Slade School of Art), Paris (Academie des Beaux Arts) and the Netherlands. While abroad, his works were exhibited in the Autumn and Spring Parisian Salons and other venues.Upon his return to America, Lenson won critical acclaim in one-man shows in Manhattan’s Kende, Bonestell and other galleries. When the Great Depression struck, he became director of WPA mural projects for the state of New Jersey. He completed major murals for Newark City Hall, The Verona Sanatorium, Weequahic High School in Newark, New Jersey, and the Post Office in Mount Hope, West Virginia. Who Was Who in American Art calls Lenson “New Jersey’s most important muralist.”

Michael Lenson was a man of many talents. “The Realm of Art,” a weekly column he wrote for The Newark Sunday News from 1956-1971, established Lenson as “New Jersey’s most distinguished art critic,” according to scholar William Gerdts.

Lenson painted and exhibited extensively until his death in 1971. His works are in the collections of the RISD Museum, The Maier Museum of American Art, The Johnson Museum at Cornell, The Newark Museum, The Montclair Art Museum, the Wolfsonian Collection and many others.

EXHIBITIONS AND MURAL INSTALLATIONS:

Selected Exhibitions:
Rochester Memorial Gallery, NY, n.d.
Goupil Galleries, London, 1928-29
Salon d’Automne, Paris, 1928-29
Salon Printemps, Paris, 1928-29
Caz-Delbo Gallery, NY, 1933 (solo)
The Wanamaker Regional Art Exhibition, 1934
Museum of Modern Art, 1935
Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1935, 1938
American Artists Congress, 1939, 1940
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1939, 1948
Newark Preparatory School, 1940 (solo)
“The Women,” Associated American Artists, NY, circa 1940s
“The American Mining Scene,” American British Art Center, NY, 1941
Carnegie Institute, 1943, 1949, 1950
Newark Museum, 1940, 1941, 1944-1946, 1952, 1955, 1961, 1964, 1965
Midtown Galleries, NYC, 1944
Riverside Museum, NYC, I944-1946, 1950
“Tribute to FDR,” Vanderbilt Gallery, 1944
Bonestell Gallery, NYC, 1947 (solo)
Laurel Gallery, NYC, 1950 (solo)
Kende Gallery, NYC, 1951 (solo)
Newark Jewish Center, 1951
Montclair Art Museum, NJ, 1953, 1957-1959, 1961-1963, 1970 (solo)
Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1955
Hunterdon County Art Center, 9th Annual New Jersey Exhibition, 1962
Cober Gallery, NYC, 1962 (solo)
Providence (Rhode Island) Art Club, 1963
New York World’s Fair, New Jersey Pavilion, 1964
Glassboro State College, NJ, 1965 (solo)
Butler Institute of American Art, 1965
“WPA Artists Then and Now,” Essex County YM-YWHA, NJ, October 29-November 26, 1967
Trenton Museum, 1968, 1970
Ringwood Association of the Arts, 1975 (solo)
“New Deal for Art,” Rutgers University, NJ, 1980
William Paterson College, NJ, 1986 (solo retrospective)
“Painting America: Mural Art in the New Deal Era,” Midtown Galleries and Janet Marqusee
Fine Arts, NYC, 1988
“New Jersey by Day, New York by Night,” Susan Teller Gallery, NYC, 1991
“Michael Lenson: Real and Surreal,” Rutgers University, NJ, Hunterdon Art Center, NJ,
Monmouth County Museum, NJ, 1993
“Surrealism in America During the 1930 and 1940s,” Dalvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL,
1999
“Art of the People,” U.S. Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 1999
Mural Commissions:
“New Jersey History,” Essex Mountain Sanitorium, Verona, NJ, 1936 (destroyed)
“History of the Enlightenment of Man,” Weequahic High School, Newark, NJ, 1939 (extant)
“New Jersey Agriculture and Industry,” New Jersey Pavilion, New York World’s Fair, 1939
(destroyed)
“History of Newark,’ Newark City Hall, 1941 (extant) “Mining,” Mount Hope, West Virginia
Post Office, 1942 (extant)
“Electronics,” Electronic Corporation of America, New York (believed destroyed)
“Lincoln and Douglas,” Charlton Street School, Newark
“The Four Freedoms,” 14th Avenue School, Newark

Lenson also supervised the design and execution of murals now installed in over 15 public buildings throughout New Jersey comprising the major part of all mural decorations done in the state.

ARTICLES:
At the Bonestell Gallery. Art Digest, February 1, 1947, p.22
All in a Days Work at the WPA. Newark Evening News, December 3, 1940
Artist Speaks at Mural Ceremony. Newark Evening News, April 5, 1993 Brooklyn Artist
Wins $6,000 Prize. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 25, 1928 Chaloner Prize Awarded. New York
World, May 25, 1928
Freeholders Invite You to Murals Unveiling. Newark Evening News, November 17, 1936
Architecture, Art, Life by F. A. Gutheim, Magazine of Art, May 30, 1937
Jersey Murals Rushed for Opening of Fair. The Newark Ledger, April 26, 1939
Michael Lenson Will Have Show at New York Gallery. Nutley Sun, January 31, 1947
Michael Lenson to Have Show; Dutch Canvases to Be Seen Here. Newark Sunday News,
January 19, 1947
Michael Lenson. Art News, February 1947
Mural Dedication Set for Tuesday. Newark Evening News, April 1, 1939 Nation Becoming
More Art-Conscious, Lenson Says. Atlantic City Press, March 29, 1941
News Art Critics Paintings to be Shown in Montelair. Newark Sunday News, October 18,
1970
Science Speeds Art for Fair Building. Newark Evening News, April, 1939
Series of Murals to be Given City. Newark Evening News, June 6, 1941
Some words well worth a thousand pictures … Newark Sunday Star-Ledger, November 1, 1970

Biography from Williams American Art Galleries

Michael Lenson is a painter in realist style.  In 1928, he was a struggling art student sharing a New York City cold-water flat with artists Louis Guglielmi and Gregorio Prestopino.  In that year Lenson’s life was to change dramatically when he was awarded the Chaloner Prize for Painting from the Chaloner Foundation.  This award enabled the Russian-born artist to return to Europe for four years of travel and study.Besides enrollment at the University of London’s Slade School and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Lenson also managed to visit and study art in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.  This was the start of his lifelong commitment to the traditions of Renaissance painting.  As time went on, this imaginative and intellectual artist also explored and experimented with new modernist ideas. However, no matter what mode he worked in—realism, cubism or surrealism—he was consistent in his dedication to the premise that his art was to be about people and ideas.After four years abroad, Lenson returned to New York and had his first one-man exhibition, which opened to positive reviews.  He won critical acclaim for his one-man shows in Manhattan’s Kende, Bonestell and other galleries.  Unfortunately good reviews did not feed artists in those bleak Depression days and the emergence of the WPA Federal Arts Project proved to be another blessing for Lenson.

He is best remembered for his significant contribution to the 1930s mural movement; Who Was Who in American Art names Lenson “New Jersey’s most important muralist.”  As supervisor for the New Jersey’s Mural and Easel Division under the auspices of the Federal Art Projects, he was responsible for the execution of more than 15 murals in that state (many still extant) as well as one for the Mount Hope, West Virginia Post Office and New Jersey Pavilion of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  He also completed major murals for Newark City Hall, The Verona Sanitarium and Weeqhahic High School in Newark.

After the demise of the WPA, Lenson was appointed director of the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts and taught painting at Rutgers University and the Montclair Art Museum.  From 1955 until his death he was well known as the art critic for the Newark Sunday News in which he wrote the weekly column, “The Realm of Art.”   Scholar William Gerdts called Lenson “New Jersey’s most distinguished art critic” in response to his column.

Studied:
National Academy of Design, 1920 (Chaloner Prize to study in Paris, 1928)
Slade School, University of London, c. 1928
Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, c. 1930

Member:
New Jersey Art Association
National Society of Mural Painters
Collaborative Group of Painters, Sculptors and Architects
American Artists Congress
Mural Artists Guild

Professional Associations:
Assistant Supervisor, Mural and Easel Division, WPA/FAP, New Jersey, 1936-1941
Director, Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, 1944-1946
Instructor, Rutgers University, 1950
Instructor, Montclair Art Museum, 1956
Art Critic, Newark Sunday News, 1955-1971

Work:
National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
Newark Museum
“New Jersey History,” Essex Mountain Sanatorium, Verona, NJ, 1936
New Jersey State Museum
Butler Institute of American Art
“History of Newark,” Newark City Hall, 1941
“Mining,” Mount Hope, WV Post Office, 1941
“Electronics,” Electronic Corporation of America, NY
“History of the Enlightenment of Man,” Weequahic High School, Newark, NJ
Wolfsonian Collection, Miami Beach, FL
Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey
Countrywide Funding Art Collection, Pasadena, CA
FDR Memorial Library, Hyde Park, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
“New Jersey Agriculture and Industry,” New Jersey Pavilion, NY World’s Fair, 1939
“Lincoln and Douglas,” Charlton Street School, “The Four Freedoms,” 14th Avenue
School, Newark, NJ
Library of Congress
Maier Museum of Art, Virginia
Rhode Island School of Design, Museum of Art
The National Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington D. C.
Numerous private collections

Exhibited:
Rochester Memorial Gallery, New York
Salon Printemps, Paris, 1928-1929
Salon d’Automne, Paris, 1928-1929
Goupil Galleries, London, 1928-1929
Caz-Delbo Gallery, NY, 1933 (solo)
The Wanamaker Regional Art Exhibition, 1934
Museum of Modern Art, 1935
Corcoran Gallery biennials, 1935, 1938, 1947
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1939, 1948
American Art Congress, 1939, 1940
Newark Prepatory School, 1940 (solo)
“The Women,” Association of American Artists, New York, c. 1940s
“The American Mining Scene,” American British Art Center, NY, 1941
Carnegie Institute, 1943, 1949, 1950
Bonestell Gallery, NY, 1947 (solo)
Newark Museum of Art, 1940, 1941, 1944-1946, 1952, 1955, 1961, 1964, 1965
Midtown Galleries, New York City, 1944
Riverside Museum, 1944-1946, 1950
“Tribute to FDR,” Vanderbilt Gallery, 1944
Laurel Gallery, New York City, 1950 (solo)
Kende Gallery, New York City, 1951 (solo)
Newark Jewish Center, 1951
Albright Art Gallery, New York, 1955
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1955
New York City Center, 1955
Montclair Art Museum, 1953 (2nd Prize), 1957-58 (1st Prize), 1959, 1961-63, 1970 (solo)
Bamberger Exhibition, 1957, 1960 (Purchase Prize)
Jersey City Museum, 1958 (“Artist of the Year”)
Butler Institute of American Art, 1958, 1965
Hunterdon County Art Center, 9th Annual New Jersey Exhibition, 1962
Cober Gallery, New York City, 1962 (solo)
Providence Art Club, 1963
World’s Fair, New York, 1964
Glassboro State College, New Jersey, 1965 (solo)
“WPA Artists Then and Now,” Essex County YM-YWHA, NJ, Oct 29-Nov 26, 1967
Trenton Museum, 1968, 1970
Ringwood Association of the Arts, 1975 (solo)
“New Deal for Art,” Rutgers University, New Jersey, 1980
William Paterson College, New Jersey, 1986 (solo retrospective)
“New Jersey by Day, New York by Night,” Susan Teller Gallery, New York, 1991
“Painting America: Mural Art in the New Deal Era,” Midtown Galleries and Janet Marqusee
Fine Arts, New York, 1988
Janet Marqusee Fine Arts, New York, 1993 (1930s-1950s retrospective, traveled to Rutgers
University, 1994)
“Michael Lenson: Real and Surreal,” Rutgers University, New Jersey, Hunterdon Art Center
Monmouth County Museum, New Jersey, 1993
“Surrealism in America During the 1930 and 1940s,” Salvador Dali Museum, Florida, 1999
“Art of the People,” U. S. Library of Congress, Washington D. C., 1999

References:
Marqusee,  “Real and Surreal: Paintings from the 30s, 40s, and 50s”
Leventhal, Small Miracles of Love and Friendship
Dunbier (ed.), The Artists  Bluebook: 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005
Falk, Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975
Gerdts, Painting and Sculpture in New Jersey
Mallett, Mallett’s Index of Artists: International – Biographical
Marqusee, A Significant Score: American Painting of the 1930s and 1940s
Marqusee, Fifteen Americans: Artists of the 1930s and 1940s
Marqusee, Painting America: Mural Art in the New Deal Era
Melosh, Engendering Culture Manhood & Womanhood in New Deal Art & Theatre
Park and Markowitz, Democratic Vistas: Murals and Public Art in the New Deal
www.michaellenson.org and numerous newspaper articles