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Leon Golub Works

Leon Golub, Ho Chi Minh, 1976, Oil on linen, 21 1/2" x 16"

“The recurrently astonishing gaiety of Golub’s imagination, in dire neighborhoods of dirt and blood, advertises how free a mind may be that dares itself to welcome truths that are respectable exclusively in being true.” – Peter Schjeldahl for The New Yorker

Leon Golub - Don't Tread on Me, 2002, Oil stick and ink on bristol, 10" x 8"
Leon Golub Pierre Trudaeu 1962 Graphite on paper
Leon Golub - The Black Does Not Interrupt the Killing, 2002 Oil stick and ink on bristol 10" x 8"
Leon Golub - Le Dos Au Mur, 2002 Oil stick 10" x 8"

Leon Golub was an American painter known for his unflinching depictions of brutality and war. As evinced in his Mercenaries I (1976), a depiction of two Vietnam-era US soldiers carrying a charred body between them. “What is power? How is power shown?” the artist once asked. “Would we rather look at pretty colors and shapes? Do we flinch at seeing our own crimes and nightmares in ink?” Born on January 23, 1922 in Chicago, IL, he received a BA in art history from the University of Chicago before serving in the military. On the G.I. Bill, Golub received both his BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met his future wife the artist Nancy Spero. As the Vietnam War escalated, Golub’s belief that it was an artist’s responsibility to confront difficult issues faced by society, took hold of his work. Over the course of his career, the artist continued to address various factions of violence and abusers of power in his paintings, with depictions of Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon, terrorism, and police violence. Golub died on August 8, 2004 in New York, NY. In 2018, his works where the subject of a selective survey exhibition held the Met Breuer “Leon Golub: Raw Nerve.” Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.

Selected public collections

  • Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

  • Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

  • Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland

  • Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

  • Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas

  • Brooklyn Museum, New York

  • Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio

  • Des Moines Art Center, Iowa

  • Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

  • Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C.

  • Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii

  • Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana

  • Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana

  • Israel Museum, Jerusalem

  • Jewish Museum, New York

  • Kent State University, Ohio

  • Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California

  • Madison Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

  • Miami Art Museum, Florida

  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada

  • Musei Civici di Udine, Friuli, Italy

  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

  • Museum of Modern Art, New York

  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, California

  • Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Illinois

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

  • Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Illinois

  • Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom

  • Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

  • Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, Tennessee

  • Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio

  • University of California, Berkeley, California

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  • Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia, Canada

  • Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, Hanoi

  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Leon Golub

1922 - 2004

Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

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