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Biography of Irving Amen

Irving Amen is known as one of the most important printmakers in the United States. His deep love for mankind and hopeful attitude towards life emanates powerfully from his work. His universal appeal has brought him the broadest audience. 

Born in New York City in 1918, he began drawing at the age of four. A scholarship to the Pratt Institute was awarded to him when he was fourteen years old. With Michelangelo as his idol, he spent seven years in life classes perfecting his drawing.

From 1942 to 1945 he served with the Armed Forces. He headed a mural project and executed murals in the United States and Belgium. 

His first exhibition in woodcut was held at the New School for Social Research and his second at the Smithsonian Institute in 1949.

Amen studied in Paris in 1950. Upon his return to the United States, he had one man shows in New York and Washington DC.

In 1953, Amen traveled throughout Italy. This resulted in a series of eleven woodcuts, eight etchings and a number of oil paintings. One of these woodcuts, Piazza San Marco #4 and its four woodblocks constitute a permanent exhibit of block printing in color at the Smithsonian Institution.

Travel in Israel, Greece and Turkey in 1960 led to a retrospective show at the Artist's House in Jerusalem. His art is widely owned and loved. Irving Amen has taught at Pratt Institute and at the University of Notre Dame.  He had a show of woodcuts at the Artists Studio in NYC.

Commissions include a Peace Medal in honor of the Vietnam War. He created designs for 12 stained glass windows 16 feet high depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel, commissioned by  Agudas Achim Synagogue in Columbus, Ohio.

He is listed in Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers and the Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists by Paul Cummings.  He was elected member of Accademia Fiorentina Delle Arti Del Disegno, an organization to which Michelangelo belonged.

Amen illustrated the classic, Gilgamesh, for the Limited Editions Club.

Most major museums  have Irving Amen's in their collections.

Amen's deep love for mankind and hopeful attitude toward life emanate powerfully from his work.  The message is inseparable from the form and both communicate his feelings. 

Art in progress.

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Last Updated 12/24/2012