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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Ben Shahn, American (Kovno (now Kaunas), Lithuania 1898 - 1969 New York, NY)
Sacco and Vanzetti
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Black ink on pale buff wove paper
actual: 14.6 x 21.5 cm (5 3/4 x 8 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: black ink, l.r.: Ben Shahn
  • inscription: l.r., graphite: 9 [in circle]


Recorded Ownership History
[Downtown Gallery, New York, New York], sold to Paul J. Sachs, Cambridge Massachusetts (L. 2091), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1956.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Meta and Paul J. Sachs
© Estate of Ben Shahn / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Publication History

  • [Reproduction only], The Nation, (August 23, 1952)., reproduced on cover
  • The Art of Ben Shahn, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1956), no. 19 or 65 [two versions of catalogue]
  • James Thrall Soby, Ben Shahn: His Graphic Art, George Braziller, Inc. (New York, NY, 1957), reproduced no. 63
  • Ben Shahn, The Shape of Content (Cambridge, MA, 1957), reproduced p. 37
  • Sidney Simon and Emily S. Rauh, 20th Century Master Drawings, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1963), no. 112
  • Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, Peter G. Huenink, Earl A. Powell III, Harry Z. Rand, and Nanette C. Sexton, American Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), cat. 160, ill.
  • Kenneth W. Prescott, The Complete Graphic Works of Ben Shahn, Quadrangle (New York, NY, 1973), p. 33
  • Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., American Master Drawings and Watercolors: A History of Works on Paper from Colonial Times to the Present, Harper & Row (New York, NY, 1976), p. 341, fig. 301
  • Frances K. Pohl, Ben Shahn: New Deal Artist in a Cold War Climate, 1947-1954, University of Tennessee Press (Austin, TX, 1989), p. 128
  • Vivien Raynor, "Politics and Artists, Then and Now" [review], The New York Times (New York, NY, August 30, 1992), p. 20
  • In Good Conscience: The Radical Tradition in 20th-Century American Illustration, exh. cat., Katonah Museum of Art (Katonah, NY, 1992), ill.
  • Alejandro Anreus, Ben Shahn and The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, exh. cat., Jersey City Museum (Jersey City, NJ, 2001), checklist no. 11, repr. p. 87 (color), p. 120, also fig. 31
  • H. Harvard Arnason and Elizabeth Mansfield, History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Photography, Pearson Education, Inc. (Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2013), repr. as fig. 15.38 on p. 361
  • Christof Decker, "A Unique Universalism: Ben Shahn and the Rhetoric of Visual Anecdotes", Anecdotal Anglia Book Series, 68; Modernity: Making and Unmaking History, De Gruyter (Berlin and Boston, 2020), 68, pp. 272-274, fig. 2, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

  • The Art of Ben Shahn, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 12/04/1956 - 01/19/1957
  • Ben Shahn: A Documentary Exhibition, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Boston, 04/10/1957 - 05/31/1957
  • 20th Century Master Drawings, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 11/06/1963 - 01/05/1964; University of Minnesota Art Gallery, Minneapolis, 02/03/1964 - 03/15/1964; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/06/1964 - 05/24/1964
  • 10th Annual Exhibition-- Ben Shahn, Temple Beth El, Portland, 05/01/1971 - 05/31/1971
  • American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972
  • Politics as Catalyst for the Arts: The American Jewish Response, American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham, 02/24/1973 - 06/01/1973
  • Image of America in Caricature and Cartoon, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, 10/16/1975 - 12/14/1975; Fort Wayne Public Library, Fort Wayne, 02/02/1976 - 03/14/1976; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 10/13/1976 - 11/21/1976
  • In Good Conscience: The Radical Tradition in 20th-Century American Illustration, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, 08/16/1992 - 09/27/1992; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, 10/17/1992 - 12/26/1992; Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, 01/10/1993 - 02/21/1993
  • Ben Shahn and The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, 09/12/2001 - 12/16/2001

Related Works

Verification Level

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