1956.184 A & B together
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Ben Shahn, American (Kovno (now Kaunas), Lithuania 1898 - 1969 New York, NY)
Sacco and Vanzetti: Caption
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Caption/Inscription for Sacco and Vanzetti
Work Type
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Black ink on cream wove paper
5.2 x 21.5 cm (2 1/16 x 8 7/16 in.)
[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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Text reads: "If it had not been for these thing [sic], I might have live [sic] out my life talking / at street corners to scorning men. I might have die [sic], unmarked, unknown, a failure. / Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in / our full life could we hope to do such work for tolerance, for joostice [sic], / for man's understanding of man as now we do by accident. Our words-- / our lives-- our pains nothing! The taking of our lives-- lives of a good / shoemaker and a poor fish peddler-- all! That last moment belongs / to us-- that agony is our triumph." / --Bartolomeo Vanzetti
Publication History

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

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

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

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu