Search Results


Object Information:

Artist: Ben Shahn, American, born Russia (now Lithuania), 1898-1969

Sing Sorrow


Tempera on panel

26 x 39in (66 x 99.1cm)

Mary and Sylvan Lang Collection



On Exhibition  On view/Hamon Gallery 4

Further Information:

Ben Shahn painted Sing Sorrow after witnessing a banjo player weep as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's funeral train passed through Trenton, New Jersey. In Shahn's painting, the central figure pauses from his guitar to cover his face in a moment of grief. His anguished eyes, rendered in delicate and convergent lines, are the focal point of the composition. An ominous sky further emphasizes the painting's melancholic tone.

Born in what is now Lithuania, Ben Shahn and his family settled in New York in 1906. As a leading Social Realist painter during the Great Depression, Shahn gained a better understanding of the current political climate by sketching and painting individuals and events in the news. However, he went to great lengths to make his art politically neutral - he was impelled to tell a story, to draw the picture, but to leave conclusions to others.


© Estate of Ben Shahn/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Artist/Maker Bio

Shahn, Ben