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Crawford, Ralston (1906-1978), painter and photographer  

Paul Betz

Crawford, Ralston (25 September 1906–27 April 1978), painter and photographer, was born George Ralston Crawford in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, the son of George Burson Crawford, a ship’s captain, and Lucy Colvin. In 1910 the family moved to Buffalo, New York, where Crawford grew up. In high school his flair for illustration drew encouragement from teachers; for two years following his graduation in 1924 he remained at the school to take additional art courses. In 1926 he shipped out from New York City on a United Fruit Company vessel and sailed on tramp steamers for a year until he decided to stay in Los Angeles to continue his training in art. After a brief stint at ...


Cover Jackson, William Henry (1843-1942)

Jackson, William Henry (1843-1942)  


W. H. Jackson. With his mother, wife, and child. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-D428-464).


Jackson, William Henry (1843-1942), photographer and painter  

Kathleen Butler

Jackson, William Henry (04 April 1843–30 June 1942), photographer and painter, was born in Keeseville, New York, the son of George Hallock Jackson, a blacksmith and carriage builder, and Harriet Maria Allen. Jackson’s academic education ended when he was about sixteen. His mother taught him to draw and paint in watercolor. She presented him with a copy of ...


Cover Man Ray (1890-1976)

Man Ray (1890-1976)  

Maker: Carl Van Vechten


Man Ray Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1934. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-63265).


Man Ray (1890-1976), artist and photographer  

Martin R. Kalfatovic

Man Ray (27 August 1890–18 November 1976), artist and photographer, was born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Melach Radnitsky (later Max Ray), a tailor, and Manya “Minnie” Louria (or Lourie), both Russian-Jewish immigrants. In 1897 the family moved to Brooklyn. After high school young Emmanuel was awarded a scholarship to study architecture at New York University. Deciding to pursue a career as an artist, he attended classes at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League. He was temperamentally unsuited to the rigors of the academic styles favored by these institutions, however, and so enrolled in the Ferrer Center, where ...


Moholy-Nagy, László (1895-1946), artist  

Belena S. Chapp

Moholy-Nagy, László (20 July 1895–24 November 1946), artist, was born László Weisz in Bácsborsod, a small village in southern Hungary, the son of Lipót Weisz, who was probably a wheat farmer, and Karolina Stern. His father abandoned the family and went to the United States in 1897. After the father’s disappearance, László’s mother moved him and his younger brother first to nearby Ada and then to the town of Mohol (now in Yugoslavia). By 1905 he was attending a Gymnasium in Szeged (at the time the second largest city in Hungary) and living with his maternal uncle Dr. Gusztav Nagy, a lawyer whose last name he adopted. Although born Jewish, he was raised a Calvinist. He drew and painted from the time he was six or seven, but as an adolescent he expressed his creative tendencies through writing poems and short stories, several of which were published in magazines and newspapers in Szeged. In 1913 he graduated from college preparatory high school and moved to Budapest, where he enrolled in law school at Magyar Királyi Tudományegyetem, the Royal Hungarian University of Sciences....


Cover Shahn, Ben (12 September 1898–14 March 1969)

Shahn, Ben (12 September 1898–14 March 1969)  


Ben Shahn Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-120969).


Shahn, Ben (12 September 1898–14 March 1969), painter and graphic artist  

Frances K. Pohl

Shahn, Ben (12 September 1898–14 March 1969), painter and graphic artist, was born Benjamin Shahn in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, the son of Hessel Shahn, a carpenter and woodcarver, and Gittel Lieberman. Kovno was located in the area of czarist Russia known as the Pale of Settlement, where Russian Jews were legally allowed to settle. In 1906 the family was forced to flee the pogroms, government-sponsored massacres of Jews, that swept through the Pale at the turn of the century. They took refuge in the United States and settled in Brooklyn. In 1913 Shahn was taken out of school and began an apprenticeship as a lithographer at Hessenberg’s Lithography Shop in Manhattan. During the next four years he not only mastered the skill of lettering but also developed a distinctive, incised line that would become a hallmark of his later work as a painter and graphic artist. During his apprenticeship he also attended night school in order to complete his high school diploma and enrolled briefly, in November 1916, in classes at the Art Students League in New York....


Cover Sheeler, Charles (1883-1965)

Sheeler, Charles (1883-1965)  


Charles Sheeler. Pastel on paper, 1924, by Charles Sheeler. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; donated in memory of the Charles Carroll Simms family.


Sheeler, Charles (1883-1965), painter and photographer  

Carol Troyen

Sheeler, Charles (16 July 1883–07 May 1965), painter and photographer, was born Charles Rettew Sheeler, Jr., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Rettew Sheeler, an employee of the Clyde Line of Norfolk, a steamship company, and Mary Cunningham. His family was solidly middle class. After attending local high schools Sheeler (with his parents’ encouragement) attempted to enroll at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts but was dissuaded by its director. He instead began his artistic training at the School of Industrial Art, affiliated with the Pennsylvania (now Philadelphia) Museum of Art. Three years later, in 1903, he again sought training at the Pennsylvania Academy. There he met Morton Schamberg, with whom he worked closely for the next fifteen years. Both students came under the influence of ...