Blind Accordion Player (1945) by Ben Shahn

Blind Accordion Player - Ben Shahn - 1945

Artwork Information

TitleBlind Accordion Player
ArtistBen Shahn
MediumTempera on board
Dimensions25 1/2 x 38 1/4 in
Current LocationNeuberger Museum of Art, State University of New York at Purchase

About Blind Accordion Player

Ben Shahn’s “Blind Accordion Player” is a tempera color painting that depicts an emotionally charged image of a blind accordion player. The painting was created in 1945 and evokes a sense of empathy for the subject, portraying his isolation and loneliness through the use of colors and shadows.

Shahn was a social realist painter who often depicted themes related to Jewish history and culture, which he himself identified with as part of his Jewish heritage. His work captured the struggles and realities faced by marginalized communities during the early to mid-twentieth century America.

The painting is part of a larger collection designed to highlight Shahn’s broader artistic oeuvre, including photography, printmaking, and teaching. Perhaps what makes this painting unique is that it was also featured in one of Shahn’s photographs taken in New York in 1932. This repetition reinforces the importance of capturing mundane moments that capture an individual’s essence while providing glimpses into their life stories.

Overall, Ben Shahn’s “Blind Accordion Player” remains as powerful today as when it was first created over seventy-five years ago. It continues to convey themes related to human dignity, compassion for those less fortunate than us, and serves as an excellent example of social realism at its best – showcasing how art can foster meaningful connections between disparate individuals regarding emotional content without any need for words or direct communication whatsoever.

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