Leon Golub

  • Born 1922 in Chicago, IL
  • Died 2004 in New York, NY

American painter Leon Golub first studied art history at the University of Chicago, and earned an MFA degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1950. During World War II he served as a cartographer in the U.S. Army, mostly stationed in Europe. After the war he worked as a teacher and received some attention for his early artistic work. From 1959 to 1964 he lived in Paris and later moved to New York. In 1959 his work was featured in the New Images of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among such artists as Willem de Kooning (1904–1997), Francis Bacon (1909–1992), and Jackson Pollock (1912–1956). As an active part of the Vietnam-era peace movement, Golub’s paintings were always engaged with themes of war, human brutality, and power. His large-scale paintings depict human figures and their brutal actions in an expressionistic style. He would scrape paint from the canvas to create a rough, blistered surface. Golub is also known for his portraits, based on photographs of powerful public figures. In 2000 the Dublin Museum of Modern Art honored him with a major retrospective.

Artworks by Leon Golub in the exhibition