Mitchell Siporin


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Painter and printmaker. His expressionistic realism, inspired by the Mexican mural movement of the 1930s, harnesses the formal experimentation of modernism to socially meaningful, often leftist content. Born in New York, he grew up in Chicago, where he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and with Ukrainian-born printmaker and painter Todros Geller (1889–1949). In the 1930s he worked in Chicago on federal art projects, painting murals such as the multipanel Teaching of the Arts (1938) at Lane Technical High School. Generally, as here, his figural compositions rely on simple, ample forms, but he sometimes used a more agitated style, lending support to content that revealed human suffering and drama. In easel paintings, Siporin often modified his social realism to work somewhat more imaginatively, fabricating elements that enhance the impact of his themes, as in The Refugees (Museum of Modern Art, 1939). During World War II he served as an artist with the U.S. Army. For more than twenty years before his death, he taught at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He lived in nearby Newton and died in Boston.

Subjects: Art.

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