An original lithograph print, circa 1967, "Words of Maximus of Tyre", hand signed at lower right in soft pencil, stamped with the red chop mark, and annotated in pencil "Closing paragraph from Dissertatis VIII of Maximus of Tyre (2d Cent. A.D.)", by the important American Social Realist artist BEN SHAHN (1898-1969). Most of Shahn's prints were in editions of not more than 200; of some, less than 50 examples are known; and some are today very scarce. After an intense internet search, (though, not exhaustive), I find only one auction record for this particular print. The sheet measures 26" by 20 1/2" (unframed). It was obtained from a Marina del Rey (Los Angeles) estate from which I obtained a number of Shahn prints and other art by listed artists. The estate held items that had been inherited from Theodore and Alice Himelstein of New York; the Himelstein's were friends of Shahn, and some prints were inscribed to them (see another Shahn print, of Gandhi, in my shop). As the print has evidently been unframed for many years, it has acquired a lot of handling creases in the soft, yet thick paper, mostly extending in from the edges, and light soiling from handling. See photos especially of the edges. As it has been rolled, it was necessary to weigh down the corners with some quarters in order to photograph it flat. A desirable and scarce print by a major American artist. Framed, the edge imperfections will not be noticeable. Shahn was born in Lithuania and came to the United States as a child. After education at NYU and the National Academy of Design he went to Paris, meeting there many major figures of the 1920's art scene there. In 1933 Shahn assisted Diego Rivera on the famous Rockefeller Center mural. In later years, Shahn was familiar figure in the Social Realist fold, selectively accepting commissions for work that would further the humanistic causes he supported. The artist credited Walker Evans the photographer, Diego Rivera, and Jean Charlot for the influences they had on his artistic development. Shahn's paintings and signed prints sell regularly at major auctions in New York.
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