Leon Bibel

Leon Bibel (1913–1995) was a Polish-born American painter and printmaker during the Great Depression. His themes were the social condition of workers and the politics of protest and war, although cityscapes and landscapes were included among his works. He later developed works in wood of especially Jewish themes. These included fanciful miniature buildings influenced by European spice boxes, figures and objects within shadow boxes, and in one case a synagogue ark.

Leon Bibel was born in Poland, growing up in the shtetl of Szczebrzeszyn. He immigrated to the United States with his family. After graduating from Polytechnic High School in San Francisco, he trained at the California School of Fine Arts and apprenticed under the German Impressionist Maria Riedelstein and assisted Bernard Zakheim (a student of Diego Rivera), on the frescoes of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center and the University of California at San Francisco's Toland Hall. He resided in New York beginning in 1936 as a WPA artist of the Federal Art Project at the Harlem Community Art Center in New York City. He also taught art at both P.S. 94 and Bronx House. At the start of the Second World War, he and a number of other New York artists moved to South Brunswick, New Jersey, to make a living as chicken farmers.By the 1960s, Bibel returned to art, focusing on wood-based sculptures. Leon was also inspired by his friendship with his next-door neighbor, the famous Sculptor, George Segal. George was a great admirer of Leon’s work and asked Leon to pose for several of his own major works.

Bibel's work may be found in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the B'nai Brith's Klutznick Museum, and the museums of Rutgers University and Princeton Universities. Most recently his work has been exhibited at the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the High Museum of Atlanta.

­

Sam Scans and Leon 5.jpg

Leon Bibel: Art & Activism in the WPA
by Phyllis Wrynn

COLLECTIONS

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
British Museum
New York Public Library, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and

Photographs: Print Collection, New York City
Huntington Library, San Marino, California
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Reba and David Williams (American Screenprints)
Needles Collection, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago
Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey
Zimmerli Art Museum of Rutgers, The State University, New Brunswick, NJ The Wolfsonian FIU Museum, Miami Beach, FL
Klutznick Museum, Washington D.C.
Provincetown Art Association & Museum
The Art Collection of the Federal Reserve Board
Federal Reserve Bank, Washington D.C.
Rider College, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Provincetown Art Association & Museum
Outlines, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
T.A. Chapman Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
American Way, Russell Wright
Sun Oil Company
Public Service Electric and Gas Company, Newark, New Jersey Georgetown University
State Theater, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Mr. Ralph Vorhees, Highland Park, New Jersey
J & J Corporate, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Mr. Joseph Perricone, Stockton, New Jersey
North Brunswick Township Government and Community Complex
Pfizer Chemical
Miami Fine Arts Collection
Leon Bibel Collection of Children’s Linocuts: New York City WPA Federal

Art Project: Gift made to the Children’s Museum of Art/NYC

EXHIBITIONS

DePaul Art Museum
Ink Paper Politics: WPA-Era Printmaking 2014

Park Slope Gallery
Still...Life: An Exploration of the Art of the Still Life 2014

Zimmerli Art Museum
A Place in America:
Celebrating the Legacy of Ralph & Barbara Voorhees 2014

University of Richmond Museums
Leon Bibel: Art, Activism, and the WPA 2013

Park Slope Gallery
Spring into Summer 2013 Leon Bibel: 1930s New York City Summer/Nudes

Park Slope Gallery
Leon Bibel: At the Movies 2012

The Borowsky Gallery at the Gershman Y, Philadelphia, PA
Leon Bibel: Art and Activism in the WPA 2011

Asheville Art Museum
Artists at Work: American Printmakers and the WPA 2011

Park Slope Gallery
Leon Bibel: A New Appreciation: Early 1960’s Paintings/
Later Sculptures 2010

Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond
Eye of the Collector: Works on Paper from
the Sigmund R. Balka Collection 2010

Park Slope Gallery
Leon Bibel 1960’s Paintings 2010

British Museum, London, England
The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock 2008

Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
Pressed in Time: American Prints 1905-1950 2007

Museum of the City of New York
Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War 2007

Park Slope Gallery
Performing Arts: A Celebration of Performance
Through the Fine Arts 2006

Craig F. Starr Gallery
American Modernism: Paintings, Drawings and Prints 2005

Park Slope Gallery
Artist as Subject: The Studio as Inspiration 2004

Park Slope Gallery
Images of Protest – Images of War, 1936-2002 2003

The Cleveland Museum of Art
From Rembrandt to Rauschenberg:
Recently Acquired Prints 2000

Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX
A Democratic Voice: American Prints from the 1930s 1998

Newark Museum
At the Movies: Edward Hopper’s “The Sheridan Theatre” 1997

Metropolitan Museum of Art
W.P.A. Color Prints: Images from the Federal Art Project 1996

Allan P. Kirby Arts Center Gallery, The Lawrenceville School, NJ
Leon Bibel: Early Work, Late Work 1995

Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University
New Jersey Designer Craftsmen 1995

Krasdale Gallery
The Art of Justice: Part II 1995

Pfizer, Inc.
AD•VANCES (from the Art Advisory Service of the
Museum of Modern Art) 1994

Park Slope Gallery
Retrospective of the WPA era works; Solo 1994

Rabbet Gallery
Rabbet at Ten: An Anniversary Celebration 1994

Allan P. Kirby Art Center Gallery
Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ
Leon Bibel and Riva Helford: Social Realism and the
WPA Era American Art from the ‘30s and ‘40s 1993

Hunterdon Art Center
Leon Bibel: Then and Now; Solo 1993

The Allen P. Kirby Arts Center Gallery
Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ
Leon Bibel: Wood Constructions; Solo 1992

The Gallery at Bristol Meyers Squibb, Princeton, NJ
Master Prints from the Rutgers Center
for Innovative Printmaking 1992

Klutznick Museum, Washington D.C.
Group Show 1992

The Art Collection of the Federal Reserve Board
5 Years of Accessions 1992

Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX
Prints and People Narrative in American Printmaking,
1900-1945 1992

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
American Screenprints: 1930s – 1960s 1991

Noyes Museum, Oceanville, NJ
New Jersey Masters 1991

Hillsborough Library
Eight Mother Goose Sculptures; Solo 1991

J & J Headquarters, Piscataway, NJ 1991

TAWA Challenge Exhibit at Glassboro
Wilson Art Gallery 1991

Trenton City Museum
TAWA Challenge Exhibit at Ellarslie: The Artist’s
Personal Metaphor 1991

South Brunswick Public Library, South Brunswick, NJ
Twelve Mother Goose Sculptures; Solo 1990-91

Mercer County Community College, Trenton, NJ
New Jersey Masters 1990

TAWA at Ellarslie Museum, Trenton, NJ
Four Person Show 1990

DuPont Circle Fine Art Galleries – Brody’s Gallery
Bones 1990

Sragow Gallery, New York City, NY
Leon Bibel: Screenprints and Lithographs
from the 1930’s; Solo 1989

South Brunswick Public Library
Group Exhibition 1989

Bethesda Art Gallery
Selected American Prints II 1988

Federal Reserve Program, Washington D.C.
American Screenprints 1988

Mercer County Community College
Labor Through the Eyes of New Jersey Artists 1988

Rabbet Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ
New Jersey Masters 1988

Rutgers Labor Education Center, New Brunswick, NJ
Leon Bibel: New Deal Art Paintings and Prints;
Solo 1988

Mortimer Gallery
Group Show 1987

National Academy of Design, New York, NY American Screen Prints 1987

Rider College
Inaugural Exhibition 1987

Noyes Museum
New Jersey Arts Annual: Painting, Sculpture, and
Works on Paper 1986

Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University
American Printmaking: 1870 – 1950 1986

Holman Hall Art Gallery
Metalwork: An Exhibition of Pieces for the Body
and Small Sculpture 1985

Trenton State College, Trenton, NJ
Group Show 1985

Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ
Solo Show (Sculpture) 1984

Bethesda Art Gallery, Bethesda, Maryland
Mediums of Printmaking 1984

Mortimer Gallery, Bernardville, NJ
Springtime Fantasies: Hanging Wood Sculptures
by Leon Bibel ; Solo 1984

Rider College, Lawrenceville, NJ
Leon Bibel: Paintings of the 30’s/Sculptures of the 80’s;
Solo 1983

Artspace Middlesex
Group Show: On and Of Paper 1981

Somerstown Gallery, Somerstown, NY
Five Artists - The Depression Years 1980

Somerstown Gallery, Somerstown, NY
Oils, Silk screens, Lithographs 1980

Gallery 86, New Brunswick, NJ
Group Show 1980

PSE&G, Newark, NJ
Group Show 1980

Hahn Gallery, Germantown, PA
Leon Bibel: Images in Wood; Solo 1979

International Business Machines
One Man Sculpture Show 1978

New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
Sculptures by Leon Bibel & Judith Peck 1978

Rutgers - The State University, New Brunswick, NJ
Arts for a Summer Evening: Leon Bibel, Sculptures; Solo 1978

Walters Hall Gallery, Douglass College
Images in Wood; Solo 1978

Monmouth College
Festival of Fine Arts 1969

Hunterdon Art Center
16th Annual New Jersey State Exhibition of
Painting and Sculpture 1969

Newark Museum
Group Show 1967

Jersey City Museum
Group Show 1967

Highgate Gallery
One-Man Show of Paintings 1966

Monmouth College
Festival of Fine Arts 1965

Douglass College Art Gallery
New Jersey Tercentary Regional Exhibit
Second Prize Winner 1964

Jersey City Museum
The Painters and Sculptors Society of New Jersey – 24th
Annual National Exhibition 1965

Newark Museum
Triennial: Work by New Jersey Artists 1964

Monmouth College Festival of Fine Arts

South River Jewish Center Group Show

Kenmore Gallery, Philadelphia, PA 1964

Associated American Artists
The Silk Screen Group: Exhibition of Prints 1943

Morton Gallery
Silk Screen Group 1942-1943

Serigraph Society of New York (traveling group show) 1942-1943

F.A.R. Gallery 1942

The Oklahoma Art Center WPA Art Program
The 3rd Annual Competitive Exhibition of Lithography 1941

World’s Fair 1940 Demonstration of printmaking processes and printed out “Queer Birds,” a stone lithograph, at that session.

Brooklyn Museum
Silk Screen Group Show 1940

Rockefeller Center
The United American Artists Annual Exhibition
Group Show 1940

Federal Art Gallery
Oils, Watercolors, Prints and Sculpture by Artist
Teacher of the Art Teachers Division 1939

A.C.A. Gallery
Fourth Annual Competitive Exhibition for a
First One-Man Show 1939

A.C.A. Gallery
Third Annual Competitive Exhibition for a
First One-Man Show 1938

A.C.A. Gallery
Oils, Drawings, Watercolors, Tempuras 1936

LECTURES, TALKS, PUBLICATIONS, and Film

American Screenprints by Reba and Dave Williams, National Academy of Design (1987) Studio Lecture for Rider College (1991)
San Francisco Murals: Community Creates Its Muse 1914-1990 by Timothy W. Drescher (1991) Studio Lecture, Art From Chicken Coop to Cityscape (1992)

Pressed in Time: American Prints 1905-1950 by Jessica Todd Smith and Kevin M. Murphy, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery (2007)

The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock by Stephen Coppel (2008)
Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History by Richard Haw, Routledge (2008)
Painting the American Scene: American Art of the Thirties and Forties by Arthur Hittner (2008) The Living New Deal: Internet archive, livingnewdeal.berkeley.edu
Film: Leon Bibel: Art and Activism in the WPA. Phyllis Wrynn (2013)
Ink Paper Politics WPA-Era Printmaking from The Needles Collection (2014)
Social Concern and Left Politics in Jewish American Art 1880-1940; by Matthew Baigell (2015)

PARTIAL LIST OF ADDITIONAL PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

Colleen May
Dr. Paul Edelson and Dr. Ingrid Rosner Peter Bray and Bridget Reel
David and Sally Wilburn
Leslie Newman and Joel Copperman Kathleen Drapeau
Bill and Kathy Weigel
Leslie Puth
Beth Stewart and Mikael Salovaara Judy Rhodes
Deborah Rosenstock
Liz Harvey
Dr. Deirdre Kidder
Dr. Jay Smith
Rob Stulberg and Mickey Green Susan Slater
Mindy Turbov
Richard Molloy and Katie Sproul Wendy and Paul Rapisarda

John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro John Cardone
Richard Massa
Adam Grace and Lisanne Renner Susan and Glenn Brill

Alan Platt
Keith Sheridan
Jerry Russell and Wesley Jackson Antay Bilgutay
Steff Zielezienski
Stacy Mosher
David Prosser
Paul Bailey and Martha Linet Keith Sherman
David Mowery
Bob Friedman & Lynda Braun Jack Hospedales & Shirley Lung Haydée and Mark von Sternberg