Not on View


Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines


Artist: Leonard Baskin (American, 1922 - 2000)
Date: 1968
Medium: Etching on paper
Plate: 5 7/8 × 4 in. (14.9 × 10.2 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Richard and Betty Hillier, 1981.45
Accession number: 1981.45
Classification: print
In Collection(s)
Label TextBirds, men, and fantastic combinations thereof are recurring themes in Baskin's sculptures and prints. The stylized musculature of this etching reminds one of relief sculpture from Assyria. In Greek mythology Icarus was the youth who together with his father Daedalus, tried to escape from his place of imprisonment by flying from it with birds' wings fashioned by his father. Daedalus escaped but Icarus disobeyed his father, soared too near the sun which melted the wax used to fasten the wings to his body, and plummeted to his death in the sea below. Instead of depicting the feathers worn by Icarus, Baskin has only alluded to them by drawing a multitude of short parallel strokes behind the figure and in front of it. The energy of these lines hints not only of feathers but also of speed and movement. Baskin, son of a rabbi, was reared in Brooklyn, New York. When he was 15 he started studying architcture and from 1939 to 1941 he was a student at the New York University School of Architcture and Allied Arts. His work was primarily in sculpture and he did not become interested in printmaking until about 1950. He was the founder of Gehenna Press, known for its production of fine books. Source: bulletin, May-June, 1982.
SignedBaskin (l,r graphite)
Baskin 1968 (l,l plate)
InscriptionIcarus (l,c graphite)
10/95 (l,c graphite)
Exhibition History"Critters," Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA

"Greek Mythology," Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa, September 2, 1997 - December 28, 1997
Catalogue RaisonnéFern 505
Published References"Gallery Guide" to the "Critters" exhibition, Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines Art Center Bulletin, May-June 1982
entirely unexpected