Leon Golub

Leon Golub
Born:
January 23, 1922
Birthplace:
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died:
August 8, 2004

About Leon Golub

Leon Golub started making art in the late 1940s, after serving in World War II as an army cartographer. Early in his career, Golub turned away from dominant abstract modes of painting, pervasive in the decades following the war, to create expressive figurative works that confront the dynamics of global power and its victims. His paintings consider the violence and torture in the shadows of governments (especially the U.S. government), out of view of the public and outside of the law. Golub’s method of painting, applying layers of oil and then scraping the surface with a meat cleaver, adds a traumatic and distressed presence to his works, augmenting the horrific acts depicted in the paintings.

As a leader of Chicago’s figurative movement in the 1950s, Leon Golub has always rejected a detached, distanced approach to art, instead espousing expression and confrontation. Described as an existential and activist painter, Golub gained recognition for his large-scale, politically charged, highly topical works that directly address issues of war, racism, sexism, and power.

For Golub abuse of power is both an ancient and a contemporary condition, always present in the world, and the ability of such power to corrupt those who hold it chips away at humanity. Both the victims and the orchestrators of torture and suffering reside outside of ethical boundaries, in a place where social contracts of dignity lie in ruin. Golub portrays a horrible world of degradation, where humans have more in common with objects than subjects, where the right to freedom is flagrantly abandoned. 

By Leon Golub in the Collection

Leon Golub
1985
lithograph
22 1/4 x 30 in. (56.52 x 76.2 cm)
Leon Golub
1977
acrylic on linen
24 x 16 in. (60.96 x 40.64 cm)
Leon Golub
1985
acrylic on canvas
120 x 183 in. (304.8 x 464.82 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
20 x 17 in. (50.8 x 43.18 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
35 x 26 in. (88.9 x 66.04 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
19 x 15 in. (48.26 x 38.1 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
21 x 15 in. (53.34 x 38.1 cm)
Leon Golub
1983
acrylic on linen
86 x 90 in. (218.44 x 228.6 cm)
Leon Golub
1980-81
acrylic on linen
120 x 176 in. (304.8 x 447.04 cm)
Leon Golub
1981
acrylic on canvas
120 x 169 in. (304.8 x 429.26 cm)
Leon Golub
1978
acrylic on linen
18 x 18 1/4 in. (45.72 x 46.36 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
116 x 186 1/2 in. (294.64 x 473.71 cm)
Leon Golub
1980
acrylic on linen
120 x 198 in. (304.8 x 502.92 cm)
Leon Golub
1984
acrylic on linen
120 x 172 in. (304.8 x 436.88 cm)
Leon Golub
1969
acrylic on linen
114 x 176 in. (289.56 x 447.04 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
18 x 17 in. (45.72 x 43.18 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
23 x 18 in. (58.42 x 45.72 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
14 x 14 in. (35.6 x 35.6 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
30 x 24 in. (76.2 x 60.96 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
22 x 18 in. (55.88 x 45.72 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
17 x 17 in. (43.18 x 43.18 cm)
Leon Golub
1976
acrylic on linen
22 x 19 in. (55.88 x 48.26 cm)
Leon Golub
1977
acrylic on burlap
16 7/8 x 23 in. (42.86 x 58.42 cm)
Leon Golub
1986
acrylic on canvas
120 x 167 in. (304.8 x 424.18 cm)
Leon Golub
1984
acrylic on linen
120 x 161 in. (304.8 x 408.94 cm)
Leon Golub
1988
acrylic on linen
120 x 154 in. (304.8 x 391.16 cm)