Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

Leon (Albert) Golub - Selected Public Collections, Selected Private Foundations, Selected Private Collections

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Painter, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was a cartographer with the US army in Europe during World War 2, learning much about the reality of war and persecution, themes which constantly pervaded his later work. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute (1949–50), and became a painter of mythological subjects, rejecting the abstract painting of the era. Much of his work revolves around human violence and suffering, particularly the horror of modern warfare. In the 1960s, he started laying his canvasses on the studio floor, proceeding to dissolve painted areas with solvent before scraping them with a meat cleaver and sculpting the paint into recognizable forms. In his series relating to the Vietnam War entitled Napalm, Vietnam, and Assassins, he began slicing into some of the works, seemingly to increase the embodiment of pain expressed in his work. He departed from the Vietnam genre at the end of the 1970s to produce c.100 portraits of powerful political figures, returning in the 1980s to themes of torment, torture, humiliation, and degradation. His major work consists of large sculptural figure paintings of nude men fighting, a series he has called Gigantomachies, although some of his figures were based on his large database of photographs found in sporting magazines and pornographic literature.

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