Ruth Gikow Original Pencil Signed New York Lithograph Children With Horse c. 1960 Unmatted, Unframed


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Title: Children with a Horse
Artist: Ruth Gikow - (1915-1982) - American artist
Technique: Stone Lithograph
Size: Image - 8-1/2 x 10-3/4 inches
Paper: Heavy off white wove paper, 11-1/2 x 14-3/4 inches
Date Published: c. 1960
Edition Size: Limited Edition Artist Proof
Signed: Signed in pencil by the artist and inscribed "Artist Proof.”
References: Ruth Gikow (1970) by Matthew Josephson
Works by Ruth Gikow can be found in major museum collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Condition: Excellent Condition without any flaws. Without age toning, foxing, mat burn, tears, or creases. It doesn't appear that this print has ever been matted or framed.
Printing: A strong impression printed in black ink on heavy off white paper.
Presentation: Unmatted and unframed. Blank on the back, not laid down. Ships in a plastic archival sleeve.

This is an excellent original lithograph by an important American woman artist. Though born in the Ukraine, Gikow came to the U.S. with her parents when she was still a child and spent most of her life in New York. Most of Gikow’s works were produced when Abstract Expressionism was at the forefront of American art, but she remained committed to figurative art which she felt better reflected the humanity of her subjects and provided political and social relevance.

"Children with a Horse" is an excellent example of her artistic vision. Her prints and paintings are mostly of people as in this case, and there is always a depth of meaning that goes well beyond the mere representation of the subject. Gikow worked mostly as an easel painter, but she liked the fact that prints allowed her to reach a wider audience. She was married to the well known painter and printmaker Jack Levine.

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The following biography of Ruth Gikow was written by Susan Chevlowe. It has been edited for space.
Ruth Gikow reached maturity as an artist during the heyday of abstract expressionism, yet she remained committed to a figurative art that, she believed, reflected the humanity of her subjects and was both politically and socially relevant. Gikow was born in Ukraine on January 16, 1915. As a child, she immigrated to the United States with her father, Boris Gikow, a photographer, and her mother, Lena. They settled on the Lower East Side of New York City, where Gikow grew up in poverty. She intended to pursue a career as a fashion artist after graduating from high school in 1932. Instead, unable to find a job, she enrolled at Cooper Union, where she was a pupil of the American regionalist painter John Steuart Curry and Austin Purvis, Jr., director of the school. As she had throughout high school, Gikow continued to support herself and contribute to the family income by working evenings at Woolworth’s.

During her studies at Cooper Union, Gikow abandoned her aspiration to do commercial work and chose painting instead. A fellowship during her second year allowed her to study privately with idealistic young Raphael Soyer. Soon an informal exhibition of her work, painted in a social realist style, was held at the Eighth Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village. From then on, her subjects remained the urban environment and the vast multiplicity of its inhabitants. After finishing her art studies, Gikow worked on the Federal Arts Project of the WPA, associating with many other idealistic young artists who believed that art could change the world. Inspired by the Mexican muralists Jose Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera, Gikow sought work on the mural section of the FAP. Her first commission was in 1939 for the children’s ward of the Bronx Hospital. During World War II, there was little market for Gikow’s paintings and she turned instead to freelance commercial art and textile design. By 1945, she stopped painting and became art director at an advertising agency.

In 1946, Gikow resumed painting and married artist Jack Levine. Her first solo show, held at Weyhe Gallery in New York in November of that year, included experimental and stylized compositions. The dominance of abstract expressionism during the 1950s influenced Gikow. However, her figural compositions remained grounded in reality, although she continued to work from memory rather than from models. In 1959, Gikow was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. During the 1960s and 1970s, Gikow continued to portray subjects taken from her observations of the social and political life around her, including incidents from the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. A rare Jewish subject, "The Burial" (1964), was one of the largest canvases she ever painted. Gikow’s work is included in the permanent collections of major American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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