The People’s Artist: Symeon Shimin
Launching an overview of the collected works and unique perspective of this expressive Mid-Century New-York based artist
“Symeon Shimin was a vessel for the unheard voices of his time. Those who were shunned, he highlighted; for those who were unseen, he provided a stage. He saw the common man for what he was – beautiful, exceptional, and equal.” stated research editor Lauren Kinsley. As a Jewish immigrant whose family fled the Pogroms for Brooklyn, as well as a child laborer himself, he understood that viewpoint personally.
Hardbound with beautiful paintings in glossy plates on creamy paper, The Art of Symeon Shimin celebrates the lyrical and evocative works of a master storyteller who illustrated over 50 children’s books, as well as film posters for Gone with the Wind among others. With paintings held in collections including the Chrysler Museum of Art, this is the first complete collection of work over his life, from 1902-1984.
Born in Astrakhan, Russia on the Caspian Sea, Symeon Shimin immigrated with his Jewish family to Brooklyn, New York, at age 10. By age 16, he had apprenticed himself to a commercial artist to help support his family, attending night classes at Cooper Union Art School. He wove his American dream for peace, justice and liberty into his work, perhaps best showcased by the impressive mural, Contemporary Justice and the Child (1940), which still hangs in the Department of Justice Building, Washington, DC.
The artist's daughter, Tonia Shimin, is a dance faculty emerita at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she taught for 27 years. She lovingly curated the first-ever total collection of all known Shimin paintings and artworks over many years, joining the personal family collection with images of paintings in private, museum and gallery collections. Only this year she discovered the gigantic painting for the film Solomon and Sheba that was exhibited at The Detour Gallery, in Red Bank, New Jersey where it had been stored for many years.
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