Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Mitchell Siporin Portrait

Mitchell Siporin

New York, New York 1910

Boston, Massachusetts 1976

Active in:

  • Newton, Massachusetts

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Mitchell Siporin papers, 1913-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

“I have always felt that the artist’s vision flows out of his total experience, out of the interaction between his innate self and the world crowding in.” The artist, quoted in Mitchell Siporin: Watercolors, Gouaches and Drawings, Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, 1980

Luce Artist Biography

Mitchell Siporin’s immigrant parents were left-wing intellectuals who taught him the importance of social justice. Siporin’s father was a union organizer, and the artist’s interest in the labor movement showed in the work he completed for the socialist journal The New Masses, after studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. When he was twenty-three years old he created a series of pen-and-ink drawings of the notorious Chicago Haymarket riot of 1886, and these powerful images later ended up in major museums across the country. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, he worked for the Works Progress Administration. His mural for the post office in St. Louis, Missouri, was the largest commission awarded by the government, and it is among the few WPA projects that shows social conflict. Siporin founded the art department at Brandeis University in 1951 and taught there for twenty-five years. (Mitchell Siporin: Paintings and Unique Works on Paper, 1930-1949, Susan Teller Gallery, 2004)