Mitchell Siporin

born New York City 1910-died Boston, MA 1976
New York, New York, United States
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Active in
  • Newton, Massachusetts, United States

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)