The Newark Public Library's Collection Holds these Images of Lost Lenson Murals
Images Found of Michael Lenson's 1943 Astronomical Mural in Newark's Chancellor Avenue School
For years, we have been hearing about "Astronomical" murals that Michael Lenson painted in the Chancellor Avenue School, an elementary school in Newark that is near Weequahic High School.
For some background, here is a quote from an online entry on The Living New Deal . . .
The New York Times wrote the following in 2003 in a retrospective article of New Jersey-based artist Michael Lenson:
“[Mr. Lenson] moved to Newark and applied at the W.P.A. office on Halsey Street … Soon, Mr. Lenson was designing and executing murals for the state W.P.A. program. He went on to become assistant state supervisor in charge of the other muralists in the agency.”
While not confirmed, Michael Lenson purportedly painted a mural at Newark’s Chancellor Avenue School:
“[A]nother Lenson mural might be hiding behind the wall paint in a windowless room at the Chancellor Avenue School in Newark. According to a retired teacher who worked there for many years, sometime in the 1940s Lenson painted an “astronomical mural” on the walls and ceiling of a room in the school. The room, she further reports, was converted into a storage room and the murals were painted over.”
Just this week, an urban historian sent us these old photos of these murals. She found them in the collection of school-related files in the Newark Public Library.
We understand that these murals have been covered or painted over. But we plan to visit the school soon to see whether we can locate them.
We will report on our progress here.
New Second Page on this Website: Information on Works for Sale from the Estate of Michael Lenson (Click on page listings to the left)
Mural Study by Michael Lenson Was Shown in the La Vida Americana Exhibition at the Whitney Museum
"Mining," mural study for Lenson's mural in the Post Office in Mount Hope, WV
We are thrilled to report that "Mining," Michael Lenson's study for a mural he completed and installed in the U.S. Post Office in Mount Hope, West Virginia, has been chosen for inclusion in "La Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945." This exhibition, which is attracting large crowds to the Whitney, will be on display until May 17, 2020.
In a review she published in The Wall Street Journal, critic Judith H. Dobrynski commented, "But unless you habituate post offices, colleges or small museums, you will be unfamiliar with many splendid narrative works (shown here in m sketches, studies, cartoons) by artists like Mitchell Siporin, Hale Woodruff, Henry Bernstein, Michael Lenson, Fletches Martin and Anton Refregier. Who are all these artists? Discovery is a joy of this exhibition."
Eqully positive reviews have appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere. Consoisseurs of Lenson and his art will not want to miss a chance to see this wonderful exhibition.
"Michael Lenson: A Portrait," A Book by His Son Barry Lenson, Just Published
This large book, richly illustrated with images of Lenson paintings and historical photos, is now available for sale as both a paperback and as a Kindle eBook.
Whether you are a scholar of Lenson and his work or someone who appreciates his contribution to American art, you will want to add a copy to your library.
New Edition of The Walk and Other Stories by Michael Lenson Is Now Available
We are pleased to announce that a new edition of The Walk and Other Stories, a book of short stories by Michael Lenson, has just been released and is available on Amazon.com as both a paperback and an eBook. Click on the book cover to the left to order.
"Power Corrupts." Lenson Painting from the 1940s, Now On Display at Duke University's Nasher Museum
Power Corrupts: A Political Allegory
We are delighted to report that "Power Corrupts: A Political Allegory" by Michael Lenson is currently on display at Duke University's Nasher Museum's current exhibition, Art of the United States: 1930-1960. This important painting dates from the early 1940s.
We are even more pleased to announce that this painting is now part of the Nasher's important collection of American art.
In case you can't make it to the Nasher to see this important exhibition, we are pasting in below an image of the wall label that is posted by the painting.
Two Lenson Mural Fragments Acquired by the Wolfsonian
The Wolfsonian Institution Acquires Two Lenson Mural Studies for Its Permanent Collection
We are delighted to report that the Wolfsonian Institution in Miami Beach (a division of Florida International University) has just added two Lenson mural fragments to its permanent collection. They depict scenes from the Spanish Civil War and incorporate the same imagery that Lenson created for a series of lithographs that he completed in the 1930s that were sold to raise funds to support the Republican forces that were battling Generalissimo Franco.
These works, with their political agenda, are entirely appropriate for inclusion in the Wolfsonian. The Mission Statement of that organization is:
"The Wolfsonian uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern, and to tell the story of social, political, and technological changes that have transformed our world. It encourages people to see the world in new ways, and to learn from the past as they shape the present and influence the future."
The artist would have been thrilled to have these two powerful works arrive at the Wolfsonian which, incidentally, owns five other Lenson works, including a full-size working drawing of his mural "Mining" which he created for the U.S. Post Office in Mount Hope, West Virginia.
Other institutions that own Lenson works include The Butler Institute, The Jersey City Museum, The Johnson Museum of Cornell University, The Maier Museum of Art, The Montclair Art Museum, The Newark Museum, The Noyes Museum, The Princeton University Art Museum, The Rhode Island School of Design and The Smithsonian Institution.
Watch Now: Art Historian Kate Ogden and Barry Lenson Discuss the Art of Michael Lenson at the Noyes Museum
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"The Kite Flyers" by Michael Lenson in its beautiful new installation
This is what happens when two art collectors acquire a Lenson and then design a room around it!
Two art collectors who live up in Maine just built themselves a gorgeous new bungalow. To them, it made perfect sense to design the focal point of their living room - the mantle - around the measurements of their beloved Lenson painting, "The Kite Flyers," which they have owned for many years. (They own several other Lenson works too, let us mention.)
We just wanted to show you how spectacularly well it all worked out - for the collectors, for their home, and for the Lenson work, which dates from the late 1940s.
Want to Know Michael Lenson Better? Read His Book of Autobiographical Short Stories
In 1960, Michael Lenson took a sabbatical from painting and wrote The Walk and Other Stories, a collection of illustrated autobiographical short stories that are modeled on incidents from his own life.
We are pleased to announce that the collection is now available as a Kindle edition. CLICK HERE to order now. If you are fascinated by this artist - and why shouldn't you be? - you will want to download a copy.
New Book Showcases Lenson's Murals in the Essex Mountain Sanatorium
Lenson's immense 1936 murals in the cafeteria of the Essex Mountain Sanatorium in Verona, New Jersey, were destroyed many years ago. But now they have come to life again, thanks to a new book by historian Richard Kennedy about the Sanatorium and its history. The pictures of the mural that you'll find in this book are about the best anywhere. CLICK HERE to visit the Amazon.com ordering page for this wonderful new book.
Catalog of Lenson's Recent Exhibition at the Butler Institute Is Now a Kindle Edition!
We're pleased to announce that the complete catalog of Lenson's recent exhibition "Time, Place and Substance" is now available as a Kindle book. CLICK HERE to order your copy now.
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Lenson Inducted into Hall of Fame in Nutley, New Jersey
We are thrilled to report that Michael Lenson was inducted into the Nutley Hall of Fame on November 17th, 2013! Nutley is the suburban town where he lived and painted between 1941 and his death in 1971. Reginald Marsh, Charles Hawthorne, and many other important American artists lived and painted in Nutley too.
CLICK BELOW TO SEE A VIDEO OF THE LENSON RETROSPECTIVE AT THE BUTLER INSTITUTE