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Rico Lebrun

Leonard Baskin, 15 Aug 1922 - 3 June 2000
Rico Lebrun, 10 Dec 1900 - 9 May 1964
Ink on paper
Image: 53 × 57.5 cm (20 7/8 × 22 5/8")
Sheet: 56.4 × 77.6 cm (22 3/16 × 30 9/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Leonard Baskin
Object number
Exhibition Label
In a tribute he wrote soon after Rico Lebrun's death, Leonard Baskin noted of his teacher, mentor, and friend, "Nothing human was alien to Lebrun's vision." That sustained passion for the human figure in Lebrun's art during an era dominated by abstract expressionism profoundly influenced Baskin. In this deeply felt posthumous portrait, Baskin captures the fine line between representation and suggestion. Connecting the profile to the background through slender threads of ink-possibly representing breath, speech, or aura-he creates the impression of a remembered face, suggesting the gulf between absence and presence, memory and reality. At Lebrun's death in 1964, Baskin felt very much alone. But at the time of this 1968 drawing, he was earning international acclaim as the art world began to rediscover what he and Lebrun had always known-the profound potential of the human figure.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection