A Humanist Vision: The Paintings and Drawings of Michael Lenson
The Clifton Arts Center Gallery
900 Clifton Avenue (Well Road)
Clifton, New Jersey 07013
May 13 – July 25, 2015
Opening Reception May 16, 2015 1:00 – 4:00 PM
The Noyes Museum of Art
Noyes Museum of Art
733 Lily Lake Road Oceanville, New Jersey, 08231
October 2, 2015 – January 17, 2016
Want to Know More about the Iconography of "The Enlightenment of Man" Murals in Weequahic High School?
The images in this Lenson mural depict cavemen, Athenians and Spartans, Renaissance Italian artists, modern American scientists and farmers . . . and a whole lot more. If you're interested in understanding the complex iconography of this remarkable Lenson mural, click on the thumbnail to the right to open an article about the murals that was published in the Weequahic High School Alumni Association's newsletter in 2001.
Michael Lenson's "Where Are We Now?" Draws Attention at the 2015 Armory Show in New York
We are thrilled to report that prominent art dealer Jonathan Boos chose to display a Lenson painting, "Where Are We Now?" in his booth at the Armory Show in New York in March.
"Where Are We Now?" is one of the largest and most important paintings that Lenson painted, and certainly the most important one that emerged from his moral outrage at the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The painting shows a city - probably New York - in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. To the left, a man (mankind?) struggles to free himself from a cage of his own creation. Hungry, accusing children reach out for fruit that is too contaminated to eat. Scavengers roam the landscape in the background. The face of a Neanderthal-like man hovers in the ruins of a building to the right - did mankind evolve only to destroy itself with nuclear arms? In the center of the composition we see a woman and child, oddly depicted in dark shadow - are they about to die, or have they died already?
Lenson created other paintings that equally expressed his outrage with nuclear bombs, including "Expulsion" and "Bikini," a painting that superimposes a leering face on the mushroom cloud that erupted over an early H-bomb test on Bikini atoll.
We are thrilled to have seen this extraordinay painting so prominently displayed, thanks to Jonathan Boos. And yes - it did attract a crowd.
The Jonathan Boos display at the 2015 Armory Show - Michael Lenson's "Where Are We Now?" is at the left.
"Where Are We Now?" by Michael Lenson
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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.
Lenson Paintings on Display in Miami and Tucson
A powerful Lenson from the 1940s, "Power Corrupts" is currently being exhibited at Art Basel Miami by the Francis Naumann Gallery. Be sure to stop by to see it.
And there is another Lenson currently showing at the Tuscon Museum of Art as part of its current exhibition about WPA art. As soon as we find out what that work is, we will let you know on this page.
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.
No Fewer than Three Lenson Shows Planned for Next Few Years
We can't share all the details yet, but no fewer than three different Lenson exhibtions are planned for the coming years at three different museums. Visit this website often for details.
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 RECENT LENSON RETROSPECTIVE AT THE BUTLER INSTITUTE
The Preservation of Lenson's Murals in Weequahic High School Has Begun!
In August of 2011, art conservator Andrew Bertolino installed protective Lucite panels over portions of Lenson's "Enlightenment of Man" murals in the lobby of Weequahic High School in Newark. This marked the first stage of what we hope will be a complete restoration of these murals to be completed during the next year.
Lenson's "Enlightenment of Man" murals, which are one of the most important installations of public art in New Jersey, were painted in 1939. They show the progress of art and thinking from the stone age through contemporary times.
The restoration is being underwritten largely by The Weequahic High School Alumni Association. But more funds are needed before these murals can be preserved and restored.
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Two Lenson Works Displayed through the U.S. State Department's Prestigious Art in Embassies Program
When Ian Kelly was recently appointed U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, he and his wife Francesca began to select a group of American paintings that would form an exhibition in their embassy home in Vienna, Austria. They requested two Lenson works, which are currently on display. They are "Early Tuesday Morning" and "Portrait of an Artist." We're delighted that two Lenson paintings sere selected for inclusion in this prestigious State Department program.
"Jazz Combo," a late painting by Michael Lenson, is now on display just outside the performance space known as "Dizzy's Club Coca Cola" at Jazz at Lincoln Center! We are thrilled that this painting has found a home at one of the preeminent jazz venues in the world.