Leon Bibel Collection

Meet the Polish-born American painter and printmaker Leon Bibel.

Kiddy Horse by Lucy LevyChildren's Museum of the Arts

Leon Bibel (1913-1995) was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States as a child. His lifelong dream was to be an artist, an ambition he nursed as a student at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Man in the Street by UnknowChildren's Museum of the Arts

After assisting Bernard Zakhelm on several murals, Bibel moved to New York in 1936 in order to become a part of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project.

Lady with shoping bag and child by Vera BakerChildren's Museum of the Arts

Girl by Leah TaubinChildren's Museum of the Arts

Girl in the Sun by Emma CaspiChildren's Museum of the Arts

Kiddy Horse by Lucy LevyChildren's Museum of the Arts

Leon was assigned to the teaching division of WPA/FAP, where he began educating students at P.S. 94 and the Bronx House, a community art center.

Man on a Horse by Philip CinfoChildren's Museum of the Arts

Two houses and a dog by Max CohenChildren's Museum of the Arts

The centers were designed to offer free arts education to anyone who walked in the door, including all ages from adolescents to the elderly. In concept and function this open door policy promoted the arts as a valuable element of society and an activity every individual should have access to.

Policeman and Driver by Alvin HardackChildren's Museum of the Arts

The prevailing art of this era was politically conscious and looked to ordinary people and their struggles for subject matter.

Boat by Lillian KosofskyChildren's Museum of the Arts

Man going home by Philip CinfoChildren's Museum of the Arts

Coal miners and lumberjacks were depicted heroically and the end goal was for America’s cultural identity to emerge from beneath Europe’s shadow.

Boat under the Bridge 2 by Sheldon WeissChildren's Museum of the Arts

Circus Clown by Lorram MallishChildren's Museum of the Arts

These ideas rubbed off on the students as well, and the artworks in this collection offer a fascinating glimpse into the 1930’s from the perspective of a child.

Boys Playing by Max AlfasoChildren's Museum of the Arts

Balloons by Vera BakerChildren's Museum of the Arts

Boy by Blanche SchwartzChildren's Museum of the Arts

A Man & Trees by Martin CelestinoChildren's Museum of the Arts

Little girl jumping rope by Eva Grubler (Refugee)Children's Museum of the Arts

Credits: Story

The Leon Bibel Collection was accessioned into Children's Museum of the Arts' Permanent Collection with the help of Phyllis Wrynn and Mitch Freidlin, on behalf of the Leon Bibel Estate. Special thanks to Elaine Bibel Cater and Daniel Bibel.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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