Lot 10
  • 10

BEN SHAHN | Freedom of Speech (Design #2)

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ben Shahn
  • Freedom of Speech (Design #2)
  • signed Ben Shahn (upper right) and titled Design No. 2 (upper center)
  • tempera on board
  • 5 1/2 by 15 1/2 inches
  • (13.9 by 39.4 cm)
  • Painted in 1939.


Kennedy Galleries, New York
Mr. Marvin Pesses
Private collection, Japan
Acquired by the present owner from the above


New York, Kennedy Galleries, Ben Shahn, October-November 1968, no. 15, illustrated n.p.
Tokyo, Japan, The National Museum of Modern Art, The Exhibition of Ben Shahn, May-July 1970, no. 16, p. 162, illustrated p. 12

Catalogue Note

In 1938 Ben Shahn won a Treasury Department commission to produce 13 large fresco panels for the main lobby of the Bronx Central Annex Post Office in New York, which he completed in 1939. That same year he executed nine sketches, including Freedom of Speech (Design No. 2) and Immigration #2 (Design No. 7), for a series of murals on the Four Freedoms intended for the post office in St. Louis, Missouri. In his essay for the exhibition Ben Shahn, Frank Getlein notes that Shahn's "notably ambitious mural on the Four Freedoms" was never executed in full scale "because of political reasons" (Ben Shahn, New York, 1968, np).