Corrections or additions?

This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the November 14,

2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Jacob Landau, Anger & Love

If in my work I seem to stress the tragic, it is


of a felt need to counter the fake cheerfulness of our culture, its

smiles, Max-Factored out of all resemblance to the human," says

Jacob Landau. His current exhibit, "Unlimited Possibilities: Jacob

Landau Works on Paper, 1950 to 2000," is at the Princeton


Seminary’s Erdman Hall Gallery on Library Place, until December 7.

"Bertold Brecht said, `The man who laughs has not yet been told

the terrible news,’" Landau continues. "Do I batten on


Do I relish tragedy? I am sure that I do, to a degree. I contain both

victim and executioner, life-wish and death-wish. I contain the joy

of forming and the pain of awareness. I contain the beauty of growing

up, the mystery of patterned energy, and the sadness of growing old.

I contain certainty of its dissipation. I contain anger and love about

the present, anxiety and hope for the future."

Born in Philadelphia, Landau is an internationally-known illustrator,

printmaker, painter, and stained glass designer, and resident of


New Jersey, since the 1950s. At 83, he is a professor emeritus of

New York’s Pratt Institute; his work can be found in the collections

of the Whitney Museum, New York, the Hirschhorn Collection,


D.C., the New Jersey State Museum, and many others.

The current show comprises more than two dozen works in watercolor,

pen and ink, lithograph, and woodcut, including studies for his work

in stained glass that has become so important in recent years. Perhaps

the show’s signature work is the watercolor "I Hurt, Therefore

I Am," a figurative watercolor made last year which carries its

title in block letters across the upper part of the paper. As a Jew

who watched the Holocaust unfold inexorably during his lifetime, one

senses that Landau’s figure, arm raised in a fist, is facing the


of living (and dying) in a spirit of both determination and


Most impressive and illustrative of Landau’s enormous talent are two

monochrome lithographs from the "Dante Cycle" (1975-77),


both of Dante’s vision and Landau’s own commentaries on the hells

of consciousness and civilization. Technically resembling pencil


more than prints, Landau used mylar instead of stone or metal as his

drawing surface, and light instead of acid to transfer and fix the

image onto an aluminum printing plate.

"My art tradition is the German, not the French," says Landau.

"My idea tradition is the ancient Hebrew involvement with prophecy

and protest. I see the human body as paradigmatic — all that we

call universe is contained in its form. Drawing and color are the

twin fundamentals of my style. I seek whole-person, whole cosmos


but often succumb to my obsessions. For me, art is more than formal

exploration or exploitation. Without it, we are an endangered and

endangering species."

— Nicole Plett

Jacob Landau , Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman

Hall Gallery, 20 Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Unlimited


Jacob Landau Works on Paper, 1950 to 2000," on view to December

7. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;


2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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