JACOB LANDAU (1917 – 2001)

Jacob Landau (1917-2001), printmaker, painter, humanist and teacher was an artist whose works explored the basic themes of human existence and morality with an insight that was both passionate and indignant.

The Gypsy, by Jacob Landau

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he began as an illustrator, he lived most of his adult life in Roosevelt, New Jersey, a town founded in the 1930s as an agro-industrial cooperative for, primarily, Jewish garment workers from New York City.

Here Landau raised his family, began a distinguished career as Professor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, and immersed himself in the town’s thriving artistic community, along with such noted artists as Ben Shahn. The art he created, including ten monumental stained glass windows for Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, gained him an impressive reputation, with many of his works included in the permanent collections of the world’s finest museums, such as The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. In addition, Landau received numerous awards and grants, including the National Endowment for the Arts and Ford Foundation, as well as Tamarind and Guggenheim fellowships. His work has been exhibited extensively in Europe, Mexico, South America, and throughout the United States in over 30 one-man and 200 regional and national group shows.

Throughout his lifetime, Landau’s art increasingly addressed the self-inflicted human turmoil of the 20th Century. Growing up during the Great Depression and profoundly affected by the Holocaust, Landau grappled with humanity’s cruelty to each other. Provocative and disturbing, challenging and seductive, his works bear witness to these injustices and attempt to uphold our moral accountability for these actions.



  1. Acquisition note: I found this piece (and a number of others in my collection) at an antique shop in Tempe, Arizona called Rare Lion. The owners there, Gary and Michelle Perkins, have exceptional taste for works of art – with a major love of representations of the old west – and are super knowledgeable about that area of art – but also have an interesting and eclectic collection of other works too.

    Phoenix and it’s surrounding suburbs is a fantastic place for any collector to acquire 2nd market pieces. As much as I love to support artists and galleries, at the time I purchased this piece as a graduate student, their prices were simply out of my league. I discovered an amazing wealth of beautifully framed, reasonably priced, original paintings and prints in the antique shops of the area. I expect this to be the case in any large city with a snowbird population. Other finds in my collection from Rare Lion in Tempe are by artists: Jaime Oates; Bert Pumphrey; William Brice; Bert Pumphrey; and José Maria Servin. All acquired between 1998 – 2002.

    Find Rare Lion online at: http://www.rarelionantiques.com/

  2. My father, irvin Kleinman, of Philadelphia, is a first cousin of Jacob Landau. As a present, he gave my father the artist proof of “The Virtuous Pagans”, which he has passed on to me. Is that something you would be interested in acquiring?

    Ross Kleinman.

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