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.
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.