The Artist and the Citizen: Meyer Schapiro’s Values

The Artist and the Citizen: Meyer Schapiro’s Values

With the death of Meyer Schapiro in 1996, the art world lost a legendary figure while the rest of us, including the Dissent community, were deprived of a valued colleague, teacher, and model. Schapiro’s life and work touched several different worlds. As a charismatic teacher whose passion and erudition were aston¬ishing, he trained generations of art historians and opened the eyes of others—students, artists, intellectuals—to the visual field around them. He was a pioneer in the study of both Roman¬esque art, the subject of his 1929 Columbia dissertation, and impressionist painting, to which he devoted some of his most trenchant lectures and essays. Unlike most historical scholars, he was keenly involved with contemporary art as a mentor to young painters. An independent Marxist in the 1930s, he brilliantly explored the social history of art but also, in his writing for Art Front and other left journals, threw himself into the political struggles of the period, supporting the formation of the Dewey commission that investigated Moscow’s charges against Trotsky.

...

Lima