Leon Golub painted in a unique figural style, drawing upon diverse representations of the body from ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, to photographs of athletic competitions, to gay pornography. Golub's work is about the recurring misuse of power through violence, not as an isolated inhuman phenomenon but as an expression of organized oppression and brutality. A fundamental tension is at the heart of his paintings-- literally between the figure and the ground of the canvas, between the individual and group within a painting and also between the role of the artist and wider background of society. Golub believed that an observable connection to the external world and actual events was essential for a painting to have any relevance to the viewer or society. This view informed Golub's work throughout his brilliant career.
MUSEUM COLLECTIONS: Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Art Institute of Chicago; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Berkeley Arts Museums, California; BibliothËque National, Paris, France; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Civci Museo, Udine, Italy; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Greater London Council, London, England; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Honolulu Academy of Fine Art, Hawaii; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Jewish Museum, New York; Kent State University, OH; Los Angeles County Museum, CA; Madison Art Center, Madison, WI; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Miami University Art Museum, FL; Musee des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, Canada; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel; National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; National Museum of Fine Art, Hanoi, Vietnam; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Tate Gallery, London, England; Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.