Self Portrait, 1935
wood engraving, ed. 50, 10 1/2 x 9"
about the artist
In 1929, with the encouragement of his cousin, Joseph Hirshhorn, Friedlander began his long and frustrating odyssey as an immigrant bound for America. When at last he arrived in the States, he found, in place of a land of challenge and opportunity, a nation locked in the grip of the Great Depression. Human suffering, unemployment, and despair were everywhere he looked. For him, how- ever, deprivation and man's struggle to cope with it had been the only way of life he knew.
Indeed, his art was firmly rooted in the imagery of human suffering and of man's struggle with adversity: first in those youthful drawings in a czarist prison, then in the art of his homesick student days in Rome, and more recently in his work while teaching in Latvia. It was only natural, therefore, that his art during those depression years should focus on the lives and sufferings of the downtrodden he found wandering the streets of New York.