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Final Farewell: The Culture of Death and the Afterlife

Funerals, Burials and Mourning

back to Funerals, Burial & Mourning section homeMourning WearMourning AccessoriesThe Funeral Tomb of the Old White KingAt Durer's Grave(Approaching the Guillotine)James & Lonise BiasLenin at the Palladiumto Final Farewell exhibition beginning

The Funeral

The FuneralLeonard Baskin
(American, 1922–2000)
The Funeral
1957
Wood engraving
(86.30)
Gift of Saul and Gladys Weinberg

Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Leonard Baskin was an accomplished sculptor, book illustrator, printmaker, and publisher of fine-press books. He attended the New York University School of Architecture and Applied Arts and studied at Yale for two years. In 1942 Baskin founded the Gehenna Press, which was one of the first fine art presses in the United States.

Bodies of the deceased are often transported to their places of burial in funeral processions. Leonard Baskin’s The Funeral features a horse-drawn funerary cart followed by a procession of black-garbed mourners. Baskin created a similar scene on a thirty-foot long bas-relief sculpture for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial was authorized in 1955 but not made until 1994. Perhaps Baskin drew inspiration from this print for his relief sculpture. In both artistic interpretations, Baskin has replaced the cars of modern funeral processions with walking mourners. The images are symbolic rather than literal, illustrating the importance of public figures.

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