Nov. 14 auction will feature Shahn family’s art collection

ROOSEVELT — Property from the home and studio of artists Ben and Bernarda Shahn will be auctioned at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville on Nov. 14.

The auction of the collection will begin at noon. Telephone, absentee and online bidding will be available for those unable to attend. An auction exhibition/preview will take place from noon to 5 p.m. through Nov. 12 by appointment. Doors will also open at 9 a.m. on the day of the auction for a preview. Directions to the venue can be found online at

Ben Shahn was a very popular artist of the 1940s and 1950s. His visual and emotional realism and his social conscience attracted an international audience. This summer, the children of Bernarda and Ben Shahn chose Rago to auction their parents’ personal collection of fine art, furniture, decorative art, and Asian and ancient/ethnographic artifacts from their home and its adjacent studio.

Highlights of the collection include original works of art by Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Alfred Maurer, Robert Rauschenberg, Ben Shahn and Rufino Tamayo; multiples by Jacob Lawrence, Louis Lozowick, Shahn and many Roosevelt artists; photographs by Shahn; mid-century modern furniture by Nakshima and Finn Juhl/Niels Vodde; and Sabean, Japanese, Roman and Burmese art and artifacts.

Shahn dominated the public consciousness in mid-century and achieved institutional success. He was given his first retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1947. He was selected as one of the “World’s Ten Best Artists” by Look magazine in 1948. He represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1954, along with Willem de Kooning.

Shahn and his wife, artist Bernarda Bryson Shahn, lived in historic Roosevelt in western Monmouth County, a politically progressive, cooperative community founded in 1936 with federal funding. After Ben Shahn’s death on March 14, 1969, his wife lived on in their home for 35 years.

The Shahns’ Bauhaus home in rural Roosevelt will come to market shortly. The home incorporates two additions designed and built by George Nakashima in 1960 and 1965 that include a free-edge bench and many other built-ins.

Inquiries are welcome. Contact Miriam Tucker at 609-397-9374 or by email at She will relay the information to the Shahn family.