Born in New York City in 1918, Irving Amen began drawing at the age of four and by age fourteen had won a scholarship to the prestigious Pratt Institute. There he spent seven years in life classes, striving to perfect his draughtsmanship.
In the early forties he headed a mural project for the Third Air Force and completed murals in the U.S. and Belgium. 1946 was spent doing art research in New Mexico, and in 1947 he returned to the Art Students League in New York for intensive study in painting & sculpture. It was there that he met Fritz Eichenberg whose instruction in the technique of wood engraving was to have a lasting influence. Amen's first exhibition of woodcuts was held the following year at the New School for Social Research and another a year later at the Smithsonian Institution. The year of 1950 found the artist studying in Paris as well as traveling and working in various parts of France and Italy. That same year he had one man shows in painting, woodcut and sculpture in New York, Washington and L.A.
A trip back to Italy in 1953 resulted in a series of woodcuts, one of which constitutes a permanent display of the woodcut process at the Smithsonian Institution. Desiring to see the latest developments in the European art world he again went abroad in 1958 and continued to exhibit widely throughout New York City and the United States. In 1960 he was elected a Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters. Later travels in Israel, Greece and Turkey in 1960 was the inspiration for further works culminating in a retrospective show at the Artists House in Jerusalem.
Amen's many accomplishments included the creation of a Peace Medal to commemorate the end of the Viet Nam War and the design of a stained glass window incorporating the Twelve Tribes of Israel for a synagogue in Columbus, Ohio. He also served as an instructor of art at the Pratt Institute and at Notre Dame University. Memberships include:
The Society of American Graphic Artists,
the International Society of Wood Engravers,
American Color Print Society, etc.
His work is included in many collections including those of the
Museum of Modern Art, New York;
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; J
ewish Museum, New York;
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC;
Museum of Fine Art, Boston;
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, etc..
Who Was Who in American Art,
Who's Who in World Jewry,
Who's Who in America,
National Cyclopedia of American Biography.