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Jacob Lipkin Biography

Born in 1909 on New York City’s tumultuous Lower East Side, Jacob Lipkin was the fifteenth of sixteen children. At five years of age Jacob was placed in an orphanage by his immediate family following the death of his father, a day laborer. Years later, as a sixteen-year-old living near the bustling seaport of Manhattan’s South Street and lured by the romanticism of the sea, he lied about his age and sailed out on one of the last of commercial sailing ships as a merchant seaman. For nearly eleven years he sailed the world aboard cargo ships and oil tankers before once again making New York his home.

Lipkin studied art at The Cooper Union and The Art Student’s League eventually going on to exhibit with artists of the calibre of Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, David Smith, and Louise Bourgeois in the 1950’s. Between 1940 and 1979 Jacob Lipkin participated in over seventy group exhibitions at venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Audubon Artists, and The Parrish Art Museum. During that same period he also exhibited his work in twenty-one one-man shows. A thirty-year retrospective of his work was held in Philadelphia in 1968 underwritten by the Provident National Bank.

Jacob Lipkin’s one wish of his latter years was to have his studio, home, and sculpture garden preserved as a museum by the Township of Babylon in order to ensure their survival. With that in mind he and his wife, Dorothy, donated their property and sculptures to the town, which after initial hesitation was accepted, and years later after some political confusion between the town and the county, annulled. In the end the town was unwilling to dedicate the resources necessary for the preservation of the buildings and sculptures. Today there is no Lipkin museum in Babylon; his home was sold and his work is scattered in museums and collections across the world. They reside in private and public collections and museums such as The Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, the Jewish Museum in New York, The Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, The New York Historical Society, and some pieces still remain in the collection of the Lipkin family. Although adept in different media, Jacob Lipkin's special love was carving stone.


Lipkin images on this site © Richard Rivera 2006. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No copying or reproduction of any kind without express written permission.