Jacob Landau was an American artist, humanist, and teacher, committed, through his art, to the advocacy of the human, the revelation of the tragic, and the hope of transcendence. Having lived through the Great Depression, Landau faced tough times and human cruelty, influences that can be seen throughout his works.
Although Landau was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he relocated to Roosevelt, New Jersey—where he raised his family—because of an admiration for fellow American artist and Roosevelt resident, Ben Shahn. Landau admired the way Shahn used art as a means of communication. Landau explored breaking the barrier between fine and applied art to use art in this powerful way, to communicate the challenges of human nature.
Landau was articulate in many subjects. He embraced the ability to use art and technology together, and he studied science to experiment with new ways of producing art. He was a curious man who believed there was no area of the world that was not open to investigation.
After a distinguished career, Landau retired as a professor emeritus from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Many of his works are featured in permanent collections in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. His work has been exhibited throughout the world and has won him many awards and grants.
Landau died in 2001, leaving a legacy of provocative art filled with passion and a presence that draw the viewer into the very real issues of the twentieth century.