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The Art of Symeon

"A loving survey of an artist’s varied career" Kirkus Reviews

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Mural by Symeon Shimin

Contemporary Justice and the Child

Tempera on Canvas, 1936-1940

Awarded by competition for the Public Works Arts Project

Department of Justice Building, Washington DC


"I do not know by what mystery or alchemy I was transformed into becoming an artist – painter - when up to the age of eleven years, I wanted above all else to be a musician. However, when I was told in no uncertain terms that I would not be allowed to be one – within a week – I began to draw for the first time in my life – and to this day I never stopped drawing and painting. What makes this event more strange is the fact that from the very beginning I drew as an adult and not as a child. It was people that I wanted to paint – then and now. I was deeply affected not only by our own poverty but by the teeming life around me as well – their haunting faces and their dignity never left me."

-Symeon Shimin


The Art of Symeon Shimin is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pathway Books and Silo 118 Gallery

Wholesale orders are available directly from Pathway Book Service:, Ingram & Baker & Taylor


The Art of Symeon Shimin showcases an intimate view of the artwork of my father Symeon Shimin, a Russian-born Jewish artist. His deep involvement with justice and the human condition were paramount to the way he lived and painted. This first book devoted to his art includes reproductions of over 65 works, his autobiography Metamorphosis and essays by arts writers Josef Woodard and Charles Donelan.

-- Tonia Shimin

The Art of Symeon Shimin

Discussion Groups Rome 

Oil on Canvas,1956-1957

Collection of Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA



Drawing on Paper,

c. 1970’s


Portrait of a Young Man

Oil on Canvas, 1964

Woman with Hands at Chest

Oil on Canvas,


The Pack
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The Pack

Oil on Canvas,




“By far the larger part of contemporary painting fails to excite me. I keep looking hopefully for something that will open my eyes and understanding to a new conception of art expression. And I found it the other day in Washington, on the third floor of the Department of Justice. The painter’s name Symeon Shimin, meant nothing to me, but unless I am hopelessly sunk in the swirling sea of art appreciation, that name will mean something in the long history of painting.  The subject is “Contemporary Justice and the Child.” The medium tempera on canvas. Any attempt of mine to describe it in words would be as futile as a Baedeker description of Mona Lisa. It is good.”

Henry J. Saylor

The Architectural Forum, December, 1940


Tecolote Bookshop is pleased to invite you to 

       a Book Signing and Celebration of 

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With: Curator/Editor, Tonia Shimin Special guest: Charles Donelan
Dec 02, 2023, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Tecolote Bookshop,
1470 E Valley Road #52, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Can you make it?
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