Known for his oil paintings, etchings and woodcuts, Irving Amen was born in New York City, worked there for some years, and then moved to Boca Raton, Florida. Born in New York City in 1918, he began drawing at the age of four. A scholarship to the Pratt Institute was awarded to him when he was fourteen years old. With Michelangelo as his idol, he spent seven years in life classes perfecting his drawing.
He studied at the Pratt Institute from 1932 to 1939 and also studied in Paris and in Italy. He created a Peace Medal commemorating the end of the Viet Nam war and for a synagogue in Columbus, Ohio, designed a stained glass window of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Amen studied in Paris in 1950. Upon his return to the United States, he had one man shows in New York and Washington DC.
In 1953, Amen traveled throughout Italy. This resulted in a series of eleven woodcuts, eight etchings and a number of oil paintings. One of these woodcuts, “Piazza San Marco #4” and its four woodblocks constitute a permanent exhibit of block printing in color at the Smithsonian Institution.
Commissions include a Peace Medal in honor of the Vietnam War. He created designs for 12 stained glass windows 16 feet high depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel, commissioned by Agudas Achim Synagogue in Columbus, Ohio.
He has been an instructor of art at Pratt Institute and at
Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. Among his memberships
are the Society of American Graphic Artists, the International
Society of Wood Engravers, and Audubon Artists. He is listed in Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers and the Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists by Paul Cummings. He was elected member of Accademia Fiorentina Delle Arti Del Disegno, an organization to which Michelangelo belonged.