Leon Golub, 82, an artist who depicted scenes of war, torture and oppression in large-scale figurative paintings, died Aug. 8 in New York of complications after surgery.
Mr. Golub drew upon material ranging from Greek sculpture to mass media photography and developed a technique of scraping the first layer of paint from a canvas, leaving a blistered surface.
His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Gallery in London.
Mr. Golub's early work featured figures of kings, shamans or monsters, followed by a period heavily influenced by classical models, including the series "Gigantomachies," which portrayed wrestlers in combat.
An opponent of the Vietnam War, Mr. Golub created "Vietnam II" in 1973, a sprawling 40-foot-wide painting depicting U.S. soldiers shooting Vietnamese.
He later created more than 30 portraits based on photos of powerful public figures, such as President Richard M. Nixon and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Later works, including his "Interrogation" and "Mercenaries" series, show images of torture and violence.
"Too many people have a sort of protective attitude about art. You know, 'Don't touch. It's valuable.' I'm trying to be more in your face, like when you walk down the street and suddenly you encounter a situation," Mr. Golub told the Associated Press in 2001. "I'm trying to invite you into scenes where you might not want to be invited in."
Mr. Golub was born in Chicago and was a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. He lived in Paris before moving to New York in the 1960s. He taught at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and at Rutgers University in New Jersey.