Louis Lozowick


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Printmaker and painter. Known especially for lithographs, he embraced both precisionism and the humanistic concerns of the American Scene movement. Lozowick's firsthand experience of contemporary art in Germany and the Soviet Union, unusual among American artists of his day, opened his eyes to some of the period's most radical ideas about artistic form and the relation of art to the public. Born in Ludvinovka, Russia (now Ukraine), Leib Lozowick received his early training in Kiev before moving to the United States in 1906. He studied from 1912 to 1915 at the National Academy of Design, where Leon Kroll ranked as his most important teacher. In 1918 he graduated from Ohio State University in Columbus. Following military service, he toured the United States before departing in 1920 for Europe. After a stay in Paris, he continued on to Berlin, where he joined the Novembergruppe, a stylistically varied group of radical left-wing artists who sought to heal and rebuild Germany in the post–World War I years by promoting a closer relationship between artists and public. He also traveled to the Soviet Union, where he associated with constructivists and other advanced artists. Following his return to New York in 1924, he published Modern Russian Art (1925) and contributed drawings to the socialist periodical New Masses. During the 1930s he helped to found the American Artists' Congress and participated in the federal art projects. He died in South Orange, New Jersey, where he had resided since 1944. Lozowick's work ranged over varied subjects, from machine abstractions to political protest to photographically realistic still lifes, but strong, restless forms generally dominate. During the 1920s he drew on travel impressions for a series of drawings, lithographs, and paintings inspired by the cities he visited. In these triumphant evocations of the urban and technological features of American life, he combined futurist and cubist techniques with a precisionist interest in geometric form, plain surfaces, hard edges, and depopulated spaces. Butte (Hirshhorn Museum, 1926–27) interprets the mining town in a dynamic scramble of architectonic forms. Later depictions of city life were characteristically more realistic and less austere. Following a trip to the Soviet Union in 1932, he responded to the Depression in many subsequent works exemplifying the interests of social realism. Lozowick also designed theater sets. In 1947 he published documentation on 100 Contemporary American Jewish Painters and Sculptors, an early investigation of the subject, for which he also wrote an introduction. His recollections appeared posthumously as Survivor from a Dead Age: The Memoirs of Louis Lozowick (1996), edited by Virginia Hagelstein-Marquardt.

Subjects: Art.

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