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Louis Lozowick

Born: 1892, Ludvinovka (near Kiev), Russia
Died: 1973, South Orange, New Jersey, United States of America

New York
1925

Lithograph on off-white wove paper
Image: 11 7/16 x 9 in. (29.1 x 22.9 cm)
Sheet: 19 x 15 5/8 in. (48.3 x 39.7 cm)
Mat: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1995.10
Signed: In graphite lower right: Louis Lozowick '25
Inscribed: In graphite, lower left: 2/15
Artist Name: []
Markings:  

Interpretation

Louis Lozowick's lithograph New York presents a dense cityscape, its stepped skyline filled with illuminated windows, set against a dark night sky. The rectilinear geometry of the city's layout and the buildings that mirror it is compressed and staggered. On the right, the ranks of uniform windowed blocks and striated bands of elevated train cars and tracks curve in series of tense arcs balanced at the lower left by the sweep of lighter forms reminiscent of the cables and pier of a mighty bridge dramatically lit from below. The skyscrapers that had come to symbolize the city tower at the left. Lozowick's vision of New York is an architectural one inflected by the mechanical energy and soaring aspirations associated with the modern America city in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Lozowick first encountered New York City in 1906 as a new immigrant from Russia. Having grown up in a rural village, the then-fourteen-year-old Lozowick was almost overwhelmed by his first experience of tall urban buildings. Almost twenty years later, he made this lithograph of New York's dynamic urban geometry in which he merged his impressions of the Brooklyn Bridge (suggested at lower left) with memories of looking up at the lighted cars of elevated trains (on the right) careening past high-rises as they turned a corner above the window of his West 109th Street apartment. So deep was Lozowick's fascination with modern American cities that in 1919, following his discharge from the Army Medical Corps, he took advantage of servicemen's discounted train fares to travel across the country, visiting cities as far away as Seattle. For several years thereafter, he drew on their massive architecture, energetic pace, and industrial scale for his paintings, drawings, and prints.

The abstracting style of New York, with its echoing grids and dynamic curves, reflects the influence of modernist movements Lozowick absorbed soon after his cross-country journey, during his sojourn in Europe between 1920 and 1924. Cubism encouraged him to abstract forms in terms of their essential geometry, while the aesthetic of the Russian-based movement known as constructivism, inspired by clean-edged industrial forms, dovetailed with his interest in the urban environment. While in Europe, Lozowick began a series of paintings of American cities, including New York (of which the final version is in the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), which he then translated into lithographs. In addition to New York, these include images of Chicago, Cleveland, and Minneapolis (TF 1995.9). These prints helped establish Lozowick as an innovative portrayer of urban and industrial America alongside such modernist printmakers as John Marin, as in his Woolworth Building No. 2 (TF 1995.16), and Abraham Walkowitz, as exemplified by his New York, #1 (TF 1995.48).

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Provenance

The artist
Margo Pollins Schab, Inc., New York, New York
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1995

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Exhibition History

Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920 (The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–July 15, 1999; Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 10, 1999–May 7, 2000 (in modified form). [exh. cat.]

Figures and Forms: Selections from the Terra Foundation for the Arts, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, May 9–July 9, 2000.

Collection Cameo, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 2004.

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Published References

Flint, Janet A. Louis Lozowick: Drawings and Lithographs. (exh. cat., National Collection of Fine Arts). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1975. Cat. no. 25.

The Gloria and Donald B. Marron Collection of American Prints. (exh. cat., Santa Barbara Museum of Art). Santa Barbara, California: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1981. Ill. no. 62, p. 98 (black & white).

Flint, Janet A. with foreword by Alfred P. Maurice. The Prints of Louis Lozowick: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1982. Text p. 54; ill. no. 6, p. 55 (black & white).

Jacobowitz, Ellen S. and George H. Marcus. American Graphics 1860–1940, Selected from the Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1982. Text p. 79; cat. no. 75, p. 79 (black & white).

Master Prints of Five Centuries: The Alan and Marianne Schwartz Collection. (exh. cat., The Detroit Institute of Arts). Detroit, Michigan: Founders Society, The Detroit Institute of Arts, 1990. No. 65, p. 87.

Louis Lozowick: A Centennial Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints. (exh. cat., Associated American Artists). New York: Associated American Artists, 1992. Ill. no. 2, p. 14 (black & white).

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