Painting sketch No. 2 - New York1922
20 5/8 in. x 15 3/4 in. (52.39 cm x 40.01 cm)
The fusion of known elements such as what resembles the Brooklyn Bridge in the left half of the foreground with a westward view of skyscrapers in Manhattan’s Financial District results in a topographically surreal composition, a perspective that, in reality, could not have been gained from any vantage point.
Ukrainian-born American modernist artist Louis Lozowick (1892-1973) immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of fourteen, but returned to Europe in 1920 to acquaint himself with the burst of artistic movements occurring in France, Germany, and Russia. After spending two years in Paris, where he became immersed in the Montparnasse café scene and met artists such as Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico, and Marc Chagall, among many others, in 1922 Lozowick moved to Berlin, where he joined the circles of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and El Lissitzky; that summer he also traveled to Russia, where he met Kasimir Malevich, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin, and other members of the Russian avant garde.
Lozowick’s exposure to technological imagery, industrial principles, and machine aesthetics, in general, and Constructivism, in particular, during his time in Europe and Russia are frequently credited as the most significant influences on his artistic practice; and his choice of skyscrapers and elevated train tracks undoubtedly resulted from such influences. Yet, in this early cityscape, his use of brilliant color in a painterly manner—deep orange to capture the warmth of the bright sky, cobalt blue to capture the cool shadows beneath the elevated train tracks—evokes the style of Henri Matisse, who, despite having left Paris by the time Lozowick arrived, would still have been an important figure among the Montparnasse art circle of the early 1920s.
The intense contrast between light and shade in this vibrant color scheme foreshadows the dazzling contrast between light and shade in his later lithographic renderings of New York’s urban wonders, as exemplified by his 1926 print, Checkerboard [Under The El], which shows a street view from below elevated train tracks with the sunlight beaming through.
Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Assistant | Librarian | Archivist
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
- Addison Gallery of American Art: 65 Years Addison Gallery of American Art , 4/13/1996 - 7/31/1996
- Parallel Perspectives: Early Twentieth Century American Art Addison Gallery of American Art , 11/16/1999 - 5/1/2000
- Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s American Federation of Arts , 9/9/2006 - 9/7/2009
- Inside, Outside, Upstairs, Downstairs: The Addison Anew Addison Gallery of American Art , 9/7/2010 - 3/27/2011
- People, Places, Things: Symbols of American Culture Addison Gallery of American Art , 9/4/2012 - 1/13/2013
- Street Talk: Chris Daze Ellis in Dialogue with the Collection Addison Gallery of American Art , 5/3/2014 - 7/31/2014
- Searching for the Real Addison Gallery of American Art , 5/30/2015 - 7/31/2015
- Selections from the Permanent Collection Addison Gallery of American Art , 9/12/2015 - 3/13/2016
- Icon of Modernism: Representing the Brooklyn Bridge, 1883-1950 Georgia Museum of Art,The University of Georgia , 9/17/2016 - 12/11/2016
- In and Out of Place Addison Gallery of American Art , 2/16/2019 - 7/31/2019
- Currents/Crosscurrents: American Art, 1850–1950 Addison Gallery of American Art , 10/16/2020 - 3/7/2021
This object has the following bibliographic references:
- Modernism: Representing the Brooklyn Bridge, 1883-1950 . Georgia Museum of Art. 2016
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