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Julien Levy Gallery

  • The Julien Levy Gallery was founded by the art dealer Julien Levy (1906–1981) in 1931, and was situated in the New York gallery district around 57th Street, where the Weyhe and Norlyst Gallery were also located.
  • Julien Levy Gallery
  • Art Gallery
  • The Julien Levy Gallery was founded by the art dealer Julien Levy (1906–1981) in 1931, and was situated in the New York gallery district around 57th Street, where the Weyhe and Norlyst Gallery were also located.

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  • During time spent in Paris in 1927, New York-born Julien Levy came into contact with a number of European artists and photographers, as well as some American artists and photographers who were spending time there. After his return to New York, he worked in the print room at the Weyhe Gallery as Carl Zigrosser’s assistant.
    In 1931 he opened his own gallery on 607 Madison Avenue, where it remained until 1937 when he moved it to 15 East 57th Street. In 1941, he spent some time in California running his business there, then in 1942 he relocated back to 15 East 57th Street. In 1943, the gallery moved to 42 East 57th Street, where it remained until its closure in 1949. The Julien Levy Gallery was situated during the years in the gallery district around 57th Street, where the Weyhe Gallery and the Norlyst Gallery were also located.

    Levy specialised from the very beginning in American and European art and photography, focusing on the avantgarde network between Paris and New York. During the 1930s, the only galleries to exhibit photography as an art form were the Alfred Stieglitz gallery, An American Place and the Weyhe Gallery. Besides photography, Julien Levy’s gallery was also known for its exhibitions of contemporary art featuring new and international trends in painting, film and sculpture.
    In his Modern European Photography: Twenty Photographers exhibition in 1932, Julien Levy featured the work of European photographers and made them visible in the New York photography scene. Among the photographers exhibited were Ilse Bing, Herbert Bayer, Umbo, Walter Peterhans, Maurice Tabard, László Moholy-Nagy and André Kertész. Many of them had their first exhibitions in the U.S. and were unaware that just a few years later they would be emigrating to New York. Ilse Bing's work, for example, gained a considerable reputation thanks her participation in New York exhibitions in the 1930s. It was during this time that she had the opportunity to travel to New York and made her first visual encounters with the city. When she was obliged to emigrate to New York in 1941, her reputation failed to reach the heights it had enjoyed in 1932.
    It is not known whether Julien Levy’s gallery particularly focused on émigré photographers in New York during the 1930s and 1940s, showing their work in his exhibitions, as he did with émigré avantgarde and surrealist artists such as Férnand Léger, Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí, but he was very interested in transatlantic artistic exchange.
    During the late 1930s and 1940s the German émigré painter and photographer T. Lux Feininger (the brother of the photographer Andreas Feininger) had three exhibitions at the Julien Levy Gallery on his paintings. From May, 5 until December, 31 1937 his first one man show Paintings of Ships run at the Julien Levy Gallery. Following in 1940 with the two men show together with the artist and photographer Ben Shan and in January 1947 with a solo exhibition. T. Lux Feininger emigrated in 1936 to New York. Beside his career as painter he photographed the city also focussing like in his paintings on nautical topics as well as the urban infrastructure and transportation system and everyday scenes on the street.

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  • 607 Madison Avenue, Central Park South, Manhattan, New York City (1931–1937); 15 East 57th Street, Central Park South, Manhattan, New York City (1937–1941); 15 East 57th Street, Central Park South, Manhattan, New York City (1942–1943); 42 East 57th Street, Central Park South, Manhattan,New York City (1943–1949).

  • T. Lux Feininger, The Painter Muriel Streeter and Julien Levy, 1940, New York (© The Estate of T. Lux Feininger, Repro:
  • Exhibition flyer Paintings of Ships by T. Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from May, 7 until December, 31 1937 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).
    Exhibition flyer by Theodore Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from January, 21 until January, 31 1947 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).
    Announcement of the exhibition Modern European Photography at the Julien Levy Gallery (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 21 February 1932, p. 52).
  • New York Photography 1890–1950. Von Stieglitz bis Man Ray, edited by Ortrud Westheider and Michael Philipp, exh. cat Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, 2012.

    Rosenblum, Naomi. A History of Women Photographers. Abbeville Press, 1994.

    Schaber, Irme. “Fotografie.” Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration 1933–1945, edited by Claus-Dieter Krohn and Patrick von zur Mühlen, WBG, 1998, pp. 970–983.

    Schaffner, Ingrid, and Lisa Jacobs, editors. Julien Levy. Portrait of an Art Gallery. MIT Press, 1998.

    Travis, David. Photographs from the Julien Levy Collection. Starting von Atget, exh. cat. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1976.

    Ware, Katherine, and Peter Barberie. Dreaming in black and white: photography at the Julien Levy Gallery, exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 2006.

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  • Helene Roth
  • 02-11-1931
  • 04-1949
  • T. Lux Feininger, Ilse Bing.

  • New York
  • No
  • Helene Roth. "Julien Levy Gallery." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 06-05-2021.
  • Rolf Tietgens
    New York

    Rolf Tietgens was a German émigré photographer who arrived in New York in 1938. Although, in the course of his photographic career, his artistic and surrealist images were published and shown at exhibitions, his work, today, is very little known.

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    Lotte Jacobi
    New York

    In October 1935 the German émigré photographer Lotte Jacobi, together with her sister Ruth Jacobi, opened a photo studio on 57th Street. The two sisters had to leave their parents' photo studio in Berlin in the 1930s and emigrated to New York.

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    Ruth Jacobi
    New York

    Ruth Jacobi was a German-speaking, Polish-born photographer who emigrated in 1935 to New York, where she opened a studio together with her sister Lotte Jacobi. She later had her own portrait studio.

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    T. Lux Feininger
    New York

    Lux T. Feininger was a German-American émigré photographer and painter and the brother of the photographer Andreas Feininger, arriving in 1936 in New York. Although he started taking photographs during the 1920s in Germany, Feininger is better known for his career as a painter and his photographic work is largely unacknowledged.

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    Camera Features
    Photo Agency
    New York

    Camera Features was a photo agency founded by the photographer Werner Wolff and other colleagues of the photo agency PIX.

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    Norlyst Gallery
    GalleryArt Gallery
    New York

    Founded in 1943 by the American painter and art collector Elenore Lust, the Norlyst Gallery represented a cross section of contemporary painting, photography and other media focusing on surrealist and abstract expressionist styles and promoting women artists and photographers.

    Word Count: 38

    Weyhe Gallery
    Art Gallery
    New York

    Opened in 1919 by the German-born art dealer Erhard Weyhe opened a bookstore and gallery space specialised in contemporary European artists and was the first to specialise in prints.

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    American-British Art Center
    Art Center
    New York

    The émigré gallerist Ala Story left London for New York around 1940, where she co-founded the American-British Art Center, which introduced British and US artists to the public.

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    László Moholy-Nagy
    PhotographerGraphic DesignerPainterSculptor

    László Moholy-Nagy emigrated to London in 1935, where he worked in close contact with the local avantgarde and was commissioned for window display decoration, photo books, advertising and film work.

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    Andreas Feininger
    New York

    Andreas Feininger, was a German émigré photographer who arrived in New York with his wife Wysse Feininger in 1939. He started a lifelong career exploring the city's streets, working as a photojournalist and writing a large number of photography manuals.

    Word Count: 39