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Julien Levy Gallery

  • Name:
    Julien Levy Gallery
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Art Gallery
  • Introduction:

    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.

    Word Count: 34

  • Content:

    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.

    Word Count: 521

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    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).

  • Signature Image:
    T. Lux Feininger, The Painter Muriel Streeter and Julien Levy, 1940, New York (© The Estate of T. Lux Feininger, Repro: www.Kunst-Archive.net).
  • Media:
    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).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    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.

    Word Count: 106

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 22

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Date of Founding:
    02-11-1931
  • Date of Disbandment:
    04-1949
  • Participants (selection):

    T. Lux Feininger, Ilse Bing.

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Helene Roth. "Julien Levy Gallery." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5145-11007220, last modified: 06-05-2021.
  • Rolf Tietgens
    PhotographerEditorWriter

    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.

    Word Count: 39

    Portrait of Rolf Tietgens, n.d. (© Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York).
    Der Hafen by Rolf Tietgens, Ehrmann Verlag, 1936.Rolf Tietgens. “What is Surrealism?” Minicam, July 1939, pp. 30–31 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photo by Rolf Tietgens of Streamliners at the World’s Fair published in the World's Fair special issue of U.S. Camera, August 1939, p. 45 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photo by Rolf Tietgens of the Communication Mall at the World’s Fair 1939 published in the World's Fair special issue of U.S. Camera, August 1939, p. 38 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rolf Tietgens. “Capture the ‘Life’ of the object.” Minicam, January 1940, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rolf Tietgens. “Capture the ‘Life’ of the object.” Minicam, January 1940, pp. 48–49 (Photo: Helene Roth).Felix Kraus. "Why Photographers experiment." Popular Photography, February 1945, pp. 28–29 (Photo: Helene Roth).Hans Arp. Human Concretion, 1935, limestone 73 x 49,5 x 45 cm, photograph by Rolf Tietgens and reproduced in Arp: On My Way. Poetry and Essays 1912–1947, edited by Robert Motherwell, Wittenborn, Schulz, 1948, pp. 130–131 (Photo: Helene Roth).Published photo by Rolf Tietgens (Feininger 1952, 116–117).Times Square. U.S.A. (1952) photobook by Rolf Tietgens, Keith de Lellis Gallery, 1992 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Lotte Jacobi
    Photographer

    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.

    Word Count: 41

    Lotte Jacobi, Self-portrait, New York, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Lotte Jacobi, Central Park, New York, 1936 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, New York Stock Exchange, New York, 1938 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ernst Fuhrmann, New York, 1942 (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Hanya Holm dancing with troup, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.Lotte Jacobi, Werner Wolff, 1943, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Bernhard, 1945, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    New York
    Ruth Jacobi
    Photographer

    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.

    Word Count: 31

    Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Jacobi mit Brille, c. 1935, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Jacobi, c. 1935, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).A Study in Doll Heads by Ruth Jacobi-Roth published in "Salon Section. Four Of A Kind." Popular Photography, December 1937, p. 48 (Photo: Helene Roth).Sisters by Ruth Jacobi-Roth for the "Salon Section. Twins." Popular Photography, February 1938, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Ruth Jacobi-Roth, Grapes, published in the “Picture of the Months” section of Popular Photography, March 1938, p. 42 (Photo: Helene Roth).Ruth Jacobi-Roth, Doll, published in "Salon Section." Popular Photography, March 1938, p. 53 (Photo: Helene Roth).Montage of three pelicans by Ruth Jacobi-Roth published in "Salon Section 1-2-3." Popular Photography, March 1939, p. 47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Head by Ruth Jacobi-Roth published in Maloney 1940, p. 138 (Photo: Helene Roth).Hafen-Romantik und Wolkenkratzer (image by Jacobi, Berlin) and Schönheit der Wolkenkratzer (image by E.O. Hoppé, Mauritius) in New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 14–15 (Archive Helene Roth).Das arme New York (image by Jacobi, Berlin); Trödelladen im Italienerviertel (image by Scherl) New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 56–57 (Archive Helene Roth).Medical Center, die größte Klinik der Welt (am oberen Hudson) (image by Presse-Photo, Berlin); Tausendäugige Häuserfront (image by Jacobi, Berlin), New York, published in Leitich 1932, pp. 48–49 (Archive Helene Roth).Ruhepause bei den Grabsteinen der Trinity Church (image by Scherl); Auch ein Platz für Mittagsruhe (image by Jacobi, Berlin); Orangedrink nach heißer Bahnhfahrt (image by Ewing Galloway, N.Y); Ein Fünfcentstück öffnet die Drehtür zur Untergrundbahn (image by Ewing Galloway, N.Y), published in Leitich 1932, pp. 16–17 (Archive Helene Roth).
    New York
    T. Lux Feininger
    PhotographerPainter

    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.

    Word Count: 50

    T. Lux Feininger, Selfportrait in 511 East 85 Street, 1937, New York (© The Estate of T. Lux Feininger, Repro: www.Kunst-Archive.net).Announcement of an exhibition at the MINT Museum of Art showing works by Lyonel, Andreas as well as T. Lux Feininger. The Charlotte News, 24 December 1955, p. 17 (Photo: Helene Roth).Announcement of an exhibition of T. Lux Feininger’s photographs at the Prakapas Gallery. The New York Times, 17 June 1983, p. c12 (Photo: Helene Roth).Article on the 1930s Bauhaus Photography exhibition, where also works by T. Lux Feininger were shown. The Boston Globe, 14 June 1984, p. 52 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Camera Features
    Photo Agency

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

    Word Count: 20

    Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).
    New York
    Norlyst Gallery
    GalleryArt Gallery

    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

    Flyer for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).
    Announcement for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.
    New York
    Weyhe Gallery
    Art Gallery

    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.

    Word Count: 28

    Address of Weyhe Gallery (Photo: Helene Roth).
    "Ylla." The New Yorker, 14 February 1942, pp.11f.
    New York
    American-British Art Center
    Art Center

    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.

    Word Count: 27

    Article on the opening of the American British Art Center, 44 West 56th Street in New York in The Herald Statesman, 28 January 1941, p. 8 (Photo: Private Archive).
    Article on “Art Exhibit At Bar Harbor. Recent Photographs of Bombed London By Cecil Beaton” in The Bangor Daily News, 11 August 1941, p. 10 (Photo: Private Archive). The article describes the activities of the American British Art Center founded by Ala Story for the benefit of the London art scene, which was isolated and shaken by the war.
    New York
    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.

    Word Count: 30

    László Moholy-Nagy, Cover of sales leaflet for Marcel Breuer’s Isokon Long Chair, 1937 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).
    László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937, front page (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).Mary Benedetta. The Street Markets of London. Photographs by László Moholy-Nagy. (reissued 1972). Benjamin Blom, 1972, “Petticoat Lane: The Spectacle Man” and “Petticoat Lane: In a side street. Some Arabian visitors at a second-hand clothes stall” (Photo: Private Archive, © The Moholy-Nagy Foundation).Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, their triplets and Hattula Moholy-Nagy at 7 Farm Walk, the London home of László and Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, June 1936 (provided by The Moholy-Nagy Foundation).
    London
    Andreas Feininger
    PhotographerWriterEditor

    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

    Portrait of Andreas Feininger by Fritz Henle, 1940/41, cropped detail (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).
    Portrait of Andreas Feininger by Fritz Henle, 1940/41 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, 1, Stockholm, 1937 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, Close Up Equipment, 365 West 20 St. New York, 1940 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, “An Amateur’s Wartime Darkroom.” U.S. Camera, April 1942, pp. 28–29 (Photo: Helene Roth).Scrapbook of Andreas Feininger with photographic essay “New York. A big spectacle in big pictures.” Life, 14 April 1941, pp. 86–87 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Scrapbook of Andreas Feininger with article and photographs by him. “Experimenting with Lights at Night.” Popular Photography, February 1947, pp. 44–45 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).“Feininger’s Workshop - photo facts in pictures. Unsharpness and its cause.” Popular Photography, May 1949, pp.54–55 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York