Lionel Reiss (1894-1988) Wpa Glouchester Artist Etching Galician Rabbi Judaica For Sale
NICE ETCHING BY WELL KNOWN ARTIST LIONEL S. REISS. SEE BIO BELOW. FRAMED UNDER GLASS. IT IS PENCIL SIGNED AND TITLED AT HE BOTTOM. THIS ETCHING COMES FROM WITHIN THE ARTIST AS HE BRINGS IT HIS BACKGROUND AND ETHNIC UPBRINGING. HE DOES MANY OTHER TYPES OF OTHER WORK ALONG WITH GREAT GLOUCHESTER SCENES. THIS IS A DESIRABLE PRINT FROM A GREAT ARTIST. GOOD LUCK. PRINT SIZE APPROX: 6-1/4" X 8" FRAME SIZE APPROX: 12" X 14"
An immigrant from the Austro-Polish province of Galicia, Reiss came to the U.S. in 1899, settled on New York’s Lower East Side and lived most of his life in the city. His origins reflect those of other immigrant artists: Max Weber (1881-1961), Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Louise Nevelson (1899-1988), Ben Shahn (1899-1969), Raphael Soyer (1899-1987), Moses Soyer (1899-1974), Isaac Soyer (1902-1981), and Chaim Gross (1904-1991). Like Reiss, they carried with them childhood impressions of Eastern Europe and Russia. It was only Reiss, however, who took to returning to his native country to create a visual document that resonates with the vibrancy of Jewish life. In the European shtetls, Reiss would find not only the exoticism of a foreign culture, but an emotional connection to his boyhood village of Jaroslav. He went back to bring awareness of such villages to a U.S. audience. The devastation in Europe resulting from World War I reached into the old Jewish ghettos of Krakow, Lublin, Prague and Warsaw. Reiss sensed that the existence of these cultures hung on an ever-thinning thread.Creating graphic appraisals of street life was central to Reiss’ art. Throughout his career, his work focused on class distinctions and social strata. In later years, the locations changed but the subject matter, the people and the street, remained the same. Reiss’ "59th Street Series" (1946) of oil paintings, watercolors, and pen and ink drawings portray daily life with the artist as witness. With a studio on 59th Street, Reiss was both inhabitant and spectator. Anyone walking on that street could experience cultural and social diversity without having to travel a great distance. Reiss also painted landscapes and still lifes of bucolic Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the 1930s; seascapes and fishing scenes of Gloucester, Massachusetts; a series of watercolors that conveyed his personal reaction to the Holocaust; a series of ink drawings that illustrated the poetry of Hayim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934); finally, a series of large murals, entitled "Genesis," depicting biblical scenes. Reiss worked on these Genesis murals for more than twenty years and was still creating them at age 92. It was from Reiss’ strong Jewish identity and his premonition that European Jewish culture was in jeopardy of vanishing that emerged a collection of works on paper documenting and immortalizing it. FACE="Verdana" LANG="0">Many of his most poignant etchings and drawings, includingThe Ghetto Gate of Lublin, 1922, andBlessing of the New Moon, 1922, depict life’s hardships along with its sweetness. Within lives of extreme poverty and persecution were the comforting rituals of tradition. His works from his first journeys in the 1920s and ’30s appeared in his first portfolio,My Models Were Jews: A Painter’s Pilgrimage to Many Lands,in 1938. In 1971, many of those works and others fromNew Lights and Old Shadows,appeared inA World at Twilight: A Portrait of the Jewish Communities of Eastern Europe Before the Holocaustby Milton Hindus of Brandeis University. "Blessing of the New Moon," 1922. Etching, blue ink, 14 3/4 x 18 3/4 inches. Collection of William Mehlman and the Jewish Theological Seminary, N Y. As a Reconstructionist Jew, Reiss confronted in his art a variety of changing aspects of Jewish life. Holding fast to a Jewish identity that stemmed from his own background, he could adapt his Jewish origins to an American lifestyle. This need to live in two civilizations most likely influenced his decision to join the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ) in New York, the pioneering institution of the Reconstructionist movement. Mordecai Kaplan’s ideology of American Judaism as an ongoing, adaptive cultural process that promotes self-expression, remains open to change, encourages social action, and integrates the practice of Judaism with the broader demands of living in a secular society, epitomizes Reiss’ goals as an artist. Reconstructionism connected Reiss to both his Jewish and his American identities.
The years of World War II made real Reiss’ premonitions. While living in New York and listening to the news dispatches about the war, Reiss created a composite of eight watercolors, "In Memoriam: The Millions of Innocent Victims of Nazi Warfare," published inThe Menorah Journalin 1944. In these watercolors, he used realistic images to recreate events that he could not begin to comprehend. As disturbing as the images are, they were created before anyone in the U.S. understood the real facts about the actual Nazi brutalities, and in retrospect they are mild in comparison to the truth. Reiss was responding emotionally to the destruction of the Jewish communities to which he had traveled twenty years earlier. His trip to Israel, funded by the Reconstructionist movement, was a celebration of endurance and of the rebirth of a culture shaken by enormous loss "Ghetto Gate of Lublin," 1922. Etching, sepia ink on paper, 11 x 8 inches. Jewish Museum, New York. In 1981, Reiss was honored for his cultural contribution by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, which bestowed itsKeter Shem TovAward (The Crown of the Good Name). The Hon. William Mehlman, who also holds theKeter Shem Tovand is an active RRC Board member, knew Lionel Reiss and owns several of his beautiful etchings as well as a watercolor, "Yemenite Synagogue," 1952.The Jewish Museum, The New-York Historical Society, and the Skirball Collection in Los Angeles, as well as the Park Avenue Synagogue, own collections of Reiss’ work. Over two hundred and twelve works are in the Reiss Art Collection in the Judaica Division of the Widener Library at Harvard College, seventy are at Brandeis University, and many more are in the private collection of Drs. David and Joann Reiss, the artist’s son and align="left">If every drawing of every face, arched ghetto entrance, synagogue interior and alleyway created by Reiss were lined up for viewing today, a spectrum of studies from a time and place that no longer exist would confront the viewer as a startling and poignant historical panorama. The images created by this protean artist throughout a long career remain strong and clear, although their real models have vanished. To that extent, Lionel S. Reiss realized his goals — and, as a result, we are culturally enriched.An exhibition of 50 of Reiss’ works opened March 9th at the JCC of Greater Washington, DC in Rockville, MD Lionel S. Reiss (b. 1894) American. American painter, etcher and watercolorist, Reiss began his career as a designer and illustrator, and held executive positions as Art Director in the advertising field, primarily with Paramount Studios. He is known for his creation of the "MGM Lion". In 1930 Reiss decided to devote his time to fine art, closed his New York studio and traveled the continent of Europe, North Africa or the Near East, hunting subject matter for his Jewish pictorial records. In 1938 his book "My Models Were Jews" was published. In addition to his work of Jewish content, Lionel Reiss has won distinction for his paintings of the American scene. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Carnegie Institute, Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles Museum Association, Cincinnati Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, Museum of Virginia Fine Arts, Baltimore Museum of Art, Audubon Artists, Southern States Art League, American Watercolor Society, Society of American Etchers, Museum of Modern Art, and more. Permanent collections include Columbia University, the Jewish Museum of the Jewish Theological Seminary, The Sinai Center of Chicago, The Brooklyn Museum, Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv Museum and the Ain Harod Museum (Israel). Books by the artist: "New Lights and Old Shadows"; "My Models Were Jews" [Biography credit: Marilyn Klevit Fine Art, Inc.] In addition to his work of Jewish content, Lionel Reiss has won distinction for his paintings of the American scene, much of which could be considered in the style of the Ashcan School. His work has been included in the permanent collections at the Carnegie Institute, Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles Museum Association. Cincinnati Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, Museum of Virginia Fine Arts, Baltimore Museum of Art, Southern States Art League, American Watercolor Society, Society of American Etchers, Museum of Modern Art, Jewish Museum, Brandeis and Harvard Universities, The New York Historical Society, The Smithsonian Institution, Tel Aviv Museum and others. Mr. Reiss died in 1988. credit for this biography is to Cheryl Slutzky.