Edmund Lewandowski (1914–1998)
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Red Barns (After the Harvest), 1942

Edmund Lewandowski was an important voice in the interwar Precisionist art movement. He worked in the 1930s in illustration and advertising, joining Edith Halpert’s stable of artists at the Downtown Gallery in New York, in 1936. The Downtown Gallery was a hotbed of Precisionism, including Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe, George Ault, and Ralston Crawford. Lewandowski shared with Crawford the distinction of having his career as a Precisionist interrupted by service in the military during World War II. A third member of the Downtown stable, Jacob Lawrence, showed alongside both artists in shows of enlisted artists at the Whitney. For his part, Lewandowski spent a portion of the war making murals, and later designed camouflage. Recent writers have described his work as “heroicizing” [Ken Johnson, “Art In Review: ‘American Identity’—Figurative Painting and Sculpture, 1930-1945,’ The New York Times, July 11, 2003], but in the 1940s, the otherworldly clarity of Lewandowski’s work won him inclusion in a show themed around Magic Realism [Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1943, Americans 1943: Realists and Magic Realists].