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 Joseph Levin  (1894 - 1979)

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Lived/Active: New York / France/Russian Federation      Known for: abstract painting

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Ad Code: 3
Joseph Levin
from Auction House Records.
Sans titre
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Royka's Fine Art & Antiques:
Joseph Levin was an artist in New York and Paris, born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1894 and died in New York in 1979.  His abstract paintings reflect the influence of the avant-garde movements of these great centers of art.  He was promoted by the famous French art critic George Waldemar who is noted for discovering Chaim Soutine.

While living in Russia, Levin was influenced by the pioneer Russian abstract painter Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935) who was first to exhibit abstract paintings in 1913 and published Nonobjective World in 1926 describing his Suprematist theories.  Malevich’s influence on avante-garde artists was so important that some art historians claim without Malevich there would be no Marcel Duchamp.  In 1922, Levin traveled to China and exhibited his paintings in Peking and Tientzin, where Chinese calligraphy would influence his abstract works.

Prior to 1925, Levin moved to Paris, becoming part of the School of Paris Painters. This group of painters included such notables as Marc Chagall (1887-1985), who also traveled between Russia and Paris; and Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) among many other notables.

Joseph Levin’s early works combine his study of Suprematist theories in Russia, Chinese calligraphy and School of Paris influences including Chagall’s dreamlike mixture of cubism, folklore and country life.

Levin moved to New York after World War II and continued to explore theories of Surconsciencilisme.  His theory was similar to that of Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Adolf Gottlieb (1903-1974) and Barnett Newman’s (1905-1970) use of mythology and writings of Freud and Jung concerning dreams and archetypes of collective unconscious operating in a space of human consciousness that transcends specific history and culture.  A show in 1959 at Galerie Marcel Bernheim in Paris exhibited modern works from this period. 

Recently a large number of abstract works were found in an attic that were originally from the Levin's estate, which has renewed research and interest in his works.

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