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 San Lewensohn  (1898 - 1996)

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Lived/Active: New York/Florida      Known for: landscape, florals, birds, decoration

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Mark Borghi Fine Art Inc., New York

San Lewensohn was born in Jerusalem, Palestine on October 16, 1898 and died in Hollywood, Florida on September 4 1996 just two years and twelve days short of his 100th birthday. He came to the United States in 1920, with his teaching certificate from Jerusalem. He taught at the Eitz Chiam school in the Boro Park Section of Brooklyn, while studying art at Cooper Union in lower Manhattan.

Mr. Lewensohn had his first formal exhibit at the Academy of Allied Arts which was located at 349 West 86th Street, New York City. He had two paintings in that show which were listed in the catalog as "Shore Road" for $45.00 and "Sun Flowers" for $25.00. The exhibition ran from the 10th to the 31st st of October, 1940. Although his main art form was painting his apartment in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn was a showplace of his work. He had a sofa and chairs which had been covered in a canvas like material on which he painted birds and flowers and there were a few intricately carved tables, some of which were also painted with flowers and birds.

Visiting his museum-type apartment one could look through the dozen or so tiny drawers in a small cabinet that he built. It has a door covering the drawers which is adorned with colorful birds. The top was made up of two compartments. One compartment held the old style speakeasy type telephone, and the other held the telephone book. The drawers held all manner of magical things that a youngster could fantasize about, such as glass eyes which he used to finish off some stuffed animals that he worked on. There were dozens of small magnifying lenses which he used to enhance his photographs. There were small tools which he designed, and of course the colors that he used for his paintings.

Mr. Lewensohn moved to Florida in 1980 after the death of his wife. He claimed that he could no longer paint and he devoted most of his time preparing illuminated manuscripts mostly in Hebrew with one or two in English and French. He spoke all three languages fluently, in addition to German, which he preferred for technical studies. In 1987 his eyesight started to deteriorate and he had to give up the illuminations because of the great amount of detail they required.

Not being able to sit idle he went back to his first love, painting. At this point he worked only in watercolor and was capable of turning out two or three watercolors a week. He continued to paint until his death.

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