Painter, enameler and illustrator, Kurt Lewy (1898 – 1963) was born in Essen (Germany), where he taught graphic techniques at the Folkwang Schule from 1929 to 1933. From the advent of Nazism, this Jewish artist was dismissed from his posts. functions. Two years later, he fled Hitler’s Germany to settle in Brussels.
Imprisoned as an enemy subject by the Belgian authorities in May 1940, Kurt Lewy was interned in the camps of Saint-Cyprien and Gurs. In 1942, he managed to escape and returned to Brussels, where he hid for twenty months. In June 1944, he was arrested by the Nazis, who interned him in Mechelen until the Liberation.
After the Second World War, Kurt Lewy renounced the figurative themes that had guided his production until then, marked in its beginnings by German expressionism. He turned to abstraction, which he would explore until his death. Anxious to “eliminate the superfluous, the ephemeral, the chaotic”, his geometrical research frees him from the anxieties that the nightmare of war had caused him as well as his isolation as an emigrant.
Drawing on the heritage of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, but also on works from the Antwerp gallery Callewaert-Vanlangendonck, this exhibition brings out of the shadows an essential figure, but now forgotten, of Belgian painting. post-war. It reveals a work which, seizing the precipitation of evolution from the history of art in the 20th century, shows a path that starts from figuration and ends in abstraction.
Jewish Museum of Belgium, 21 rue des Minimes, 1000 Bruxelles
0032 (0) 2 512 19 63
Sept 11th 2020 – Feb 7th 2021