Skip to main content
  • Design Credit: Samantha Todhunter Design Ltd., Photo Credit: Oliver Clarke. Dimensions: H 28 in. x W 32 in.
  • Design Credit: Lucy Harris Studio, Photo Credit: Francesco Bertocci. Dimensions: H 28 in. x W 32 in.
  • Design Credit: Timothy Godbold, Photo Credit: Karl Simone. Dimensions: H 28 in. x W 32 in.
  • Want more images or videos?
    Request additional images or videos from the seller
1 of 9

Lionel Reiss
"New York City Skyline View from the East River," Lionel Reiss, Jewish Artist

$3,500

About the Item

Lionel S. Reiss (1894 - 1988) New York City Skyline View from the East River Watercolor on paper 13 x 19 inches Signed lower left In describing his own style, Lionel Reiss wrote, “By nature, inclination, and training, I have long since recognized the fact that...I belong to the category of those who can only gladly affirm the reality of the world I live in.” Reiss’s subject matter was wide-ranging, including gritty New York scenes, landscapes of bucolic Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and seascapes around Gloucester, Massachusetts. However, it was as a painter of Jewish life—both in Israel and in Europe before World War II—that Reiss excelled. I.B. Singer, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, noted that Reiss was “essentially an artist of the nineteenth century, and because of this he had the power and the courage to tell visually the story of a people.” Although Reiss was born in Jaroslaw, Poland, his family immigrated to the United States in 1898 when he was four years old. Reiss's family settled on New York City’s Lower East Side and he lived in the city for most of his life. Reiss attended the Art Students League and then worked as a commercial artist for newspapers and publishers. As art director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he supposedly created the studio’s famous lion logo. After World War I, Reiss became fascinated with Jewish life in the ‘Old World.’ In 1921 he left his advertising work and spent the next ten years traveling in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Like noted Jewish photographers Alter Kacyzne and Roman Vishniac, Reiss depicted Jewish life in Poland prior to World War II. He later wrote, “My trip encompassed three main objectives: to make ethnic studies of Jewish types wherever I traveled; to paint and draw Jewish life, as I saw it and felt it, in all aspects; and to round out my work in Israel.” In Europe, Reiss recorded quotidian scenes in a variety of media and different settings such as Paris, Amsterdam, the Venice ghetto, the Jewish cemetery in Prague, and an array of shops, synagogues, streets, and marketplaces in the Jewish quarters of Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Lublin, Vilna, Ternopil, and Kovno. He paid great attention to details of dress, hair, and facial features, and his work became noted for its descriptive quality. A selection of Reiss’s portraits appeared in 1938 in his book My Models Were Jews. In this book, published on the eve of the Holocaust, Reiss argued that there was “no such thing as a ‘Jewish race’.” Instead, he claimed that the Jewish people were a cultural group with a great deal of diversity within and between Jewish communities around the world. Franz Boas, the founder of modern anthropology, contributed the introduction to the book to support Reiss’s view. Unfortunately, the Nazis thought otherwise and initiated a policy of genocide against the Jewish ‘race’ that ultimately murdered 6 million Jews. After World War II, Reiss wrote, “Doubtless most of my models in Central and Eastern Europe were numbered among the millions of victims. They have haunted me for years.” Reiss had first observed life in Israel in 1930-31 under the British mandate. In 1952, the Jewish Reconstructionist movement gave Reiss a grant that allowed him to devote six months to traveling through Israel and depicting what he saw. In Israel, he gushed, “there is a lifetime of possibilities in the inexhaustible themes.” In 1954, Reiss published his second book, New Lights and Old Shadows. It contained 210 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and etchings that dealt with “the new lights” of a reborn Israel and the “old shadows” of a European Jewish culture that had been almost wiped out. Reiss reprised the same theme in his last book, A World of Twilight [1972]. He continued painting almost until his death. Lionel Reiss’s strong Jewish identity and his premonition that European Jewish life itself was in danger of vanishing helped him create a record of that culture. “It was my hope,” he later wrote, “that by pencil and brush I might perpetuate many of the visual aspects of a people whose patterns of life were rapidly changing, and whose memorable landmarks were vanishing.” Thanks to his work, the faces, ghetto architecture, synagogues, and alleyways all remain to remind the viewer of a time and place that no longer exist.
  • Creator:
    Lionel Reiss (1894 - 1986, American, Jewish, Polish)
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 28 in (71.12 cm)Width: 32 in (81.28 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
    Excellent.
  • Gallery Location:
    Larchmont, NY
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU184129905572

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Retrieving quote...
    Ships From: Larchmont, NY
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

1stDibs Buyer Protection Guaranteed
If your item arrives not as described, we’ll work with you and the seller to make it right. Learn More
About the Seller
5.0
Located in Larchmont, NY
Platinum Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are 1stDibs' most experienced sellers and are rated highest by our customers.
Established in 2021
1stDibs seller since 2022
20 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
More From This SellerView All
  • "Morningside Park, New York City," Wood Gaylor, American Modernism Landscape
    Located in Larchmont, NY
    Wood Gaylor (1883 - 1957) Morningside Park, New York City, 1918 Watercolor on paper 9 1/2 x 12 inches Signed, titled and dated lower right Provenance: Private Collection, Cohoes, Ne...
    Category

    1910s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Watercolor

  • "Rooftops," Edmund Lewandowski, Precisionism Modernist Industrial Factory Scene
    By Edmund Lewandowski
    Located in Larchmont, NY
    Edmund D. Lewandowski (1914 - 1998) Rooftops, 1994 Gouache on paper 22 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches Signed and dated lower right Provenance: Collection of John R. Eckel, Jr., Houston, Texas ...
    Category

    1990s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Gouache

  • "Hydrangeas," Walter Inglis Anderson, Mississippi Southern Illustrator, Flowers
    Located in Larchmont, NY
    Walter Anderson ( American, 1903 - 1965) Hydrangeas, circa 1950 Mixed media on paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches Provenance: Luise Ross Gallery, New York Private Collection, New Jersey Acqu...
    Category

    Mid-20th Century American Modern Landscape Paintings

    Materials

    Paper, Crayon

  • "New York City Harbor (Brooklyn Bridge)," Leon Dolice, East River, Mid-Century
    By Leon Dolice
    Located in Larchmont, NY
    Leon Dolice (1892 - 1960) New York Harbor (Brooklyn Bridge), circa 1930-40 Pastel on paper 12 x 19 inches Signed lower right Provenance: Spanierman Gallery, New York The romantic b...
    Category

    1930s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Pastel

  • "New York City Harbor" Leon Dolice, Downtown Skyline, East and Hudson River
    By Leon Dolice
    Located in Larchmont, NY
    Leon Dolice (1892 - 1960) New York Harbor Skyline at Twilight (Searching), circa 1930-40 Pastel on paper 12 x 19 inches Signed lower left Provenance: Spanierman Gallery, New York T...
    Category

    1930s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Pastel

  • "Tokyo Diptych," Yvonne Jacquette, Japanese Urban Cityscape Nocturnal Aerial
    By Yvonne Jacquette
    Located in Larchmont, NY
    Yvonne Jacquette (American, b. 1935) Tokyo Diptych, 1985 Pastel on paper Overall 17 1/4 x 28 1/2 inches Signed lower center Provenance: Carey Ellis Company, Houston, Texas Brooke Al...
    Category

    1980s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Pastel

People Also Browsed
  • Summer Afternoon, Taos, New Mexico, 1920s Modern Watercolor Mountain Landscape
    By Arnold Rönnebeck
    Located in Denver, CO
    Watercolor on paper. Image size is 7 ¾ x 10 ¼ inches, dimensions with mat measure 16 ¼ x 18 ¼ inches. This piece is unframed, housed in an archival mat. Framed pictures are mock-ups...
    Category

    1920s American Modern Landscape Paintings

    Materials

    Watercolor

  • "Morningside Park, New York City," Wood Gaylor, American Modernism Landscape
    Located in Larchmont, NY
    Wood Gaylor (1883 - 1957) Morningside Park, New York City, 1918 Watercolor on paper 9 1/2 x 12 inches Signed, titled and dated lower right Provenance: Private Collection, Cohoes, Ne...
    Category

    1910s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Watercolor

  • Untitled (Trees)
    By Charles E. Burchfield
    Located in Buffalo, NY
    An original watercolor on paper by American modernist Charles E. Burchfield, created in 1916. This work comes in an archival frame presentation and has been authenticated by the Bur...
    Category

    1910s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Watercolor

  • Moses on Mount Sinai by LÉON BAKST - Gouache on paper by Russian-Jewish artist
    By Leon Bakst
    Located in London, GB
    Moses on Mount Sinai by LÉON BAKST (1866-1924) Gouache on paper 66 x 48 cm (26 x 18 ⁷/₈ inches) Signed lower right, Bakst 1913 Provenance Phillips London, 29th June 1992 Private co...
    Category

    1910s Modern Figurative Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Gouache, Paper

  • Modernist Judaica Jewish Ink Drawing Painting "New Immigrant" Off the Boat WPA
    By Ben-Zion Weinman
    Located in Surfside, FL
    An ink drawing Judaic painting by modern artist Ben-Zion Weinman. It depicts a portrait of an old Jewish man. Coming over from Europe on a ship crossing. The work is signed "Ben-Zion...
    Category

    1940s American Modern Figurative Paintings

    Materials

    Watercolor, Gouache

You May Also Like
  • A Mirage- Modernist 1920s Arizona Southwest Desert Landscape Watercolor Painting
    By George Elbert Burr
    Located in Denver, CO
    A Mirage (Desert Landscape, Arizona), vintage 1927 original signed watercolor on paper by George Elbert Burr (1859-1939). Presented in a custom frame with archival mat and UV protect...
    Category

    1920s American Modern Landscape Paintings

    Materials

    Watercolor, Archival Paper

  • Colorado Mountain Winter Landscape Watercolor Painting, Blue, Orange, Purple
    Located in Denver, CO
    Colorado mountain landscape watercolor painting signed by artist Rita Derjue (1934-2020) depicts Cabins in the Snow in bright tones of blue, yellow, green and red/brown. Signed by t...
    Category

    20th Century American Modern Landscape Paintings

    Materials

    Watercolor, Archival Paper

  • Mill Near Plainfield, New Hampshire, Landscape Painting, Charles Partridge Adams
    By Charles Partridge Adams
    Located in Denver, CO
    "Mill Near Plainfield, New Hampshire" is an original, signed watercolor painting by artist Charles Partridge Adams (1858-1942), circa 1900. Singed by the artist in the lower left cor...
    Category

    20th Century American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Watercolor, Archival Paper

  • Colorful 20th Century Northern California Seascape in Watercolor on Paper
    By Alysanne McGaffey
    Located in San Francisco, CA
    This late 20th century Northern California colorful seascape in watercolor on paper is by Bay Area artist Alysanne McGaffey (1931-2018). Born in Seattle, McGaffey moved to San Franci...
    Category

    Late 20th Century American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Watercolor, Paper

  • "Mt. Shastina (left) and Mt. Shasta (right)" April 30, 1999 Watercolor Landscape
    By Mary Pomeroy
    Located in San Francisco, CA
    This April 30, 1999 watercolor on paper landscape entitled Mt. Shastina (left) and Mt. Shasta (right) is by Mary Barnaš Pomeroy (1921-2010), a German-born California painter. She was...
    Category

    Late 20th Century American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Paper, Watercolor

  • Modernist Trees, 1940s Framed Modernist Landscape Watercolor Painting, Red Green
    By Richard Sorby
    Located in Denver, CO
    Modernist painting of trees, interior forest scene by Colorado artist, Richard Sorby (1911-2001). Painted in dark colors of green, blue and black with brown, orange and white. Water...
    Category

    1940s American Modern Landscape Drawings and Watercolors

    Materials

    Watercolor, Archival Paper

Recently Viewed

View More

The 1stDibs Promise

Learn More

Expertly Vetted Sellers

Confidence at Checkout

Price-Match Guarantee

Exceptional Support

Buyer Protection

Trusted Global Delivery