A Modernist during the late 1930s and 1940s

Wisconsin’s Visual Arts Legacy: Edmond Lewandowski

by Robert Cozzolino

The Funeral, n.d., Edmund Lewandowski (1914-1998)
Lewandowski studied and then taught at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee. A native Milwaukean, he gained fame as a Modernist during the late 1930s and 1940s when he was associated with what critics termed Precisionism. Lewandowski transformed the gritty industrial landscapes of the Great Lakes into clean, hard-edged, smooth, shiny, and cool abstractions devoid of human beings. Signs, electrical wires, transformers, and networks of steel become icons to modern America in his best-known paintings. Like Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, and Charles Sheeler, Lewandowski was represented by Edith Halpert’s Downtown Gallery in New York, a venue known for representing modernists firmly devoted to representing the visible world – subject matter – through degrees of formal abstraction.

Recently the UW Madison - Wisconsin Union Galleries put on an exhibition titled; “Highlights from the Wisconsin Union Art Collection” The exhibition was an overview of works that have been collected over the years by the Wisconsin Union. A large number of the works are those of Wisconsin artists.
In this and upcoming issues of Art in Wisconsin, We will have a chance to see some of those works along with informative essays on the artists prepared by the curators of the show: Students of the Wisconsin Union Gallery Committee and Robert Cozzolino.
There is a website documenting the exhibiton at:

Related Website: www.union.wisc.edu/art/collection/