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Paintings by Israel Litwak

DATES November 3, 1939 through December 17, 1939
COLLECTIONS American Art
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  • October 20, 1939: An exhibition of color drawings by Israel Litwak will be put on view at the Brooklyn Museum by the Print Department from Friday, November 3rd, through Sunday,. December 17th.

    The Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum will present a memorial exhibition of water colors by George Pearse Ennis and Paul L. Gill. The exhibition will run from November 4th through the 26th.


    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 09-10/1939, 260. View Original
  • Date unknown, approximately 1939: A Brooklyn Primitive, it is claimed by the Print Department of the Brooklyn Museum, has been discovered and is to have an exhibition in the Print Gallery from Friday, November 3rd, through Sunday, December 17th.

    The artist is Israel Litwak, a native of Odessa, Russia, where he was born in 1867. This makes him 72 years old. He is now an American citizen. His trade is cabinet making, and before he left Russia he was conducting a successful furniture business.

    Mr. Litwak never took a painting or drawing lesson in his life, but is an enthusiastic artist. Pittsburg has its John Kane, and now it is possible that Brooklyn will have its Litwak.

    It is one of his firm policies not to sell his pictures. The Museum was interested enough in him to accept four drawings as a gift and will show forty in the exhibition. His works range in size from small drawings up to a longest dimension of four feet. Being a cabinet maker he, of course, makes his own frames. It is impossible to explain his technique as he will not tell what materials he uses to produce his color drawings.

    (NOTE TO THE EDITOR: The release facts above apply only to this release as they were included in the Ennis and Gill release which you have just received by mistake. We are not trying to keep the Ennis and Gill Exhibition as confidential for the moment as the Litwak Exhibition).

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 09-10/1939, 226. View Original
  • Date unknown, approximately 1939: The Print Department of the Brooklyn Museum believes it has discovered the first primitive or popular painter (see definition below) to have his home in Brooklyn and who merits museum showing. The Curator of Prints and Drawings, Mr. Carl O. Schniewind, has enough regard for his work to have accepted four of his pictures for the Museum’s collections. A rather complete exhibition of his color drawings will be held at the Museum from Friday, November 3rd, through Sunday, December 17th.

    The artist is Israel Litwak, a native of Odessa, Russia, where his was born in 1867. This makes him 72 years old. His is now an American citizen.

    As he has not been well recently, it has been arranged that he can be seen for an interview on Tuesday, October 31st, between 9:30 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. His address is Care of Mr. Niman, 918 East 48th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., telephone number 2-0846.

    His trade is cabinet making, and before he left Russia he was conducting a successful furniture business.

    Mr. Litwak never took a painting or drawing lesson in his life, but is an enthusiastic artist. Pittsburgh has its John Kane, and now it is possible that Brooklyn will have its Litwak.

    It is one of his firm policies not to sell his pictures. His works range in size from small drawings up to a longest dimension of four feet. Being a cabinet maker, he of course, makes his own frames. It is impossible to explain his technique as he will not tell what materials he uses to produce his color drawings.

    (NOTE TO EDITOR: We feel that this is a feature story that can be handled better by one of your staff rather than our giving you a lot of biographical information. Although the exhibition opens the 4th, we are releasing it on the 1st and 2nd of November as it may received mention in some monthly magazines on the 1st.)

    DEFINITION OF A CONTEMPORARY PRIMITIVE: A Contemporary Primitive is a painter who paints home-made folk art and who is also referred to as a “popular” painter.


    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 09-10/1939, 272. View Original
  • Date unknown, approximately 1939: The Print Department of the Brooklyn Museum has arranged an exhibition of color drawings by Israel Litwak to run from Friday, November 3rd, through Sunday, December 17th.

    Carl O. Schniewind, Curator of Prints and Drawings, has accepted four of his drawings of the Museum’s collection. He considers him interesting as a primitive or popular painter. As far as we can find in the records, he is the first one to receive Museum recognition who lives in the Borough of Brooklyn.

    Litwak is a native of Odessa, Russia, where he was born in 1667, (now 72). He is an American citizen. Cabinet making was his trade. Before he left Russia he had built up a successful furniture business.

    He has never had a painting or drawing lesson and is an enthusiastic artist. It is one of his firm policies not to sell his pictures and he will not explain the technique or materials he uses to produce them. The works range in size from small drawings up to some having a longest dimension of four feet. Being a cabinet maker he, of course, makes his own frames.


    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 11-12/1939, 277. View Original
  • November 4, 1939: Two exhibitions opened to the public today at the Brooklyn Museums; first, the “Ennis-Gill Memorial Exhibition” of water colors; and a showing of color drawings by Israel Litwak, a resident of Brooklyn. The water color exhibition will extend through November 26th and the Litwak exhibition through December 17th.

    The memorial exhibition is for George Pearse Ennis and Paul Ludwig Gill who are both well known in their field. The Museum is holding it as part of their policy of placing special emphasis on water colors. The work shown will be somewhat retrospective as it will include work from both men’s mature periods as well as the work they did before their death. Ennis died in 1936 and Gill in 1938. About 50 works by each artist will be shown.

    The Curator of the Department of Prints and Drawings is following up his acceptance for the Museum’s collection of four color drawings by Israel Litwak with an exhibition of this 72 years old artist’s work. Litwak who is a native of Odessa, Russia, where he was a cabinet maker and conducted a thriving furniture business, is the first artist to be classed as a “primitive” or “popular painter” from Brooklyn to receive, a museum showing of this kind. He has never taken a painting or drawing lesson and is an enthusiastic artist. Two of his firm policies are not to sell his pictures nor to explain the technique by which he produces them. The Litwak exhibition will be shown in the Print Gallery which opens off the Balcony Gallery on the second floor where part of the Ennis-Gill Exhibition is hung. The balance of it is in the Entrance Gallery on the first floor.


    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 11-12/1939, 276. View Original