American (born Russia), 1892–1973
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1978.11
Picked out in strong contrasts of shadow and light, the verticality of this construction scene highlights the boom in New York skyscrapers that marked the first decades of the 20th century (1930, the year this print was made, the iconic Chrysler Building was constructed; the Empire State Building was completed the following year). Louis Lozowick was part of the Precisionism movement of the 1920s, which represented the industrial modernization of America with stark geometric lines and shapes.
Lozowick’s perspective on the changing city follows the earlier lead of Bellows and the other Ashcan artists in theme and format. In 1925, Lozowick helped found the left wing magazine New Masses in homage to the earlier socialist magazine The Masses of the Ashcan era. As a Russian immigrant to the U.S., he was a supporter of communism and an advocate for the working class. His art often depicts scenes of manual labor and the tools of working men.