Julian Edwin Levi Biography

Julian Edwin Levi




Julian Edwin Levi was born to Morris and Rachel Levi in Yorkville, New York on June 20, 1900 but moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1906. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Henry McCarter and Arthur B. Carles. Upon completing his studies at the Academy in 1919, Levi was awarded one of the Pennsylvania Academy's Cresson Traveling Scholarship which enabled him to travel to Italy during the summer of 1920, after which he spent four years in Paris, experimenting with abstraction. He had paintings accepted for exhibition the Salon d'Automne of 1921 and 1922. He met many artists in Paris, and developed a close friendship with Jules Pascin. He retuned for a second stay in Paris during 1926 and 1927.

In Philadelphia, he began exhibiting with the “31” group and met collector Albert Barnes. After moving to New York in 1932 he became a member of An American Group, Inc., in 1933, and was in active in the American Artists' Congress beginning around 1937. Later, Levi was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an Associate Artist of the National Academy of Design, and a member of the Century Association.

During the Great Depression, he was a member of the Federal Art Project between 1936 and 38. His teaching career, which lasted for more than three decades, began in 1946 with his appointments as a painting instructor at the Art Students League and the New School for Social Research in New York City (later the New School appointed him director of its Art Workshop). In 1964, he began making weekly trips to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he taught painting; at the start of the 1977 academic year, he reduced his schedule to once a month and acted as a general critic. During the 1967-68 academic year, Levi was on sabbatical leave while artist-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. In addition, he taught summer courses at Columbia University in the early 1950s and occasionally served as a guest instructor at other summer programs over the years.

His work is held by the Museum of Modern Art and the Society for Contemporary Art. His papers are held at the Archives of American Art. He was elected into the National Academy of Design in 1973 as an Associate member and became a full Academician in 1976.

Julian Edwin Levi died in New York on February 28, 1982.