SURVIVOR FROM A DEAD AGE by Virginia Hagelstein--Ed. Marquardt

SURVIVOR FROM A DEAD AGE

The Memoirs of Louis Lozowick
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The charming memoirs of American urban artist Louis Lozowick (18921973), written about his youth from the perspective of middle and old age. Lozowick lived many lives from 1892 through 1923, the years he focuses on in this selective autobiography. He started out an Orthodox Jewish boy in an impoverished village in the Ukraine. At the insistence of his devout and rigid father, Lozowick became a yeshiva bocher (a young Jewish scholar), but he was saved from this existence by his older brother, who came from Kiev to see him and was disgusted with the filthy conditions of the yeshiva and its students. Lozowick was taken back to Kiev and enrolled in art school, where he was taught drawing and painting with a rigidity and lack of imagination that was worse than he had found in his religious education. He did, become an excellent technical artist as a result. For creativity, however, he would need to immigrate to America, which he did in 1906, when life in Russia was becoming increasingly difficult for Jews. The years between 1906 and 1920 are filled in by the editor (an art historian at Marist College whose work is useful here, but heavy-handed elsewhere), and Lozowick resumes his account in 1920, with a trip he took to Paris, Berlin, and Kiev. He tells of artists he met and how his experiences affected his artistic life, as well as sharing his thoughts about the scene he discovered abroad. While interesting, these sections lack the vividness of his depictions of life in Russia, and when compared with other contemporary accounts of the '20s art scene--Hemingway's A Moveable Feast and Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas come immediately to mind- -Lozowick's take on the period is a little flat. Still, a compelling story of a bygone era. (31 b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-56098-696-4
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1997




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