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Allen Lewis Prints

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Allen Lewis was born in Mobile, Alabama on April 7, 1873. In 1894, at the age of 21, he left for Paris where he studied at the Academie Colarossi and with Jean-Leon Gerome at the Ecole des Beaus Arts, creating his first etchings in 1895. In 1900 his work, along with fellow Americans Whistler and Pennell, was accepted in the printmaking section of the Paris Salon. With his reputation growing due to the Salon he began teaching etching in Paris, living the frugal Bohemian life. One of his students was the American Donald Shaw MacLaughlan.

Lewis returned to New York in 1902 where he continued to do printmaking. That year he began making a living designing bookplates, including one for William M Ivans, Jr. (who became curator of prints at the Metropolitan Museum), ultimately doing over fifty.

Lewis became a part of photographer Alfred Steiglitz's circle (Lewis designed and printed his book plate) and was the third exhibition of etching done at Steiglitz's contemporary New York gallery 291 (after Geiger, MacLaughlan and Matisse). He showed 43 etchings, drypoints and bookplates. He was an Associate Member of the Photo-Secession and one of his photographs (Winter) was included in the 1912 issue of Camera Work. He also became known for his color woodcuts. In 1915 he won a Gold Medal at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco for his printmaking. Lewis was a member of the National Academy of Design and the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Lewis taught printmaking and illustration in New York at the Art Students League with Joseph Pennell between 1924 and 1932 and from 1932 through 1934 at the New School for Social Research in New York. In the 1940s his health deteriorated and he turned from producing art to studying the Old Masters and William Morris’s techniques.

Allen Lewis died on March 20, 1957 in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

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