Abramowicz, Leon

Portrait of Maria Abramowicz, ca.1948
Portrait of Maria Abramowicz, ca.1948, oil on carboard, 38,1 x 47,3 cm

Abramowicz, Leon, Polish painter, member of the “Munich School”. From 1912: student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich/Akademie der Bildenden Künste München; presumably resident in Munich till 1918. *18.3.1889 Czernowitz, †15.2.1978 Vienna. Of Jewish origin, he initially studies painting in Vienna. On the 4.11.1912 he enrols in the drawing class at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich/Königlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste München; studies under Karl Raupp (1837-1918). After the First World War he goes to Switzerland and France. From the 1920s he is resident in Vienna and studies once more from 1933 to 1935 under Karl Sterrer at the Vienna Art Academy. His success as an artist – including commissions from the USA – allows him and his wife, Maria (maiden name: Prenosyl, *15.7.1907) to move into an apartment at “Schottenbastei 16” in the 1st Vienna district. After the Nazi’s so-called “Anschluss” in Austria, he flees to France in May 1938, followed by his wife in January 1939. In May 1938 his apartment is confiscated and sealed by the Gestapo. The inventory, his art works and art collection (600 oil paintings, 7,000 works on paper and copies of old masters) are compulsorily sold off on the 30.12.1938. Since then the works he completed between 1918 and 1938 have completely vanished. At the start of the Second World War the couple is interned by the Nazis in Nice, before being released into a refugee apartment. 1939-41: close friendship with the painter, Pierre Bonnard (1867-1944), who influences his later work. 1943: Maria is arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned in a concentration camp on the Spanish border: Leon is sent to a military camp near Toulouse. Both are able to flee and from then on they live in the underground with the help of the Jewish Refugee Committee in France. After the war ends, the couple lives in Paris, before returning to Vienna in 1950, where they live a withdrawn life. 1956/57: Leon Abramowicz studies once more as a guest student in master classes at the Vienna Art Academy. He paints still lifes, portraits, landscapes and flowers under the influence of Bonnard, Cézanne, Kokoschka and Faistauer.


Further Reading: Karl Heinz Ritschel: Leon Abramowicz 1889-1978. Ein Maler aus der “verschollenen Generation”, Salzburg 1989; Halina Stępień/Maria Liczbińska: Artyści polscy w środowisku monachijskim w latach 1828-1914. Materiały źródłowe, Warsaw 1994, p. 26 f.; Erich Beck: Bibliographie zur Kultur und Landeskunde der Bukowina 1976-1990, Teil 2: Biographische Texte, Wiesbaden 2003, p. 5

Online: Matriculation data base, Matriculation book 3, Academy of Fine Arts Munich, 05172 Leo Abramowicz, http://matrikel.adbk.de/matrikel/mb_1884-1920/jahr_1912/matrikel-05172

Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (Lostart), http://www.lostart.de/Content/051_ProvenienzRaubkunst/DE/Sammler/A/Abramowicz,%20Leon.html

Leon Wilnitzky, Alte Kunst, Vienna, http://www.altekunst-vienna.com/frontend/scripts/index.php?groupId=0&productId=1060&setMaynAreaTemplatePath=mainarea_productdetail.html&query=


Axel Feuß, March 2017

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  • Portrait of Maria Abramowicz, ca.1948

    Portrait of Maria Abramowicz, ca.1948, oil on carboard, 38,1 x 47,3 cm