A vividly illustrated volume that highlights Winold Reiss’ significant imprint on American visual culture, telling the story of his artistic life in New York City and interweaving it with the larger history of modernism in American art.
Winold Reiss: the ‘immigrant modernist’ who changed American art
“These catalog essays provide enlightening commentary on the seemingly unlimited scope of Reiss’ art – folk art-inspired furniture, jazz-age restaurant designs, the striking mural, City of the Future, which Reiss painted in 1936, and his stunning portrait sketches, still exuding life and spirit to a startling degree.”—Ed Voves, Art Eyewitness
Shortlisted for The Alice Award 2021
Marilyn Satin Kushner
Contributions by C. Ford Peatross, Debra Schmidt Bach, and Jeffrey C. Stewart
The Art of Winold Reiss brings to light the creative and forward-thinking work of this German-born artist. Winold Reiss (1886–1953) arrived in New York in 1913, the year of the ground-breaking Armory Show. The exhibition shook the American art scene to its core and ushered in a radically new artistic sensibility, whilst Reiss’s exuberant, dynamic designs anticipated the American passion for this new European avant-garde art. Steeped in a German aesthetic, Reiss brought his unique brand of modernism to the United States, and established a reputation and material presence in New York’s cultural and commercial landscape.
This vibrantly illustrated volume showcases over 140 examples of Reiss’s work, ranging from his early graphic creations for adverts, menus, packaging, calendars, and books, to his architecture and interior designs for clients including the Busy Lady Baking Company, Café Rumpelmayer, Crillon Restaurant, Longchamps restaurants, and the Music Pavilion façade at the 1939 World’s Fair. Reiss’s portraits of African Americans include leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance as well as members of the professional and working classes. Essays by leading specialists Marilyn Satin Kushner, Debra Schmidt Bach, C. Ford Peatross, and Jeffrey C. Stewart provide an overview of Reiss’s life and artistic achievements, examining his interior designs of iconic New York restaurants and bars, his portraits of African Americans and his decorative arts including his work in new twentieth-century materials.
The exhibition Winold Reiss in New York is on view 1st July – 9th October 2022 at the New-York Historical Society.
Marilyn Satin Kushner is curator and head of the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.
C. Ford Peatross is Founding Director of the Center for Architecture, Design & Engineering in the Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Debra Schmidt Bach is curator of Decorative Arts, New-York Historical Society.
Jeffrey C. Stewart is professor in the Department of Black Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.
Table of Contents
- Foreword by Louise Mirrer
- Curator’s Statement and Acknowledgments
- Winold Reiss: An Introduction by Marilyn Satin Kushner
- Stepping Out in Winold Reiss’s New York, 1915 to 1952 by C. Ford Peatross
- Winold Reiss’s American Studies by Jeffrey C. Stewart
- Winold Reiss and the Transformation of American Design by Debra Schmidt Bach
- Photo Credits