Louis Lozowick (American, born Ukraine, 1892–1973)
Sheet: 13 3/8 x 16 15/16 in. (33.9 x 43 cm); image: 10 x 13 in. (25.4 x 33 cm)
Harriet Brisbane Dick Fund, 1940 (40.111.102)
In 1947, Lozowick summarized his artistic credo in these words for the publication 100 Contemporary American Jewish Painters and Sculptors: "From the innumerable choices which our complex and tradition-laden civilization presents to the artist, I have chosen one which seems to suit my training and temperament. I might characterize it thus: Industry harnessed by Man for the Benefit of Mankind." This optimism about modern industry and technology is evident in Roofs and Sky, which was produced in an edition of approximately twenty-five prints. In this dramatically cropped composition, the immediately recognizable New York City landmark of the Empire State Building is paired with the more generic forms of the water tower and smokestack in the foreground. Unexpectedly, Lozowick relegates the iconic Art Deco tower to the background, choosing instead to bestow a heroic monumentality upon two completely utilitarian mechanical elements.