The Art of Winold Reiss: An Immigrant Modernist brings to light the creative and forward-thinking work of this German-born artist. This vividly illustrated volume highlights 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 (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 will be on view July 1 through October 10, 2022 at New-York Historical. It will display approximately 140 works focusing on his prolific time , beginning in 1914 (the year after his arrival in New York City) to the early 1950s.