Born in Victoria, Australia, Martin Lewis was a printmaker who is known for his scenes of urban life in New York during the 1920s and 1930s. As a youth Lewis held a variety of jobs that ranged from working on cattle ranches in the Australian Outback, in logging and mining camps, to being a sailor. In 1898, he moved to Sydney for two years where he received his only formal art training. During this period he may have been introduced to printmaking; a local radical paper, “The Bulletin,” published two of his drawings.
During his thirty-year career, Lewis made about 145 drypoints and etchings. His prints, like “Shadow Dance,” were much admired during the 1930s for their realistic portrayal of daily life and sensitive rendering of texture.
Consider how Lewis uses shadows in this scene. Why do you think he has chosen to render the figures in shadow, with such a brilliant sense of light in the background? Have you ever seen a street scene like this in real life? #Streets #ArtAtoZ
Martin Lewis, "Shadow Dance," 1930, drypoint and sandpaper ground on laid paper, McCarron, no. 88, State only, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection, 1964.8.1199