Lesser Ury

Date/place of birth

1861, Birnbaum/Poznan

Day/place of death

1931, Berlin

Lesser Ury - Im Café Bauer, Berlin
Lesser Ury - Im Café Bauer, Berlin

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Lesser Ury biography

The Berlin painter and graphic artist Lesser Ury came from a Jewish family and, in 1879, he broke off his commercial apprenticeship, in order to pursue his artistic education at various locations and at the leading art academies of the time: Düsseldorf, Paris, Brussels and finally Munich were the stations that followed his rejection by the Berlin Academy of Art in 1885. In 1887 he returned to his hometown, and he exhibited his work with Fritz Gurlitt for the first time in 1889/90, receiving positive reviews.

Menzel supported him and Max Liebermann also initially had a very friendly relationship with Lesser Ury before they shortly thereafter had a falling out on account of their rivalry. In 1914 Lovis Corinth was finally able to bring the artist into the Berlin Secession, and the dealers Paul Cassirer and Heinrich Thannhauser exhibited his work in 1916/17; in 1922 the Secession presented a major show featuring 150 paintings. Early in his life, his repeated travels had already led Lesser Ury to Italy, to the Northern Italian lakes, to Northern Germany and to Thuringia. In addition to the Berlin metropolitan scenes and floral still lifes, which still provide the basis of his reputation as an artist today, he developed characteristic landscape motifs during these varied journeys. Lesser Ury was a master of the pastel technique, in particular. The intense colours of the compositions, with their subtle transitions and contrasts, still hold surprises for today’s viewers – in their own time they appeared fully dedicated to pursuing the goals of an innovative, modern painting. He died in 1931 and a memorial exhibition was held in the Berliner Nationalgalerie before the year was out; in 1932, however, an auction of his estate followed and his oeuvre was scattered. The art historian Dr Karl Schwarz (1885–1962) – initially an employee of the Fritz-Gurlitt-Kunstverlag and then, from 1927, curator of the art collection of the Jewish Community of Berlin and, finally, director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which it had still been possible to open on 24 January 1933 – provided significant support to the artist, a Jewish loner in difficult times.

© Kunsthaus Lempertz

Lesser Ury Prices

Lesser UryIm Café Bauer, Berlin€162.000
Lesser UryAbendstimmung am Grunewaldsee€155.000
Lesser UryBerliner Straße im Sonnenschein€134.200
Lesser UryBlick auf die Konditorei Moritz Dobrin in der Lennéstraße 1 im Tiergarten, Berlin€130.200
Lesser UryHochbahnhof Nollendorfplatz von der Bülowstraße aus gesehen, Berlin€125.000
Lesser UryNächtliche Straßenszene, Berlin (In den Zelten)€124.000

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