Rudolf Levy’s “Work and Exile” comes to Palazzo Pitti

Rudolf Levy’s “Work and Exile” Comes to the Uffizi Galleries

A celebration of artwork and remembrance of the tragic events of the Holocaust

Rudolf Levy (1875-1944) is a German expressionist artist whose last years were spent in exile in Florence during WWII. The Uffizi Galleries are paying tribute to Levy’s 47 works conveying his suffering from beginning to end. Rudolf Levy (1875-1944) – Work and exile, will be displayed in three sections at Palazzo Pitti from 24 January – 30 April 2023. Rudolf Levy’s “Work and Exile” comes to the Uffizi Galleries

Born into a Jewish entrepreneurial family, the German artist first started off as a carpenter in Berlin. In 1895 he enrolled at the School of Arts and Crafts in Karlschue to pursue his passion for art. He continued his education throughout Germany and eventually moved to Paris to study under Henri Matisse. Levy put his career on hold when he volunteered to fight in WWI and in 1929 opened his own painting school on Kurfürstendamm, a famous avenue in Berlin. 

Unfortunately, in 1933 when Hilter came into power, Levy was forced out of Germany. The Nazi’s declared Levy’s paintings as “degenerate art” and were confiscated. During exile Levy moved to Florence where the city became his artistic safe haven. He created over 50 paintings consisting of still lives, portraits, and landscapes. Levy was arrested in 1943 and died while in transport to the Carpi-Fossoli concentration camp.

The Uffizi Galleries are paying tribute to the artist and the suffering he and others endured.

Rudolf Levy’s “Work and Exile” Comes to the Uffizi Galleries

Up until now too little has been said about Rudolf Levy in Florence, where he was arrested on December 12, 1943. An important tribute to the painter was missing, a monographic exhibition that focused on his years of exile – in particular the last ones spent in Florence – and which outlined, also through a documentary apparatus edited by the Berlin historian Klaus Voigt, unfortunately recently deceased, his human story of persecution, exile, and deportation. Klaus Voigt studied the exile in Italy of Jews and opponents of the Nazi regime for many years and was writing a book about him: I am pleased to remember that we owe him the idea for this exhibition, which was immediately welcomed by the director of the Uffizi Eike Schmidt

states Camilla Brunelli, director of the Museum of Deportation and Resistance in Prato.

The exhibition is divided into three sections. The first section demonstrates his life during WWI with a heavy influence of Henri Matisse. The second segment are Levy’s works from 1919-1933, which illustrates life before exile where his work was shaped by Matisse and other great artist. Lastly, the third section portrays Levy’s work between 1933-1943, during his life in exile. The exhibition will include never before seen paintings here in Florence. “Fiamma” is a well-known portrait Levy painted while in Florence and now has become the first of Levy’s painting to enter the Uffizi collections.

Rudolf Levy’s “Work and Exile” Comes to the Uffizi Galleries

Florence was the safe haven where for years Levy was able to paint in an international atmosphere full of stimulus. But the racial laws that stained Europe arrived also here, putting an end to his artistic adventure and to his life. In 2020, the Uffizi purchased a splendid portrait of a girl (‘Fiamma’) from Levy, executed in Florence and now, on the occasion of Remembrance Day, they fulfill the moral duty of telling the painter’s tragic story. A story which, it turned out, is briefly intertwined with that of Senator Liliana Segre”, states Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries.

Rudolf Levy (1875-1944) – Work and Exile, will be on display from 24 January- 30 April 2023 at the Palazzo Pitti with the intention of shedding light on the artist’s story and honoring all the victims of the Holocaust.

TILL 30 APRIL 2023

Palazzo Pitti
Andito degli Angiolini

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