While his rigorous training as an architect gave Armin Landeck the technical precision to create his detailed Manhattan cityscapes, it is his evocative rendering of empty windows, stairways, street corners, and rooftops that give his beautiful prints their power. Like his contemporary Martin Lewis, Landeck created a Manhattan that was both compositionally arresting in its play between light and dark and a poetic interpretation of city life. Born in Wisconsin in 1905, Landeck studied at the University of Michigan, then took summer classes at the NYC Art Students League before graduating from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1927. His passion for printmaking began around this time, and he bought a used printing press. Landeck created his first group of prints while traveling in Europe with his wife over the next two years. The influence of the Cubism he saw firsthand in Paris is clearly present in some of his earliest etchings. Forced to return early after 1929 stock market crash, his career as a fine artist and teacher began when he was unable to find work as an architect. Throughout the 1930s, he explored etching, aquatint, drypoint, and lithography, while teaching at the exclusive Brearley school for girls in Manhattan. Working with Stanley Hayter in the 1940s led him to a strong preference for engraving, although he continued to create in other printmaking mediums throughout his career. A Guggenheim Fellowship in 1953 brought Landeck back to Paris and gave him the opportunity to travel across Europe. In 1958, he retired from the Brearley School and enjoyed life on his farm in Connecticut, where he died in 1984. Still very actively traded by print collectors, his brilliant compositions remain fresh and arresting to this day, transcending time and giving poetic insight into city life. Landeck's prints are included in most major museum collections in the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
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