About Kurt Lewy

Painter, enameller and illustrator Kurt Lewy (1898 – 1963) was born in Essen, Germany, where he taught graphic techniques at the Folkwang Schule from 1929 to 1933. With the advent of Nazism, this Jewish artist was dismissed from his post. Two years later, he fled Hitler’s Germany and settled in Brussels.

Incarcerated as an enemy subject by the Belgian authorities in May 1940, Kurt Lewy was interned in the Saint-Cyprien and Gurs camps. In 1942, he managed to escape and returned to Brussels, where he hid for some twenty months. In June 1944, he was arrested by the Nazis, who interned him in Mechelen until the Liberation.

After the Second World War, Kurt Lewy abandoned the figurative themes that had until then guided his production, which was marked in its early stages by German Expressionism. He turned to abstraction, which he explored until his death. Concerned with “eliminating the superfluous, the ephemeral, the chaotic”, his geometric research freed him from the anguish caused by the nightmare of war and his isolation as an emigrant.


Drawing on the heritage of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, as well as works from the Antwerp gallery Callewaert-Vanlangendonck, this exhibition brings out of the shadows a key, but now forgotten, figure in post-war Belgian painting. It reveals a body of work that, as a precipitous step in the evolution of 20th-century art history, shows a path from figuration to abstraction.

This exhibition is organized in partnership with Galerie Callewaert-Vanlangendonck. On view from September 11, 2020 to April 18, 2021 at the Jewish Museum of Belgium.


The Jewish Museum of Belgium is pleased to present the first catalog published since the 1980s on the artist Kurt Lewy. Extending the Kurt Lewy Towards Abstraction exhibition, this trilingual catalog (French, Dutch, English) is on sale at the museum reception desk.

Further information > info@mjb-jmb.org