Germany • 1861−1931
Lesser URY (it. Lesser Ury; November 7, 1862, Birnbaum, province of Posen (now Poznan, Poland) – October 18, 1931, Berlin) – German painter of Jewish origin, graphic. Recognized as a "portrait painter" from the streets of Berlin, who wrote a lot and with pleasure. First made friends and then fell out with the Chairman of the Berlin secession Max Liebermanrelations with him Loesser wrote jokes. In later years, appealed to the old Testament stories, which is especially revered in the Jewish cultural community.

Features of the artist Lesser URY: was one of the first of the Germans, picked up a wave of French impressionism. Portraits prefer still lifes and multi-figure scenes – landscapes and urban landscapes, Sunny day or a cloudy evening. Except for rare gaps, tended to bleak colour scheme, enthusiastically subscribed to the light of car headlights and street lamps, cutting through the darkness through the curtain of rain.

Famous paintings by Lesser URY: "Unter den Linden after the rain", "An evening at café Bauer", "The woman at the Desk", "Berlin street in the rain", "Pub – Flemish tavern", "Overhead the station Bulowstrasse", "Bridge over Underskin channel".

How is lightning fast, literally at a glance on one self, able to charm exuding cheerfulness Lovis Corinthso fast to alienate his colleague at the Berlin secession and the antithesis of painting lesser URY. The autobiography of the first breaking from the tricky somersaults of fate, and curriculum vitae of the second catches a deadly ennui. The only intrigue in the biography of the artist Lesser URY – feud with the senior in age and rank Lieberman where he felt the "oppressed Jew, pursued by another Jew".


Leo, URI, father of the future artist, was a Baker. His lesser caught alive only a decade old. After the death of the head rest of the family moved from the provinces to Berlin. At first, probably trying to be a good son, lesser begins to learn the trading craft. But the call of art is stronger, and, leaving his studies, he went to the Academy of arts in Dusseldorf.

Meticulously, bit by bit, the URI is typed in art experience in Brussels, Paris and the picturesque Flanders, where he had used to go for inspiration, European artists for many centuries. And then at the Academy of fine arts in Munich, the Alma mater of many German impressionist and not only (the list of its graduates, among other listed artists Kandinskyand Pasternak).

Upon returning to Berlin in 1888 lesser URI participates in the capital of the first impressionist exhibition. The opinions of visitors were divided: the ordinary art lovers howled with delight, hardened in academic criticism practiced scathing epithets. So, the future antagonist of URI, the artist Lieberman gets the "painter of misery", and the picture is Lesser "Friedrichstrasse Station"awarded the title of "a set of blobs".

But thanks to the patronage of the venerable master Adolf von Menzelin 1890, the artist still gets a prize and a scholarship from the Berlin Academy of arts that gives you the opportunity to make a long trip to Italy.


On his return to the German capital Corinth leads Lesser in the Berlin secession. But, unlike other members of the Association who share common artistic interests, URI kept to himself. He even tried to make any contact with society to the largest possible minimum.

Although one time he even managed to make friends with max Liebermann as the reclusive artist was even capable of. But too great was the abyss between them – from the 15-year age difference and ending the unequal social position. While lesser languished in his cluttered flat, because he lacked money to buy coal for heating it, Lieberman was already a recognized artist and was the head of the Berlin secession.

Their gradual alienation was partly related to the difficult character of URI, the main feature of which was recognized by the die-hards. But the pomposity and sarcasm Lieberman also has contributed little to good relations. Despite this, Yuri still hoped for his assistance in advancing his career. And for good reason.

At the beginning of the 20th century, when the popularity of the Berlin secession began to grow rapidly, quickly gaining momentum tyranny and the tyranny of Lieberman. Admirers of Lesser URI claimed that he was doing everything possible to hinder the success of the young competitor.

Not only that, the artists could not divide the palm in who became the founder of German impressionism. On top of that URI somehow had the ingenuity to declare, that he was able to improve "Spinners of flax in Lorena"Lieberman, himself adding purple accents. It is not surprising that the Lesser exhibitions in the Metropolitan secession became possible only after the departure of its longtime President resigned.

...And copper pipes

After this case, the artist gradually went uphill. For the first time his paintings will see the exhibition hall of the Berlin secession in 1915, seven years later, the lesser of URI will be imparted and solo exhibitions. This time he gets the recognition of art critics begin to demand of his work in oil and pastel.

But here he manages to show character. The artist gets a custom writing copies of his paintings for sale as originals to keep that stained the already imperfect reputation. Although unlikely, it is particularly worried. Distrustful and full of himself, URI, and have never sought to be the soul of the company, and at the end of life and became a hermit.

In spite of all his fame is growing and growing. Largely due to the manic attachment of the artist to the Berlin streets, which he writes tirelessly throughout life. In 1921 lesser URY became an honorary member of the secession, the entrance to which earlier he was ordered. A year later, at the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the artist, the mayor of Berlin called his paintings "an artistic celebration of the capital of the Empire".

And to the day of the 70th anniversary of the birth of Lesser national gallery has planned to hold large-scale events together with the Berlin secession. But the artist in its sociofobia usual, decided to ignore the crowded event: went dead in his workshop just three weeks before the date.

Apparently URI was to some extent still bag of bones: though not immortal, but over with gold were fading away. In his Studio I found a lot of paintings and 30 thousand REICHSMARK good condition at the time. Most of the work sold through auctions to private collections, where they are stored until now.

Author: Natalia Azarenka
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