Leo Lewin was the eldest son of the famous Jewish producer of textiles in Breslau, Carl Lewin. The company "C. Lewin", which specialized in working clothes and protective gear, had great successes during WW1 thanks to mass orders for military uniforms. That enabled Leo Lewin to spend significant sums on art collecting. In 1917 he purchased a spacious villa in Akazienallee in Breslau, the walls of which he decorated with paintings of famous artists. After the Nazis took over the government Lewin was subject to anti-Jewish persecutions. In 1941 the collector left the city with his family, taking with him a part of the collection.
Lewin's collection consisted of numerous paintings and drawings by Max Slevogt and Max Liebermann as well as sculptures by August Gaul - all of which he was personally acquainted with. Lewin also owned a large number of drawings of the famous painter of Breslau, Adolph von Menzel plus one of his paintings. Starting probably from the early 1920s he decided to widen the profile of his collection by acquiring the paintings of the top European artists, such as Corot, Courbet, Daumier, Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Pissarro, Munch, van Gogh and Picasso. Of Old Masters in his possession it is worth to mention the drawings of Rembrandt.
Sammlung Leo Lewin Breslau. Deutsche und Französische Meister des XIX. Jahrhunderts. Gemälde, Plastik, Zeichnungen. Auktionsleitung: Paul Cassirer und Hugo Helbing, Berlin 1927
A large portion of the collection was auctioned in 1927 at Cassirer & Helbing in Berlin. 3 years later the collector sold further works of art at the same art salon.
- Magdalena Palica