Weegee Wednesday: Weegee and Lee

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Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Weegee and Sammy: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (41.1985)

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Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery. Men – Editors – Duell Sloan and Pearce, November 11, 1946 (46.1985)

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Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Wolf Mercur – Jewish Actor and Girl Friend: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (40.1985)

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Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Servicemen with man with the Daily News: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (48.1985)

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Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Alexander Hammid and Hans Richter: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (52.1985)

On Monday evening, November 11, 1946, to celebrate the publishing of Weegee’s People, a great and often overlooked book, a party was held at Sammy’s Bowery Follies (267 Bowery).

Fortunately and not surprisingly there were a number of photographers (and artists and filmmakers) present. One photographer, working with a Rolleiflex and handheld flash unit, was the great and often overlooked Lee Sievan. (An artist and archivist without a Wikipedia page.) Women’s History Month is the impetus for this two part series of blog posts that feature photos made by Lee Sievan of Weegee and Weegee’s People.

Lee Sievan; Photographer, 82

Lee Sievan, a photographer, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Tuesday at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. She was 82 years old and lived in Manhattan.

Fifty years ago, Mrs. Sievan began taking pictures to record the career of her husband, the painter Maurice Sievan. She also photographed performers and other artists, including Paul Robeson, Milton Avery and Mark Rothko.

Some of her photographs of New York City in the 1940’s were recently displayed at the International Center for Photography, on Fifth Avenue at 94th Street, where Mrs. Sievan had worked as a librarian and archivist for 15 years. The photographs are now on view at the Museum of the City of New York. New York Times obituary, published on May 3, 1990.

These important photos document the end of the first few chapters of Weegee’s life and his work as a “freelance” crime, police, and news photographer and photojournalist and mark a transition, (within a year or two he would be married and living in Hollywood) and document a celebration filled with pie-eyed and tickled-pink people and nocturnal and tipsy postwar enthusiasm. And they offer some of the earliest evidence of Weegee using a Bolex motion picture movie camera. Lee and everyone in the naked city were Weegee’s People.

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Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (38.1985)

Weegee Wednesday is an occasional series exploring, or just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.

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