“Free Manicure and Free Tea Cup Reading with Your Lunch”

Lee Sievan, Class in Cultural Anthropology at Hunter College, 1940s (190.1991)

Lee Sievan, San Gennaro, Two Girls with Soda Pop and Balloons, 1946 (33.1990)

Lee Sievan, Corner Candy Store, 1940s (38.1990)

Lee Sievan, Movie Posters and Clothes Lines, 1939 (34.1990)

Lee Sievan was a great photographer.
Like most of us, she doesn’t have a Wikipedia page yet.
Unlike most of us, she worked at Hunter College for many years.
Like more than a few of us, Sievan worked and volunteered at the ICP library.
Unlike most of us, Sievan had a significant connection with many important 20th century artists, like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

According to the website of The Platt Fine Art gallery: Sievan was born on October 9th, 1907, her parents were Polish immigrants and she grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She graduated from Hunter College in 1925 and continue to work there for 42 years. Sievan studied with Berenice Abbott at the New School and the Photo League. Weegee was a friend and teacher. And intriguingly, Platt Fine Art says that Sievan worked as Weegee’s darkroom assistant.

Lee Sievan, Free Manicure with Your Lunch, 1940s (36.1990)

Unlike most of us, Sievan had an obituary in the New York Times:

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.

Lee Sievan, Downtown Manhattan with Cable, 1940s (3.1990)

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