Alva (Solomon Siegfried Allweiss) (1901–1973)
Presumably because of the different environments in which Alva lived—Galicia, Berlin, Paris, the Middle East, and eventually London—he was familiar with a wide range of artistic influences and moved easily between different styles. His works include an illustrated and decorated version of the first chapter of Genesis, a series of studies of the Prophets in lithograph, and oil paintings on several subjects from Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Some of his paintings, like the one displayed here, are Symbolist. Characteristic of his style is the use of distinctive brush strokes and an aerial perspective.
LIFE & MIGRATION
Solomon Siegfried Allweiss was born in Berlin in 1901 but grew up until age 10 in Galicia, where he received a strict Jewish education. He studied music in Berlin before switching to art and adopting the pseudonym Alva in 1925. He traveled extensively in the Middle East and spent five years studying art and painting in Paris before he emigrated in 1938 to England, where he spent the remainder of his life. Alva was an occasional contributor of illustrations to Yiddish books published in London, most notably the cover for Y.A. Liski’s volume of proletarian stories, Produktivizatsie (Productivisation), published by Naroditski in 1937.