- see also the American artist Julian E. Levi
Julien Levy (1906-1981) was an art dealer and owner of Julien Levy Gallery in New York City, important as a venue for Surrealists, avante-garde artists and American photographers in the 1930s and 1940s
Levy was born in New York. After studying museum administration at Harvard under Paul J. Sachs, Levy dropped out, traveled to Paris by boat, and befriended Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Berenice Abbott, through whom he came into possession of a portion of Eugene Atget's personal archive. In Paris he also met his future wife, Joella Haweis, daughter of artist and writer Mina Loy.
Back in New York, Levy worked briefly at the Weyhe Gallery before establishing his own New York gallery at 602 Madison Avenue in 1931. Concentrating at first on photography, he staged Man Ray's first major show, introduced Henri Cartier-Bresson to the U.S., and promoted many other European and American figures. On January 29, 1932 came the landmark multi-media Surrealist exhibition of the work of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, and the introduction of Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory (which Levy owned).
In 1937 the gallery moved to 15 East 57th Street, where Levy mounted the first solo exhibition of the work of Frida Kahlo, November 1 to 15, 1938. From 1943 to 1949 the gallery was located at 42 East 57th Street.