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"Lew the Jew" Alberts

Early 20th Century Tattoo Drawings

by Albert "Lew The Jew" Kurzman

Although he was the inventor of tattoo "flash" and developed the electric tattoo machine, Jewish New York tattooer Albert Kurzman (1880-1954), a.k.a. “Lew the Jew” Alberts, was largely unknown. That is, until now that a private collection of his works has come to light. This rare original tattoo artwork collection is being published for the first time by Don Ed Hardy, in the same format as his original Sailor Jerry flash books.

This document of an amazing man not-only presents over 150 of his drawings, it also includes correspondence between Al and two of his closest confidants, San Francisco Bay Area tattooers “Brooklyn Joe” Lieber and C.J.“Pop” Eddy. These candid fragments provide a vivid sense of a hardboiled, secretive world while additional business cards, vintage tattoo photographs, and previously unknown biographical data illuminate the then-shadowy business of skin art.

One of America’s most influential tattoo artists at the beginning of the 20th century and operating primarily in New York’s Bowery district, Lew constructed some of the earliest electric tattoo machines and was the first to design and market printed design sheets to other tattooers. His artwork in these “flash” displays codified the repertoire of American tattooing and laid the groundwork for the avalanche of tattooing that permeates the world today.

Softcover. 72 pages. Measures 11" x 15"

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