Levy painted this moving work in 1928 following the death of his father, the former beadle of the Old Congregation in Cheetham Hill Road. It shows the Jewish ceremony of Sitting Shiva in which members of the immediate family gather (usually in the deceased’s home) to mourn for seven days following the burial. The shallow picture space and hard-edged figures show an awareness of Cubism, which Levy later rejected in favour of naturalism. According to his close friend Bernard Sternfield, the artist always considered this ‘his major work’.


  • Title: The Mourners (Sitting Shiva)
  • Creator: Emmanuel Levy
  • Date Created: 1928
  • Physical Dimensions: 72.5 x 91 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: © Emmanuel Levy estate
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Art Form: painting
  • Support: canvas

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