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Russell Detwiler, American Painter

Russell Detwiler (1925-1969) was married to actress-singer Lotte Lenya from 1962 until his death. He studied at the Arts Students League and Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia in the early forties; his career as a painter began around the time of his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1946 and continued for the rest of his life. Among buyers of his paintings during his lifetime were Vera Stravinsky, Jennie Tourel, and David Protetch (W.H. Auden’s physician). While married to Lenya, Detwiler continued to paint prolifically, drawing inspiration from her work and her circle, and had at least two gallery shows in New York City.

From Lenya’s estate, the Kurt Weill Foundation owns approximately 90 of Detwiler’s paintings, mostly oils. While two of Detwiler’s portraits of Lenya and a few other paintings are proudly displayed in the Foundation’s office, the great majority of them have little to do with our mission or activities. We would like to find a good home, or homes, for them. Please see below for photographs and brief descriptions of about half the paintings in our collection. Larger image files are available upon request. If you are interested in acquiring one or more paintings, or have ideas about others who might be, we ask that you write to All ideas and expressions of interest are welcome.

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