A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Edmunds Lewandowski studied painting there at the Layton School of Art, which he attended from 1931 to 1934. His career got off to a slow start and so Lewandowski worked briefly as a public school teacher. His fortunes began to improve in 1936, when he was invited by Edith Halpert to show his paintings at her influential Downtown Gallery in New York, a move that gave Lewandowski crucial exposure to the New York art world. That same year, he was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration to execute murals for post offices in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. At the same time, the art critic Constance Rourke, writing in The New Republic, singled Lewandowski out as one of the best young artists in the Federal Art Program, and he was included in a major W.P.A. exhibition held at the Phillips Gallery, Washington, D.C. Lewandowski spent the war years producing maps for the United States Air Force. After his discharge from the Air Force, he joined the Layton School as a faculty member, and in 1946, he was commissioned by the Container Corporation of America to paint a composition “interpreting Wisconsin.” Lewandowski moved to Tallahassee, Florida, in 1949, to teach at Florida State University. He returned to the Layton School in 1954, becoming its director. In 1973, he was made the chairman of the art department at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, from which he retired in 1984. Lewandowski continued painting until his death in 1998.
Lewandowski worked in a Precisionist idiom similar to that of Charles Sheeler, and like Sheeler incorporated photography into his work, translating elements of photographs into carefully constructed modernist paintings. Lewandowski’s focus on Midwestern industrial buildings and machinery places him alongside other such notable Precisionist painters as Preston Dickinson, Niles Spencer, and Ralston Crawford.