About David Levine
Thousands of caricatures and hundreds of oil and watercolor paintings flowed from David Levine’s mind and hands, his pencils, pens and brushes for more than 60 years. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926, Levine was trained by his parents to question authority and to love the underdog. He learned from professors and colleagues at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia to extract technique and theory from artists throughout history.
The result: For decades heÂ hasÂ been acknowledged worldwide as the most devastatingly insightful caricaturist since Daumier. His examinations of human flaws and foibles express a central passion. “I love my species,” saidÂ Levine.
According to John Updike: “Besides offering us the delight of recognition, his drawings comfort us, in an exacerbated and potentially desperate age, with the sense of a watching presence, an eye informed by an intelligence that has not panicked [â¦]. Levine is one of America’s assets. In a confusing time, he bears witness. In a shoddy time, he does good work.”
“The paintings of David Levine are never bombastic,” says Pete Hamill. “They are seldom only about the thing or the place to the people directly observed. They are also about the unseen world that they suggest, a world of time and nostalgia, of things and people lost. If David Levine was a writer he would be Chekhov.”
David Levine was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1926 and studied at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, Pratt Institute, the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia and the Eighth Street School of New York with Hans Hoffman. His many awards include the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 1955 and, later, the Isaac Maynard, Julius Hallgarten and Thomas B. Clarke awards (all from the National Academy of Design), the George Polk Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Childe Hassam Purchase Prize (American Academy of Arts and Letters), the John Pike Memorial Prize and the Gold Medal of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1993. Internationally, David Levine received the French Legion of Honor award and the Thomas Nast Award in Landau, Germany.
Levine exhibited paintings with the Davis Gallery in New York from 1954 to 1963, then joined the Forum Gallery. In addition to 15 one-person exhibitions at Forum, David Levine had exhibitions in Paris, Stuttgart, Washington, Munich, Oxford (England), Beverly Hills and Columbus, Georgia.
Levine’s caricatures wereÂ seen in Time, Newsweek, Esquire, Playboy, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Nation and, for over 40 years, The New York Review of Books as well as in many publications, both great and small.
His caricatures and paintings are part of permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum, NY, the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., the Cleveland Museum, the National Portrait Collection, England’s National Portrait Gallery and the Pierpont Morgan Library, NY.
Six books have been published of David Levineâs art, including The Arts of David Levine (Knopf, New York, 1978),Â Pens and Needles (Gambit, Boston, 1969), and American Presidents (Fantagraphics, 2008). David Levine lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York.