Here is an artist upholding the finest tradition of his craft: Humanism. That inner eye that celebrates life with all its goofy melancholy beauty. It is this that makes art, and looking at art, much more than an intellectual or pleasurable exercise. It makes it necessary. – Morley Safer, ARTnews, 2002
New York, NY - From December 12, 2014 to January 17, 2015, Forum Gallery will present David Levine: The World He Saw, the first major exhibition of paintings and drawings by American artist David Levine since his passing in 2009. Levine was the most celebrated caricaturist of our time and a painter of luminous, romantic watercolors and oil paintings that depict the citizens of the world, especially his beloved Brooklyn, at work, at rest and at play.
In his caricatures, whose images graced every issue of The New York Review of Books for more than 40 years and countless Esquire, Time and many more magazine covers, Levine applied his characteristic and unique pen to the deflation of the pompous, the corrupt and the self-important, while portraying creative artists, authors, musicians and literary figures with wry wit and irony.
David Levine’s paintings celebrate the work ethic of his family, his friends, and countless anonymous neighbors. The garment workers of his paintings labored in his father’s tailor shop, and spent weekends and leisure time on the beaches and boardwalks of Coney Island. For five decades, Levine painted Coney Island and its visitors, tracing the majesty and later, the slow decline of that leisure and amusement destination. No matter what happened to the neighborhood, though, Levine found and followed the people who came to this place so special to him. He portrayed all of them with pride, humanity and often humor, painting on site and in his studio in watercolor and in oil with a grace and strength of line all his own.
David Levine studied at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia; and with Hans Hoffmann at the Eighth Street School in New York. He exhibited at Davis Gallery (New York) beginning in 1953, and joined Forum Gallery in 1963. His numerous museum exhibitions include the Georgia Museum of Art (Athens, GA, 1968), the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC, 1976), The Phillips Collection (Washington, DC 1980), the Pierpont Morgan Library (New York, NY, 1981), The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (1984) and the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, England, 1987). He was the recipient of many awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967; and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Paintings and drawings by David Levine are found in the collections of the Brooklyn, Cleveland, Columbus, Metropolitan and Newark Museums, The Museum of Modern Art and the National Portrait Galleries of London, England and Washington, DC, among many other institutions.
The Forum Gallery exhibition includes 38 paintings and 12 caricature drawings from every decade of David Levine’s career. Ink drawings include American presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George Bush; and Peggy Guggenheim, Al Pacino and Truman Capote. Paintings are beach scenes, Coney Island rides, boardwalk shops and garment workers, many loaned by private collectors and institutions from New York to California.
A 72-page, fully illustrated catalogue, with foreword by author and journalist Pete Hamill, accompanies the exhibition.
The exhibition begins on December 12, 2014 and will be on view through January 17, 2015. Forum Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5:30 pm, and closed Sundays, Mondays, and holidays.
For more information or to receive a PDF of the David Levine: The World He Saw catalogue, please contact Kevin Dao, 212-355-4545; firstname.lastname@example.org