A Mighty, Mighty Pen

David Levine has gone to his glory. The career-spanning monograph will be incredible.

Book Cover Last summer I had occasion to comment on caricaturist David Levine’s most recent tome collecting his assorted drawings of American presidents. Sadly, Levine succumbed to prostate cancer over the holidays. Bruce Weber’s precise obituary hit some of the high points for those ignorant of the hand behind the pen. “I might want to be critical, but I don’t wish to be destructive,” Mr. Levine once said, explaining his outlook on both art and life. “Caricature that goes too far simply lowers the viewer’s response to a person as a human being.

David Levine’s prodigious output was regularly exhibited in the New York Review of Books (“Johnson, Wittgenstein, Pushkin, Brendel: the range of subjects mirrored the range of The Review, a felicity of employment for Mr. Levine. ‘Who else covered that range?’ Robert Silvers, the Review’s editor, asked rhetorically.”) where nearly 4000 of his drawings appeared, though he was also in demand by nearly ever other important periodical in the USA.

Michael Kimmelman elaborates on Levine’s talent and vision:
Eulogists are stressing the political satire but he was just as deft, and will be just as prized, I suspect, for drawing Fred Astaire in motion; or the dead Igor Stravinsky in Venice as a nose floating in a gondola; or Count Basie at the keyboard with a lighted cigarette still between his fingers; or Anthony Blunt, the Cambridge-trained art historian and Soviet spy, whom Mr. Levine renders in tweeds with one limp fist raised in a Red salute.
blog comments powered by Disqus