David Levine 1926-2009

David Levine was one of the great caricaturists of the 20th Century. He was best known for his work for the The New York Review of Books. He passed away today at age 83 and here is his obituary from The New York Times. It’s worth noting (at least on this blog), Howard Beckerman and Fred Wolf both told me that Levine began his career as an assistant at Famous Studios (Popeye, Casper, et al) in the early 1950s. A gallery of his caricatures can be found here.


  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com J.J. Sedelmaier

    I spoke to him after finishing a spot done with his drawings. He loved animation and told me then about his time at Famous. When I initially called, it was after being prevented from contacting him by the ad agency – they didn’t want to incur any additional costs. When I told him we’d animated a commercial based upon his print ads, he said, “Oh god, why would you want to do THAT !” He loved the spot though, and proceeded to go into his mini-stint in the animation industry. . . What a talent !

  • http://ratso.podomatic.com Carl Russo

    Thank you for posting that. I thought something was up when I stopped seeing new caricatures from Levine in the NYRB this year. He has been replaced by a not dissimilar artist, but it just ain’t the same!

  • http://www.myspace.com/pilsnerspicks Pilsner Panther

    What an amazing man, both as an artist and a social commentator. Growing up in N.Y.C., I got used to seeing the Levine caricatures and illustrations and more or less took them for granted. It’s only when you visit the online gallery that you get a real idea of the cumulative force of his work. If the history of the second half of the 20th century had to be rendered in some other medium than words, this would be IT.

    Mr. Levine had a special “warm spot” (in Hell) for Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, but hardly any public figure escaped his visual wrath, even the ones he liked!

    There’s plenty of talent around today, but not much genius. As of now, there’s a lot less of the latter.

  • Willy Hartland

    Without a doubt one of the greatest caricaturists of the 20th century.
    I also love his watercolors of Coney Island.
    He was truly a fine artist, not just an illustrator.

  • http://okgrillo.blogspot.com Oscar Grillo

    A real tragic loss!

  • Chuck R.

    “He was truly a fine artist, not just an illustrator.”

    I love Levine’s work, and I’ll gladly raise a toast to his long illustrious career, but there are lots of geniuses working today —if only the elitists would bother to turn over a few rocks. And get this: some of them are brilliant illustrators, designers, craftsmen and yes, cartoonists.

  • messy

    Levine was one of the top five american visual artists of the 20th century, PERIOD. I hope his family can pay the estate taxes, as the value of his artwork far outweighs the value of all his other assets.

  • Mike Scibetta

    Here is a link to a short story about David that ran on NPR the other morning:

    http://www.npr.org/search/index.php?searchinput=david+levine&tabId=all&tabId=hoa

  • Jorge henriquez

    UUUUUUfffff!!!!!

    El maestro dvid Levine es como esos cometas que pasan cada 100 años, que arte nos regalo a travez de sus caricaturas.
    único.