Archive for January 23rd, 2012

I’ve written here before about the work of David Levine, the late artist best known for his wonderful caricatures of public figures and politicos that graced many magazines for several decades, writing once about a caricature of composer Richard Wagner and another time about a painting of a pig’s head .   Despite his fame as a pen-and-ink caricaturist,  Levine was also a fabulous painter, executing  many works beautifully in oil and watercolor.  Though not as famous as his caricature work, his work is very seriously collected and respected.  A series of pieces he painted depicting the landscapes and people of Coney Island is among his best work and one of my favorites.

I particularly love his images of the Thunderbolt roller coaster of Coney Island.  There’s a monumental quality in the way Levine depicts the coaster, it’s skeletal framework towering above the boardwalk like the remnants of a long gone and enormous dinosaur.  In fact, he shows the coaster in varying states of decay before its demolition in 2000.  I still remember vividly riding the fabled Cyclone at Coney Island with my Dad and feeling that same sense of awe that I feel in these pieces.  I think that Levine understood that child’s sense of awe and I think that might be why he turned to Coney Island again and again as a subject.  There is a real sense of  affection in this work which I think enhances its power, inspiring the same in the viewer. 

You can see more of Levine’s  paintings, including the Coney Island series,  at a site that  represents his work, D. Levine Ink.  Though there only a small handful of his original paintings available on the market, they still make his work available through limited-edition prints.  Just plain good stuff.

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