Jack Levine

American 1915- 2010



Without mastery of tradition, a successful pursuit is not possible.

                                                                     —Jack Levine




Known for his raw and explosive satirical renderings of society’s unsavoury leaders, Jack Levine enjoyed early success —at just seventeen, he had his first exhibition, at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. This was followed by inclusion in a group show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1936. Both the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum acquired several of Levine’s major paintings as early as 1937, and in 1938 he had his first one-man show at New York’s Downtown Gallery. By the late 1930s, Levine—a keen believer in the Old Masters’ qualities of opacity, transparency and luminosity—ranked as one of America’s major artists.


A long time admirer of the prints of Rembrandt and Goya, Jack Levine came to printmaking relatively late in his highly successful career. New Jersey printmaker Emilio Sorini first introduced Levine to the methods of intaglio in the early 1960s and the result was, according to Levine, “infectious.” By mastering the techniques of etching, drypoint, mezzotint and aquatint, Levine was able to add further character and depth to his prints, layering image upon image in a painterly fashion. Levine is said to think of prints as “four-handed versions of symphonies.”


An influential teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Levine was the subject of two major travelling retrospectives, numerous film documentaries and several books. Jack Levine’s work can be found in the National Museum of American Art, Washington, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to name but a few.