Jerome Snyder David Levine It is rather curious how various social or cultural events seen in the retrospectively compact form we call history were not quite so logical nor predetermined at the time of their happening. Some six years ago New York City was undergoing one of its many labour upheavals and at the time the municipal trauma was a strike that halted publication of all New York newspapers. It would seem that if, to quote Descartes, 'Nature abhors a vacuum', a journal similar to the traditional newspaper should have been the appropriate creation. As it was, and aided of course by the prevailing labour pains, a most unlikely periodical called 'The New York Review of Books' was literally born of the moment to step into the then yawning information breach. At best The New York Review would have seemed valuable but ephemeral, filling only a highly specific if not esoteric need. Since that moment over a half-decade ago, two of the newspaper giants enmeshed in the labour struggle have closed their doors and are remembered only dimly. The New York Review to all appearances is flourishing. Yet, whatever contribution the Review has made to the field of cultural journalism, one of its greatest byproducts was the generative environment it provided for the extraordinary graphic commentaries of the artist David Levine. The satirical or directed drawings (some prefer the term caricatures) have since become nationally and internationally famous. The caricature form is certainly not new but it has had a special continuing vitality, more in some periods than others. Da Vinci explored certain aspects of the form and the artists Hogarth, Rowlandson, Gilray and Daumier among others have made a permanent mark on the record of graphic art with their drawings 'for the masses'. In depicting an un folding human comedy, the artist had to delineate the changing prota gonists with a special sort of recognizability. Hyperbolizing one or another of the features of a participant if nothing else made a virtually indelible verity of physiognomy. If this sort of graphic device became for some a cheapened burlesque it probably was because a good form fell into bad hands, superficiality replaced insight and the magical gifts of penetrating draughtsmanship were superseded by a meretricious and banal representation. Commencing with the new tone and standard of The New York Review of Books, Levine, who up to that time had not worked in satirical caricatures, was given through the journal's art director the formidable assignment of creating a succinct graphic statement that would at once heighten and resonate with the rather lofty plane of the reviewer's exegetical comments. Levine chose the satirical portrait as the instru mentality through which the essence of the writer, his works and his historical role could be best synthesized. Levine is pre-eminently a gifted artist, a well-recognized painter in the humanist/realist tradition and, as David Levine, born in 1926 in Brooklyn, studied art at Temple University, Phila delphia, and became a painter. His drawings have enriched the art of caricature only since 1963, when they began to appear in the New York Review of Books. Since then the magazines Esquire, Look and New York have also published his work and he has illustrated a number of books. Exhibitions of his paintings and caricatures have taken place in Davis Galleries (1953-1964) and Forum Gallery (1965-1971). Editor David Levine wurde 1926 in Brooklyn geboren. Er studierte Kunstgeschichte an der Temple University in Philadelphia und wurde Maler. Mit seinen Zeichnungen, die seit 1963 in der New York Review of Books erscheinen, leistet er einen wesentlichen Beitrag zur Kunst der Karikatur. Er arbeitet auch fiir Esquire, Look und New York und hat eine Reihe von Biichern illustriert. Levines Bilder und Zeichnungen wurden in verschiedenen Galerien ausgestellt. Redaktion. David Levine, né a Brooklyn en 1926, a étudié les beaux-arts a Philadelphie et est devenu peintre. Ses caricatures paraissent dans la New York Review of Books de- puis 1963. Depuis lors, les revues Esquire, Look et New York ont également publié ses ceuvres et il a illustré plusieurs livres. Des expositions de ses peintures se sont tenues dans différentes galeries. La redaction 5°4

Graphis de | 1971 | | page 22