Jack Levine was an American Social Realist painter known for his satires on modern life and biblical narratives. Born to Lithuanian Jewish parents, Levine grew up in the South End of Boston, amid poverty and societal ills, subjects which would greatly influence his work. After attending Harvard from 1929 to 1933, Levine became a leading figure in the style known as Boston Expressionism. Some of his early works were Brain Trust and The Feast of Pure Reason, based on his life in Boston, and a series of paintings of Jewish sages. After wartime Army service, he painted Welcome Home, lampooning military arrogance and later attracting the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee. In Europe in 1951, he was influenced by the Mannerism of El Greco, inspiring him to distort his figures for expressive purposes.
Later, Levine painted biblical subjects, as well as works commenting on American life, such as Election Night (1954), Inauguration (1958), and Thirty- Five Minutes from Times Square (1956), and a series of sensitive portraits of his wife and daughter. In the 1960s he responded to political unrest in the United States with works such as Birmingham '63, and in in the 1980s came a proliferation of paintings with Old Testament themes. He was elected to the National Academy of Design, and his work is displayed at many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fogg Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. Levine died in 2010 at the age of 95.
Art Institute of Chicago
Museum of Modern Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
National Museum of American Art
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture garden
Whitney Museum of American Art
Fogg Art Museum
National Gallery of Art