Lot 126: David Levinthal

Pigment print
17 x 22 inches
Series: History
Edition of 5
Signed recto pencil
Courtesy of the artist
Fair Market Value

Writing in The New York Times, Charles Hagen said that, “What distinguishes Mr. Levinthal’s work is his interest in emotionally charged historical material. But the real force of his images comes not from his choice of subjects but from the way he tells their stories.” Levinthal is the co-author, with Garry Trudeau, of Hitler Moves East, originally published in 1977. Dark Light, a ten year survey exhibition of his work, was organized in 1994 by The Photographers’ Gallery in London, and traveled throughout the United Kingdom. In 1997 the International Center of Photography in New York presented the first retrospective of David Levinthal work from 1977 to 1996. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work is included in numerous museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, and The Menil Collection.

Iconic historical moments, often portrayed in paintings or on film, have served as the inspiration for my recent body of work, History. I have attempted to re-create and translate these images into my artistic format of dioramas and photographic interpretation. In 2013, part of my exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, included a large scale photograph of Custer’s Last Stand measuring 61×71 inches, much larger in scale than almost all of my previous work. The powerful impact of this piece, both in scale and historical iconography, lead me to begin looking at other compelling historical moments, and furthered my interest in how I might be able to create and capture them as well. The title, History, has allowed me to take on a broad range of subjects, from Napoleon crossing the Alps, to the flag raising on Iwo Jima, and from Davy Crockett at the Alamo, to Apocalypse Now inspired images of Vietnam. This is a series that I foresee continuing for me for quite some time.

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