Lecture: The Life and Work of Israel Levitan – Mid Century Sculptor
Thu10/10 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

LOCATION: Gallery 2Sun (in the Warehouse and Transfer Building): 100 E. 6th St Please join author Randolph Maxted for a lecture about prominent mid-century American sculptor Israel Levitan. Levitan was an American abstract expressionist sculptor and contemporary of Pablo Picasso, Hans Hoffman, and Willem de Kooning.  He studied at the Chicago Art Institute under Hans Hofmann, and later in the Paris atelier of the French master Ossip Zadkine in the early 1950's.  Upon his return to New York he established a studio in Manhattan and enjoyed a successful career with many international showings including the Musee d'Art Moderne, the Detroit Art Institute, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Israel Levitan (June 13, 1912 – May 17, 1982) was an American abstract expressionist sculptor, born in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  Renowned as a sculptor, Levitan also produced paintings, graphics and fine art works on paper. The art critics of ARTnews selected his 1959 exhibition at the Barone Gallery in New York City, as one of the 10 best one-man exhibitions of the year along with Pablo PicassoHans Hofmann and Willem de Kooning.

After WW II he studied directly with Amédée Ozenfant and Hans Hoffman.  Hofmann, recognizing the three-dimensional aspects of Levitan’s paintings, suggested that Levitan experiment with sculpture. Hoffman set out to find an appropriate teacher for his protégée and shortly thereafter Levitan commenced sculpture studies at the atelier of the French master Ossip Zadkine in Paris from 1950-51.

After returning to New York, Levitan set up a studio on East 9th Street and was quickly assimilated into the art scene, eventually becoming Vice President of the American Abstract Artists group. He exhibited his work in the Tenth Street galleries, along with such contemporaries as Gabriel KohnRaoul HagueSidney Geist, and Louise Nevelson. Unlike most of the artists who worked in wood during the fifties, Levitan had been a painter for many years (since 1938). The art critics of ARTnews selected his 1959 exhibition at the Barone Gallery in New York City, as one of the 10 best one-man exhibitions of the year. His wife Idee and he were very much part of the NY based Mid Century art community  and counted among their personal friends many artists including Elaine De Kooning.   In addition to prolific sculptor  collections he also was commissioned to design the 45 foot abstract sculptured ceiling for the Chapel of the Interchurch Center in New York City. The carved plaster ceiling features 1,000 lucite disks through which light is projected thus providing a night canopy appearance. By the 1970’s Levitan decided his soul was better served living in working outside of New York and spent the remainder of his career off sculpting off the radar in Florida.

The gallery will show over 15 of his major pieces curated with information on his life and evolution of works.

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Lecture