A Finding Aid to the Jack Levine Papers, 1923-1999, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.levijack
Creators:
Levine, Jack, 1915-2010
Dates:
1923-1999
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
3.2 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of New York social realist painter and printmaker Jack Levine date from 1923-1999, and measure 3.2 linear feet. Levine's career is documented through biographical material, scattered letters, notes and a speech, writings, student drawings, three scrapbooks, printed material and nearly one linear foot of photographs of Levine, his family, and his colleagues.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York social realist painter and printmaker Jack Levine date from 1923-1999, and measure 3.2 linear feet. Levine's career is documented through biographical material, scattered letters, notes and a speech, writings, student drawings, three scrapbooks, printed material and nearly one linear foot of photographs of Levine, his family, and his colleagues.
Found within the papers are two driver's licenses and several biographical accounts, and scattered letters from colleagues including one each from John Taylor Arms, Hyman Bloom, Leonard Bocour, René d'Harnoncourt, Lloyd Goodrich, Jacob Lawrence, and Homer Saint-Gaudens discussing various art-related events. There is only one carbon copy of a letter written by Levine. The correspondence includes oversized photographs of the members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Additional photographs of the members are found in the Photograph series.
Notes and writings are primarily typescripts about Jack Levine written by others. There is also a transcript of one speech, "Jack Levine Speaks Regarding the Donation of 108 of his Drawings to the Archives" delivered by Levine at the Fogg Art Museum.
Artwork consists entirely of Levine's student drawings including anatomical studies, neighborhood genre scenes, copies of Old Masters, and a series of images of symphony musicians. Some of the drawings display themes that are reflected in his later paintings.
Three scrapbooks contain clippings that document Levine's career and reflect his political interests. Additional printed material consists of a comprehensive collection of clippings and exhibition announcements and catalogs. There is also an announcement for a lecture by Levine, press releases, calendars of events, reproductions of artwork, programs, brochures including one for Facing East, a portfolio of Levine's prints, and three books.
Photographs include numerous photographs of Levine throughout his artistic career, including images of his wife, painter Ruth Gikow, their daughter Susanna, and colleagues including Hyman Bloom, Leonard Bocour, Alexander Dobkin, Joachim Probst, and Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Especially notable is a series of photographs of Levine printmaking with Emiliano Sorini and Ruth Gikow.
There are photographs of Levine serving on art juries and panels with Eleanor Coen, Joseph Hirsch, Gabor Peterdi, Studs Terkel, and Max Weber, and attending events with Lawrence Fleischman, Betty Friedan, Edith Halpert, Mauricio Lasansky, Gypsy Rose Lee, Pope Paul VI, and Raphael Soyer. A small album contains photographs of Levine and various buildings in Boston. There are also photographs of miscellaneous exhibition installations including Levine's retrospective at the Jewish Museum, and of artwork by Levine and others.
Group photographs of the members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters are found here, and include Will Barnet, Paul Cadmus, Chuck Close, David Levine, George Tooker, and John Updike. Additional group photographs of the members that were originally enclosed with letters are found in the correspondence series.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1953-1955 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 2: Letters, 1946-1996 (Boxes 1, 5; 12 folders)
  • Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1961-1974 (Box 1; 6 folders)
  • Series 4: Artwork, 1923-1931 (Boxes 1, 5, OV 6; 11 folders)
  • Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1936-1962 (Boxes 1, 5; 16 folders)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1938-1999 (Boxes 1-3, 5, OV 6; 1.9 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Photographs, 1940-1998 (Boxes 3-5, OV 6; 52 folders)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Jack Levine (1915-2010) was born in Boston, Massachusetts and worked as painter and printmaker primarily in New York City. Levine was one of the leading painters and advocates of the Social Realism School of the late 1930s.
Jack Levine was the youngest of the eight children of Lithuanian Jewish parents, Mary Grinker and Samuel Levine. After the family moved from the South End of Boston to Roxbury in 1923, Levine began to study drawing under Harold Zimmerman at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. By 1929, Levine was studying painting under Denman Ross of the Fogg Art Museum.
From 1935-1940, Levine received U.S. government support from the federal Works Progress Administration. His first exhibition of paintings in New York City was at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1937, he painted The Feast of Pure Reason, a satire of Boston political power. Together with Ben Shahn, Levine became a leading exponent of the Social Realism School of the late 1930s. His first one-man show was held at the Downtown Gallery in New York City in 1938.
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Levine was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1945, and a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters the following year. Also in 1946, Levine married painter Ruth Gikow and moved to New York City. Between 1950 and 1951, he was a Fulbright Fellow working in Rome where he was inspired by Old Master paintings. In the 1960s Levine's interest in printmaking intensified and he was instructed in creating intaglio prints by Emiliano Sorini, and was introduced to Abe Lublin who was associated with the New York Graphic Society.
Levine taught at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the American Art School in New York, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Fogg Art Museum. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters from 1956 on.
The D.C. Moore Gallery in New York City currently represents the Estate of Jack Levine.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2015 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Materials which have not been scanned include some photographs with copyright restrictions; some photos of works of art; duplicates; blank versos of photographs; exhibition catalogs of other artists; and some publications. In some cases exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages scanned.
Processing Information
Accessions were minimally processed upon receipt and portions were microfilmed on reels 4873-4874. Previously microfilmed and unmicrofilmed portions were merged, arranged, and described by Jean Fitzgerald in August 2008.
The collection was prepared for digitization, and the finding aid was updated, by Stephanie Ashley in June 2014 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Jean Fitzgerald
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Jack Levine donated his papers to the Archives in 1962, 1978, and 1999.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Jack Levine papers, 1923-1999. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and limited to the Washington, D.C. Reference Center.
Conditions Governing Use
The Jack Levine papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painting, American Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Social realism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Student drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewish artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Updike, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tooker, George Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sorini, Emiliano Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Saint-Gaudens, Homer, b. 1880 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Simon, Sidney, 1917- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yevtushenko, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich, 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goodrich, Lloyd, 1897-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gikow, Ruth, 1915-1982 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Friedan, Betty Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fleischman, Lawrence A. (Lawrence Arthur), 1925-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dobkin, Alexander, 1908- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paul VI, Pope, 1897-1978 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
D'Harnoncourt, Rene, 1901-1968 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Probst, Joachim Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Levine, David, 1926-2009 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lee, Gypsy Rose, 1914-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lawrence, Jacob, 1917-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lasansky, Mauricio, 1914- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bocour, Leonard, 1910-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cadmus, Paul, 1904-1999 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Close, Chuck, 1940- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coen, Eleanor, 1916- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arms, John Taylor, 1887-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barnet, Will, 1911-2012 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bloom, Hyman, 1913- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weber, Max, 1881-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewish Museum (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Peterdi, Gabor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/