Coney Island Watercolors by David Levine

Last Days of the Thunderbolt by David Levine

Last Days of the Thunderbolt by David Levine

Brooklyn-born and bred artist David Levine is probably best known for his caricatures, which have appeared on the pages of the New York Review of Books for over 40 years [as well as numerous other publications, including Esquire, The New Yorker, Playboy, Newsweek, and Time]. But, for reasons that must be obvious if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I really prefer this body of work, which captures candid Coney Island moments in watercolor.

I was sitting on my portable stool with my cardboard portfolio spread across my lap as a table, my paint box, water cup and paper assembled professionally. I was painting the comfort station near Stillwell Avenue, a squat, turret-like structure circled by curved stairways that lead from the boardwalk to the beach on either side. People occupy the steps while cleaning their feet and dressing.

Suddenly, a hand clutched my shoulder. An elderly man steadied himself and, looking over my shoulder, inquired, “What are you painting?”

We were both right in front of it. “You tell me,” I said. He looked about and said, “Oh. The shit house.” This was a gift.

My gallery director, looking over the works for my next exhibition, selected the painting I have described and asked, “What is this called?” “The Shit House.” “We can’t sell someone a picture with that name.” So I called it “The Necklace.”

The Necklace by David Levine

The Necklace by David Levine

Under the Pier by David Levine

Under the Pier by David Levine

Descent into Coney by David Levine

Descent into Coney by David Levine

End of Joy by David Levine

End of Joy by David Levine

The Barker by David Levine

The Barker by David Levine

Brewing by David Levine

Brewing by David Levine

Rock Fleas by David Levine

Rock Fleas by David Levine

Goya at Coney by David Levine

Goya at Coney by David Levine

According to his official bio, “Levine was trained by his parents to question authority and to love the underdog.” So, there’s that, too. Truly, a man after my own heart…

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5 thoughts on “Coney Island Watercolors by David Levine

  1. There’s definitely class warfare going on in Coney these days; Markowitz’s statement is callous but unsurprising. Thanks for the heads up that Seaside is also getting a makeover. Arrgh!

  2. Pingback: Summer in the City « Visualingual

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