An Artist Auctions Works by Picasso, Jasper Johns, Karen Karnes, Lichtenstein, Tom Levine, Rosenquist and Others


Painter Tom Levine lives and works in a 5,500 square foot loft in Manhattan, a space remarkable for both its windows facing four directions and the extensive art collection inside. Comprised of pieces from years of creating his own work as well as buying and exchanging art with his peers, Levine’s collection is one of varied mediums, styles and memories. Among them are a Picasso pitcher and graphics from some of his mentors, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, and particularly, Jasper Johns. “He’s the most amazing artist I know,” he says; “his thought process, his prodigious imagination; and from a technical standpoint, he has developed the skills to make anything that he chooses to. I know it may sound corny, but his work makes my heart beat faster.” Among his favorites is a series of etchings from Johns titled Red, Yellow, Blue.

Raised in Cincinnati, Levine studied English at Miami University, psychology and consumer behavior at the University of Denver, then spent a year at the Art Academy in Eden Park, and two years completing an MFA at the University of Cincinnati. He moved to New York in 1974 and “Ran out of money quick,” he recalls. To cover expenses, he took a job as a waiter at the Waldorf Astoria, where he waited on Andy Warhol, among other prominent diners. Months later, he wound up at the same dinner table as the Pop artist. Levine was amused at the capacity for path-crossing in Manhattan. “In the late 1970s, the New York art community really was quite small.”

Levine’s own work has received recognition, having been shown in several exhibitions over the years, and has been collected by The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, The Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery in Washington. In Levine’s loft, pottery and ceramics dot bookcases and kitchen shelves, much of it made by Karen Karnes, with whom he would often have lunch when she visited from Vermont. “During her last visit, I discovered she didn’t really care much about lunch – she just wanted to see what work of hers I had acquired that she could borrow for an upcoming museum retrospective! “She was a brilliant potter, one of the first artists who went to Black Mountain College during the well-known period that Josef Albers was there,” he says. “I acquired work of Karen’s, from the early 1950s, many with exquisite salt glazes.”

Levine, who discovered EBTH after his mother passed away in Cincinnati, is downsizing in anticipation of a move to a smaller space. “Less expensive and easier to maintain,” he explains. As he embarks on the next move, Levine sees his past experiences mirrored in the items with which he’s parting. A set of two upholstered rocking chairs, for example, reminds him of time spent in his studio, looking and thinking. “They were where I would sit and look at the phase the painting was in and figure out the next step.”

An Artist Auctions Works by Picasso, Jasper Johns, Karen Karnes, Lichtenstein, Tom Levine, Rosenquist and Others
An Artist Auctions Works by Picasso, Jasper Johns, Karen Karnes, Lichtenstein, Tom Levine, Rosenquist and Others
James Rosenquist Signed Limited Edition Lithographs "Idea I" and Idea II"

James Rosenquist Signed Limited Edition Lithographs "Idea I" and Idea II"

Final Bid:
$775
Moshe Kupferman Mixed Media on Paper

Moshe Kupferman Mixed Media on Paper

Final Bid:
$1,651
Handcrafted Italian Majolica Serving Platter by Sol LeWitt

Handcrafted Italian Majolica Serving Platter by Sol LeWitt

Final Bid:
$180
"Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings Volume 2, 1916-1944"

"Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings Volume 2, 1916-1944"

Final Bid:
$66
Tom Levine Mixed Media Sketchbook Drawing on Paper "4.VIII.07"

Tom Levine Mixed Media Sketchbook Drawing on Paper "4.VIII.07"

Final Bid:
$705
Karen Karnes Salt-Glazed Stoneware Lidded Vessel

Karen Karnes Salt-Glazed Stoneware Lidded Vessel

Final Bid:
$411
Signed Roy Lichtenstein Serigraph Poster for 1991 Salzburger Festspiele

Signed Roy Lichtenstein Serigraph Poster for 1991 Salzburger Festspiele

Final Bid:
$1,600
Tom Levine Mixed Media Collage

Tom Levine Mixed Media Collage

Final Bid:
$3,555
Louise Nevelson Limited Edition Etching on Paper "Ancient Landscape"

Louise Nevelson Limited Edition Etching on Paper "Ancient Landscape"

Final Bid:
$1,450
Group of Three Joan Miro Books

Group of Three Joan Miro Books

Final Bid:
$50
Tom Levine Oil Painting on Canvas "Opus 28 #2"

Tom Levine Oil Painting on Canvas "Opus 28 #2"

Final Bid:
$816
Roy Lichtenstein Limited Edition Rosenthal Plate

Roy Lichtenstein Limited Edition Rosenthal Plate

Final Bid:
$370
Handcrafted Italian Majolica Dinnerware by Sol LeWitt

Handcrafted Italian Majolica Dinnerware by Sol LeWitt

Final Bid:
$205
1999 "Lichtenstein: Sculpture & Drawings"

1999 "Lichtenstein: Sculpture & Drawings"

Final Bid:
$45
Daikichi Sugimoto Hand Thrown Stoneware Fermentation Vessel

Daikichi Sugimoto Hand Thrown Stoneware Fermentation Vessel

Final Bid:
$52
Tom Levine Limited Edition Etching "Hague"

Tom Levine Limited Edition Etching "Hague"

Final Bid:
$725
Signed by the Artist "Jasper Johns" Universe of Art Book

Signed by the Artist "Jasper Johns" Universe of Art Book

Final Bid:
$180
Karen Karnes Salt-Glazed Stoneware Lidded Vessel

Karen Karnes Salt-Glazed Stoneware Lidded Vessel

Final Bid:
$525
Robert Rauschenberg Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper "Speckled"

Robert Rauschenberg Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper "Speckled"

Final Bid:
$3,300
Tom Levine Oil Painting on Linen "Opus 83 No. 5"

Tom Levine Oil Painting on Linen "Opus 83 No. 5"

Final Bid:
$1,150
Circa 1912 to 1920 Arts and Crafts Rocking Chair by L. & J.G. Stickley

Circa 1912 to 1920 Arts and Crafts Rocking Chair by L. & J.G. Stickley

Final Bid:
$415
Tom Levine Oil Painting on Canvas "Monologue"

Tom Levine Oil Painting on Canvas "Monologue"

Final Bid:
$885
Antique Hand Thrown and Glazed Pennsylvania Redware Bowl

Antique Hand Thrown and Glazed Pennsylvania Redware Bowl

Final Bid:
$85
First Edition of "Philip Guston: La Raiz del Dibujo"

First Edition of "Philip Guston: La Raiz del Dibujo"

Final Bid:
$86
William Anthony Graphite Drawing on Paper "The Mirror"

William Anthony Graphite Drawing on Paper "The Mirror"

Final Bid:
$310
Rick Dillingham Asymmetric Pit Fired Stoneware Vessel

Rick Dillingham Asymmetric Pit Fired Stoneware Vessel

Final Bid:
$700
1950s Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller LCW Chair

1950s Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller LCW Chair

Final Bid:
$635
James Rosenquist Limited Edition Photogravure and Etching on Paper "Certificate"

James Rosenquist Limited Edition Photogravure and Etching on Paper "Certificate"

Final Bid:
$555
Karen Karnes Lidded Stoneware Teapot

Karen Karnes Lidded Stoneware Teapot

Final Bid:
$505
Jasper Johns Signed Limited Edition Etchings with Aquatint "Untitled (Red, Yellow, Blue)"

Jasper Johns Signed Limited Edition Etchings with Aquatint "Untitled (Red, Yellow, Blue)"

Final Bid:
$5,425
Vintage Arts and Crafts Oak Dining Table

Vintage Arts and Crafts Oak Dining Table

Final Bid:
$525
Two Signed Tom Levine Art Catalogs

Two Signed Tom Levine Art Catalogs

Final Bid:
$29
Glen Baxter Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper

Glen Baxter Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper

Final Bid:
$132
Pair of Karen Karnes Hand Thrown Stoneware Pottery Bowls

Pair of Karen Karnes Hand Thrown Stoneware Pottery Bowls

Final Bid:
$300
Jane Rosen Abstract Watercolor and Charcoal on Paper

Jane Rosen Abstract Watercolor and Charcoal on Paper

Final Bid:
$1,033
Karen Karnes Hand-Thrown Stoneware Salt Glazed Vase

Karen Karnes Hand-Thrown Stoneware Salt Glazed Vase

Final Bid:
$110
William Schneider Marble Spiral Sculpture

William Schneider Marble Spiral Sculpture

Final Bid:
$325
Merce Cunningham Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper

Merce Cunningham Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper

Final Bid:
$525
Gertrud and Otto Natzler Glazed Terracotta Compote

Gertrud and Otto Natzler Glazed Terracotta Compote

Final Bid:
$2,772
Joseph Marioni Acrylic on Board "The Garden of the Godfather"

Joseph Marioni Acrylic on Board "The Garden of the Godfather"

Final Bid:
$2,150
Shop More From This Sale
An Artist Auctions Works by Picasso, Jasper Johns, Karen Karnes, Lichtenstein, Tom Levine, Rosenquist and Others

David Hockney’s piece, Hollywood Bowl, really speaks of David’s California sensibility.

I heard concerts at The Hollywood Bowl many times, and David gave the piece to me several years later. It was from a design he had done for a poster and later a lithograph. I think it’s just a beauty.”

Tell us about the Chuck Close self-portrait.

That one is particularly unusual because the image is actually a watermark, which he made in New York. I found it so delicate and translucent.

What about the Gertrude and Otto Natzler pottery?

Those are particularly fascinating because Gertrude and Otto Natzler were a couple — they had a productive artistic partnership; she made the forms and he glazed them. They were especially well known for the works that were made with complicated glazes — crystal, volcanic and crater glazes of which the one in this auction is a good example.

And there’s the plywood chair

That’s by Herbert Von Thaden. There are very few examples of that chair that still exist. I found that one at an auction and I was so taken by the form. It’s in lovely condition for having been made in the late 1940’s, I’ve loved living with it.

Cadillac

Downsizing is stressful. We make it simple and profitable.