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.”
David Hockney Serigraph on Paper "Hollywood Bowl Calif."
Picasso "Madoura" Ceramic Pitcher
Tom Levine Oil Painting on Canvas "Opus 18 No. 7"
Limited Edition Serigraph of Roy Lichtenstein Photolithograph "This Must Be The Place"
Vintage Rosenthal Künstlertasse Nr. 25 "Salome" Cup and Saucer
Stephen Ray Oil Painting on Canvas "Papageno, Padlocked"
Rare Herbert Von Thaden Bent Plywood Lounge Chair Circa 1940s
"Picasso and the Human Comedy: A Suite of 180 Drawings"
Michael Fitts Oil Painting on Found Metal Sheet "Wall Phone"
Chuck Close Limited Edition "Watermark Self-Portrait"
Karen Karnes Hand Thrown Stoneware Lidded Casserole
Collector's Rare Complete First Edition "Picasso 347" Volumes
Pablo Picasso Limited Edition Etching
Vintage Arts and Crafts Oak Rocking Chair
Tom Levine Sketchbook Drawing on Paper "30.VII.07"
Signed "Jasper Johns: The Seasons" With Etched Dust Cover
James Rosenquist Signed Limited Edition Lithographs "Idea I" and Idea II"
Moshe Kupferman Mixed Media on Paper
Handcrafted Italian Majolica Serving Platter by Sol LeWitt
"Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil-Paintings Volume 2, 1916-1944"
Tom Levine Mixed Media Sketchbook Drawing on Paper "4.VIII.07"
Karen Karnes Salt-Glazed Stoneware Lidded Vessel
Signed Roy Lichtenstein Serigraph Poster for 1991 Salzburger Festspiele
Tom Levine Mixed Media Collage
Louise Nevelson Limited Edition Etching on Paper "Ancient Landscape"
Group of Three Joan Miro Books
Tom Levine Oil Painting on Canvas "Opus 28 #2"
Roy Lichtenstein Limited Edition Rosenthal Plate
Handcrafted Italian Majolica Dinnerware by Sol LeWitt
1999 "Lichtenstein: Sculpture & Drawings"
Daikichi Sugimoto Hand Thrown Stoneware Fermentation Vessel
Tom Levine Limited Edition Etching "Hague"
Signed by the Artist "Jasper Johns" Universe of Art Book
Karen Karnes Salt-Glazed Stoneware Lidded Vessel
Robert Rauschenberg Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper "Speckled"
Tom Levine Oil Painting on Linen "Opus 83 No. 5"
Circa 1912 to 1920 Arts and Crafts Rocking Chair by L. & J.G. Stickley
Tom Levine Oil Painting on Canvas "Monologue"
Antique Hand Thrown and Glazed Pennsylvania Redware Bowl
First Edition of "Philip Guston: La Raiz del Dibujo"
William Anthony Graphite Drawing on Paper "The Mirror"
Rick Dillingham Asymmetric Pit Fired Stoneware Vessel
1950s Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller LCW Chair
James Rosenquist Limited Edition Photogravure and Etching on Paper "Certificate"
Karen Karnes Lidded Stoneware Teapot
Jasper Johns Signed Limited Edition Etchings with Aquatint "Untitled (Red, Yellow, Blue)"
Vintage Arts and Crafts Oak Dining Table
Two Signed Tom Levine Art Catalogs
Glen Baxter Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper
Pair of Karen Karnes Hand Thrown Stoneware Pottery Bowls
Jane Rosen Abstract Watercolor and Charcoal on Paper
Karen Karnes Hand-Thrown Stoneware Salt Glazed Vase
William Schneider Marble Spiral Sculpture
Merce Cunningham Limited Edition Lithograph on Paper
Gertrud and Otto Natzler Glazed Terracotta Compote
Joseph Marioni Acrylic on Board "The Garden of the Godfather"
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.